Title: Building Sandcastles (Perfect Strangers Series #28)
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: OmniLit/ All Romance ebooks, LLC
Cover Art: Amanda Kelsey
Genre: gay contemporary
Length: Short Story (13k words)
Rating: 3 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A fluffy snack of a read, not overly substantial, but nice and sweet.
The Blurb: After a brush with death, he begins to live…
After a mugging and near death experience, Leo Gorgan realizes the only thing he has in New York City is business contacts. He decides to take a year off and travel the country. When a needed repair on his motorhome lands him in Destiny, Iowa, Leo has no idea the ruggedly handsome man at the hardware store will be able to fix more than his leaky faucet.
William “Tank” Borsoiv loves his life. The farm he owns is enough to feed his soul, but not enough to make ends meet. Working at the hardware store has always bridged the gap financially, but it also allows Tank to interact with the townspeople. When a stranger with dark red hair enters the store, Tank’s body takes notice. Tank knows Leo has a life in New York he’ll eventually go back to, but he won’t let that stop him from entering into the hottest relationship he’s ever experienced. Loving Leo may come with a price, but Tank will gladly pay the debt.
The Review: Coming from a lower class blue collar family, Leo Gorgan worked his way up to personal independence, which to him means money, a fancy apartment, acquaintances in higher circles, and the pleasant company of handsome men whenever he desires them. But despite all the people who call themselves his friends when asking for favors, Leo’s life is lonely and hollow, a fact that he realizes during his hospital stay. Nobody so much as called him there much less paid him a visit, even though he nearly died on the operation table. Manhattan and the big life have lost their appeal to him after that. So he decides on a self-discovery trip coast to coast which brings him to Destiny, Iowa where he has to stop to have a problem with his motor home fixed. Which is how Leo meets William “Tank” Borsoiv, a six-foot-five bear of a man who happens to be the only gay man in all of Destiny.
Tank is a part-time farmer who also works in his stepfather’s hardware store. He’s a real country boy, handy with all kinds of manual skills from hay-making and house repairs down to canning vegetables, and he’s also so wholesome and neighborly that I couldn’t help wondering why his last name wasn’t Ingalls. Through most of the story Tank is busy doing good, be it buying groceries for his former elementary teacher, slipping a little extra livestock feed to a poor family, or helping elderly citizens. Actually, all of Destiny’s citizens constantly help each other out, everyone knows everyone and meddles benevolently in everybody else’s business.
When Tank and Leo meet, they don’t waste much time getting into each other’s pants. But afterwards, even though they can’t help feeling an instant deeper connection, comes the sobering realization that they are very different indeed. Still, Leo decides to stick around for a while, mostly because Tank both sparks and fulfills every sexual fantasy Leo has ever had. It would have to be the first selfless thing Leo tries to do for Tank that earns him a broken bone and a reason to lengthen his stay. Which in turn brings Leo in closer contact with other inhabitants of Destiny and finally to the realization that money is nice to have, but can’t buy the things that really count in life.
This story was… nice. There’s not much else to say about it. Even the smooth story flow and the workmanlike writing couldn’t hide the fact that not only the main characters are both stereotypes in khaki pants or flannel shirts respectively, the entire story is pure cliché. Poor lonely rich city boy (or man in this case) meets golden-hearted, sexy hayseed, acquires a liking for country life and finally decides to seek his salvation in the fold of a caring small-town community. Mind you, I’m not saying that clichés are something bad in and of themselves. They can be comforting for their familiarity. This story was nicely done, it might just hit the spot when you’re in the mood for an easy, positive read.