Blood & Milk (Vallie’s Review)

blood and milk
Title: Blood & Milk
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: June 23, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 262
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Heath Crowley is an Australian man, born with two different coloured eyes and the gift—or curse—of having premonition dreams. He also has nothing left to live for. Twelve months after having his life upended, his dreams tell him where he needs to be. So with nothing?and no one?to keep him in Sydney, he simply boards a plane for Tanzania. Not caring if he lives or dies, Heath walks into a tribe of Maasai and asks to stay. Granted permission, he leaves behind the name and heartbreak of Heath and starts over with the new Maasai name of Alé.
From the day of his birth, Damu has always been an outcast. The son of the chief and brother to the great warrior leader, Damu is reminded constantly that he’s not good enough to be considered a man in the eyes of his people. Ordered to take responsibility for Alé, Damu shares with him the ways of the Maasai, just as Alé shares with Damu the world outside the acacia thorn fence. But it’s more than just a cultural exchange. It’s about trust and acceptance, finding themselves, and a true sense of purpose.
Under the African sky on the plains of the Serengeti, Heath finds more than just a reason to live. He finds a man like no other, and a reason to love.

Funfreakingtastic. Bravo, author. This was an amazing story, exceptionally written, and I’m happy to display it proudly on my favourites shelf.

Heath survived a despicable crime and lost his partner. Although ”survived” should be used loosely. Heath is devastated and he has pretty much lost his will to live. But, he’s always had this curse, as he calls it, to see his dreams become reality. So, Heath dreams of living with the Maasai people in Tanzania and off he goes.

A good 40% of the book is dedicated to showing Heath’s integration into the Maasai village. He was assigned a “babysitter”, Damu, who shares his hut with Heath. Damu becomes the person Heath interacts with from sunup to sundown. They talk about the differences in each other’s cultures, teach each other their respective languages, and become close. I really don’t want to give more details about it because it is so magical and unique to experience it for the first time that I would ruin it for everyone.

The primitive nature of life in the Maasai village and the mundaneness of their daily routine is breathing new life into Heath. I knew next to nothing about the Maasai people when I picked this up so I can’t speak for the accuracy of the depiction. But I have to say, the story, the set-up, the characters were all so original and unique, that I finished this whole thing in less than 5 hours with no breaks. I just could not stop reading.

As for the romance? There’s nothing quite like exploring the forbidden, let alone in a place that is so far removed from any semblance of civilisation. Every word, look, and touch was magnified because what Damu and Heath experienced was extraordinary, by modern or primitive standards. Their relationship was extremely emotional even though the words they exchanged were chosen carefully and always spoken where others could not overhear. Damu’s sexual awakening was a story for the ages, I kid you not. The sex between them was so very hot but always underpinned by the emotions gradually developing as the story went on. And I was pleasantly surprised to see so many sex scenes, always moving the plot forward, but still. I wasn’t expecting so much steam for this author.

So of course I’m reading along and I’m developing my own ideas about where I want this to go, and where I want the characters to end up. And it happened! Their HEA was everything I wanted for them and even though they had to work so very hard to earn it, the stress and worry was worth every skip of my heart as I was reading.

Hihgly highly highly recommend!

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Galley copy of Blood & Milk provided by N.R. Walker in exchange of an honest review.