Title: Waiting for Rain
Author: Susan Mac Nicol and Matthew Lloyd Davies (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Release Date: June 12th, 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The village of Stamford, the quintessential chocolate box English scene, seemed an impossible dream for foster kid Toby Prentiss. Now he’s found a home among the haystacks and village fairs as the general manager for the Duck and Drake Hotel. With the fears and demons from his youth hidden away in this bucolic oasis, he’s very protective of who he lets in. Until he stumbles across shirtless carpenter Rain Engel building the hotel’s new custom-designed bar.
Working in the countryside, Rain prepared to face his biggest fear: sheep. He didn’t expect to deal with his second biggest fear: commitment. Toby’s controlled, tough guy façade coupled with his “find happiness where you can” optimism calls to Rain like nothing before. While Rain may be an exhibitionist, his romantic history forces him to hold his emotions close. As their relationship develops, secrets from their pasts drive a wedge between them: the ex-boyfriend who tore apart Rain’s trust and Toby’s history with the law. But can the secrets hiding among the quirky villagers bring them together? With missing sheep, pole dancing at the winter festival, and a crippling drought, everyone is waiting for Rain.
WARNING: This is an entirely subjective review.
While I will not, and rightly cannot, deny Matthew Lloyd Davies delivers a good narration performance, I absolutely loathed the voices he used for the main characters. I thought he made Toby sound like a 50+ year old poncy twat, and Rain, who was supposed to be South African, at times, to me, sounded way more Germanic or Italian than South African. So it kind of ruined the whole thing for me. That being said, the rest of his narration was quite good. Timing, inflection, performance – all fine.
Told in alternating first-person POVs, we are introduced to Toby when he boots his boyfriend to the curb after the dickhead hits him. I literally cheered at this scene. It was so refreshing to see someone defend himself the way Toby does.
Some months later, Toby meets Rain when Rain and his partner, Lucas, come to the Duck and Drake Hotel (where Toby is the General Manager) to build a custom pub. After a rocky start, Toby and Rain begin seeing each other (read: blowing and jacking each other in the garden shed). While the physical part of their relationship is immediate and WHITE HOT, the emotional side is a bit of a slow burn. Both men have secrets and things they are hiding from each other, which take some time to come to light.
This story is chockablock full of sex, in every way, shape and form. It’s also chock full of a bunch of bloated side plots involving homophobic assholes, weird sheep phobias, sheepnapping, humor, pole dancing, TSTL moments, more humor, and more sex. It was a glut of extra everything, which admittedly served at times to move along the relationship between Toby and Rain, but got old. Fast. Honestly, with as much as I was hating the narration by the time it was only halfway through I was wishing it was over. Surprisingly though, it wasn’t the narration, but the story itself that managed to trip my rage switch at around 54%.
1. I got ragey when Toby goes to confront his friend Tammy’s asshole ex-boyfriend who has blamed Toby for their split and has been seriously harassing Toby ever since. First, because the whole harassment thing was completely out of left field, which was a real feat considering the sheer amount of information and plot that’s jam packed into this story. And second, because Toby doesn’t bring anyone with him or tell anyone where he’s going.
2. Later on, when Tammy’s asshole ex, comes around wearing a mask and kidney punches Toby, then stabs him with a beer bottle, Toby doesn’t press charges. Because he doesn’t want his past to come to light. The past that everyone seems to already fucking know about.
3. Some of the prose in this made me shake my head or gag. A few examples:
“…his semen filled my mouth like thick strands of spider silk.” Okay, just…ew. Ewwwww!
“…and made my groin burn like a menthol heat pack had been shoved down my pants…” That’s a good thing? *looks around* I don’t think that’s a good thing.
“…his hungry tongue probing my mouth like an octopus tentacle.” Again….ew.
4. I was again MISS MAJOR RAGEY when Rain’s ex boyfriend, who left him after several years together, buying a home together, and completely shattering Rain’s heart starts calling and texting Rain. Rain lies to Toby about who it is and what’s happening. Rain agrees to meet with his ex when he returns to town because he wants to sort out his feelings. Because “Two years of a relationship versus four months of knowing someone was a very big difference.” Which I would have had no problem with id Rain had been upfront and honest with Toby about what was happening instead of lying and hiding it.
When the ex returns Rain lies to Toby and meets with the ex. In all the communication with the ex Rain somehow manages to never mention he has a new boyfriend. When the ex kisses Rain and Toby sees them, Rain’s explanation to Toby is all, “Oh, no, I didn’t mean it! I just wanted to make sure I was over him and I didn’t feel the same for him as I do for you! And Yay! I don’t!” After being pissed, Toby is talked out of his rage by his boss/friend and just sweeps Rain back. No groveling or really much apologizing to be had.
Aside from that though, it’s a funny, quirky, bit-long-winded, romance with a lot of sex. I think I might have liked it more had I been reading rather than listening. Maybe not, given the things I was ragey about though.