Caught! (The Shamwell Tales #1)

Title: Caught! (The Shamwell Tales #1)
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 337
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Bow ties are cool . . . but secrets, not so much.

Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex–public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.

Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean away—but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.

Note: This is a revised second edition, originally published elsewhere.

If you’re a fan of JL Merrow’s quirky / funny characters, I think you’ll rather enjoy this first book in The Shamwell Tales series.

Robert Emeny is a primary school teacher … pronounced “Mr. Enemy” by the students at St. Saviour’s School, but he is pretty much beloved by his 2E charges. He attended a very posh college and favors the sartorial splendor of a bow tie and braces. His car is a lovely Nissan Figaro named “Portia.” Robert has been scarred in matters of the heart and has sworn off men for life … well, at least the next 20 or 30 years.

Sean Grant is a green-eyed red-headed ratcatcher … er, “pest-control technician” with a sexy battered black leather jacket, a motorcycle and two equally red-headed nephews in Mr. Enemy’s 2E class. He’s got a bit of a fetish for bow ties and braces … and nerdy snarky men with a penchant for Harris tweed jackets and reading E.M. Forester’s Maurice rather than watching the telly.

After a horrid first date, Sean and Robert slowly and tentatively work their way into a relationship, although there is a constant series of unfortunate misunderstandings and/or miscommunication resulting in breakups which are resolved and then happen again, and again. I dearly wanted at some point to yell “Use your WORDS” and make them sit in a corner together to resolve their problems. Their relationship is more cute spark than sexy sizzle, but it fits into the story beautifully.

JL Merrow has created a wonderful cast of secondary characters – Robert’s co-worker Rose, Sean’s sister Deb fighting cancer, Robert’s simply horrid stepsister Laetitia (known as Titty), sweet little Charlie Mason who wants fairy wings for Christmas. As Mr. Enemy says: “After all, we don’t even know if Charlie’s actually gay yet. He may yet surprise you and bring home a girlfriend.” Mr. Mason looked frankly dubious. “He brings home a girl, it’ll most like be so they can paint each other’s nails.”

Caught! is a great read and I give it 4 stars.

The Shamwell Tales

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Galley copy of Caught! (The Shamwell Tales #1) provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

A few “badges” from NetGalley:
100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader

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