Title: Mist Gray: Falling Apart. Falling Together
Author: Andy Slayde and Ali Wilde
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance/BDSM-lite/Paranormal-lite
Length: Novel (143 pages/34900words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
One Sentence Review: A nice tale of healing and growth and meeting in the middle to get your HEA.
***This review contains what could be considered spoilers***
As the anniversary of his lover (and Dom’s) death approaches, Avery Miller decides to take a friend’s advice and rejoin the land of the living and invites his seasonal neighbor over for dinner. Avery isn’t looking to replace Riley but there’s nothing wrong with acquiring another friend — right? What could possibly go wrong?
Tennyson Pitt wants nothing more than the solitude his cabin in the Adirondacks provides for writing his romance novels. His best laid plans go awry when he notices his neighbor. After their friendly dinner, sparks fly between him and Avery. However, Tennyson also realizes he can’t be what Avery needs. The D/s scene is not for him.
At least until freak accident forces them together. With some help from unseen forces, and a little bit of ‘getting to know each other’, can Tennyson and Avery compromise enough to let those sparks ignite?
Mist Gray: Falling Apart. Falling Together is part of the Color Box line from Torquere Press. I found it to be a sweet, nice tale of compromise and healing. I’ll say upfront that I know little about the BDSM/D/s lifestyle, so I can’t comment on the validity of that part of the plot. Also note that this element of the plot is fairly tame, so those of you who are adverse to reading heavy BDSM would probably be okay here. I know I was.
Het romance novelist Tennyson — Ten — leaves New York City and heads to the woods and his retreat cabin where he can write in peace and quiet. He’s uncomfortable socializing and hopes that he can remain unbothered during his stay. Next-door neighbor and photographer Avery lost his Dom/partner to an accident a year earlier, and he is still drowning in a sea of grief and pain. Seeking barely enough of what he needs to fulfill his sub nature with already-partnered, good friend Cameron, he cannot imagine anyone new filling Riley’s role. Reluctantly taking Cameron’s advice to get on with his life, he invites Ten over to supper along with Cameron and his partner, Ajay, which Ten reluctantly accepts. After dinner, Ten and Avery give in some to a seemingly inexplicable attraction they have, but it becomes quickly apparent that with Avery in the BDSM lifestyle — and Ten not — it would never work. Ten just doesn’t have it in him to be a Dom. Luckily neither man is looking for a relationship, so deciding to leave it as friends, they head their separate ways. Until Avery breaks his ankle, that is. Their desire grows as Ten neighbor-sits while Avery needs to be off his feet, and maybe, just maybe, Ten feels he can unleash a mini-Dom. In the meantime, odd things have been happening — and extra cup on the counter when it wasn’t taken out, grocery items appearing that weren’t bought, whispers of a voice or the feeling of a touch when alone — making both men wonder what is going on.
What worked for me:
I thought both protags were likeable and sympathetic, especially Avery, whose pain was palpable. I really felt for him, lost in mourning and adrift without Riley. Wanting to move on, but not wanting to at the same time, he is in a tough position:
Almost a year ago, and it still felt like it’d happened yesterday. Everyone told him the pain would ease. Avery wasn’t sure he wanted it to. Riley was everything to him. To stop grieving would feel like a betrayal.
I liked that Ten was hesitant — reluctant, even — about getting involved with someone in the scene, and had to really consider whether or not he could do some of the things he felt Avery would want him to do to be satisfied. I also thought how he acknowledged his ignorance and wanted to research the lifestyle before going forward was smart.
I found it very humorous when Ten was writing his stories, bickering with his characters — and especially funny when he is trying to keep his protag straight:
“Whatever I want? What sort of answer is that? You’re a fucking barbarian, Wulf,” he muttered. “I bet if she was named Steve, you’d have more ideas. I know I would.”
In his mind’s eye, Wulf nodded and leered at him. “Down boy,” Ten mumbled. “You like girls, remember?”
Secondary cast members Cameron and Ajay were also likeable and fully-fleshed, and since they had fairly large roles, that was a good thing. I liked the themes of healing and growth. I thought the compromises our heroes made were realistic, and I felt their HFN/probable HEA believable based on those compromises.
I felt that the paranormal aspect of the book was not explored deeply enough, and although little things were happening to both men — and they talked about it together briefly — it never went any further. Though I thought it was sweet, the story would not have suffered if it had been eliminated.
Recommended to those who like contemporaries, BDSM-themed stories, or hinty paranormals.