in the middle of somewhere
Title: Baggage
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Release Date: October 30, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary romance
Page Count: 223
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

At thirty-eight years of age, Chandler finds himself single and caring for his brother Raymond, who suffers numerous health problems.

Mired in grief from the multiple deaths of close family members, he recedes into himself, crippled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Early one morning Chandler’s life is flipped on its end when he encounters his neighbor, twenty-five year old Marcus.

Nothing about a relationship with this young man makes sense. For one thing, Marcus is… well… YOUNG. He’s also biracial and has all kinds of tattooed muscles!

The streetwise Marcus introduces Chandler to an entirely different lifestyle, pulling the would-be hermit from his shell, albeit kicking and screaming. But how long can such a relationship last, and what about Raymond? Chandler fears a guy like Marcus, seemingly perfect in every way, won’t be able to truly accept Chandler with all his baggage.

An unexpected bombshell detonates and Chandler learns some unsavory details about Marcus, who he really is, and what he’s done in the past.

Finally, it’s Chandler who must decide if he can accept Marcus’ baggage

I must admit to being fond of authors who not just write but also read books. And Jeff Erno is one of those authors. I’ve become his quiet stalker. Jeff Erno gave a book 5 stars? I add it to my TBR. Jeff Erno wrote a new blog? I HAVE to read it. I really enjoy his thoughts about many topics that concern us all. So how could it happen that I’ve read just two of his books?!
The time for my next Jeff Erno’s book has come.

I read Baggage almost in one sitting. It was a quick read. It’s not a brilliant literary work, but it is a solid contemporary romance that will for sure satisfy many readers.

His whole life Chandler cared for people he loved. He sacrificed his own life, his happiness for his family. Considering the long list of family members Chandler looked after and cared for during his thirty eight year lifetime, I should admire his total self-giving character, but I rather feel pity for him. Isn’t happiness the result of a certain amount of a healthy dose of egoism?

But if a lonely gay hero has ever earned a reward in form of a young and attractive neighbor, it’s certainly Chandler. It is how Marcus stepped into his life, emerging on the porch of his mobile home in a trailer park, where Chandler lived together with his brother Raymond for eight years, and for whom he- surprise surprise- CARED, because Raymond is not able to live on his own.

But if I got to know what kind of baggage Chandler carried around for all his life, Marcus past and his real intentions remained in the darkness. He appeared to be a person who was difficult to see through. And whilst Chandler fell head over heels in love with this wet-dream-come-true-young-man, he couldn’t stop to doubt if he were the right person for Marcus to be with. His continuous thoughts that Marcus deserved someone young and positive and not someone like him, who already experienced many losses and disappointments of dashed hopes, Chandler somehow managed to convince me either to believe that he was not good enough for Marcus, or better to say, that Marcus was not the person that he claimed to be. I began to suspect some hidden selfish interest behind Marcus attraction toward Chandler. Has he been always honest with Chandler? Well, you’ll get the answer to this question when you read the book.

Baggage the kind of book that makes you feel GOOD after you have read the last page, and it has everything that this genre can OFFER:

    A love story about two very different characters that in spite of their differences fit best together. opposites attract – one of my favorite kind in MM Romance.

    The right quantum of DRAMA and MISUNDERSTANDINGS that my NON-CONTEMPORARY soul could deal with.

    The right quantity of steam. YES, when sex happens, it is HOT.

    HEA. But common we know the genre – everything else would have been a huge mistake.

All in all it was entertaining and intriguing enough to enjoy the reading.

Jeff Erno has a very clear and unpretentious writing style. He is honest and passionate in portraying his characters. And it is the perfect and the RIGHT way to do it, IF…

I felt BAAAAAD to rate it under 4 stars, because it was actually good. BUT.

I don’t know if it was my PERSONAL issue, but I just prefer bad boys. Chandler is someone you want to have by your side in a REAL LIFE, but who is a bit too boring as a book character, too well-behaved, too ready to help, too sacrificing for my spoiled nature.
Though I can understand what the author wanted to say with this story – it is why I ALWAYS read prologue/introduction.

There was no much angst or drama to speak of, no real mind-blowing action, nothing to make you WOWED, but it has something nice, something lovely, that is difficult to put in words, but that kept me interested through the whole story.
So yes, considering the sub-genre, that doesn’t belong to my preferable one(I’m rather a mystery girl), I’d say, it is a MUST read for all fans of a contemporary romance novel.

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Advanced Review Copy

ARC of Baggage provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


A passionate reader from Germany. I learned to read at the age of 4 and never stopped since then, though my books from that time were very different from what they are now. English is my third language, and I’m sorry for all grammar mistakes I made in my reviews. But I assure you, that my reading English is much better than my writing English. I’m a seeker for the books that differ from mainstream, that provoke the reader or have very often very opposite ratings.

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