Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making the Grade

Title: Making the Grade
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-0-85715-298-5
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

After graduating from college, Kenny Trenton came back to Cattle Valley to teach at his old high school. He’s been crazy about fellow teacher Eli Sanchez since he was a teenager and even though he’s now an adult and a member of the teaching facility, Eli refuses to see him as anything other than a former student.

After growing up in a dangerous neighborhood, Eli protects himself by withdrawing from the outside world, choosing to stay within the safety of his home. Except that’s not working for him either. He might be safe physically but emotionally, it’s left him feeling cut off and lonely. Deciding he needs to get out more, he decides to start with attending an away game of the high school football team and ends up getting stabbed in the parking lot.

While recovering from his injury, Eli starts to withdraw again but Kenny is just as determined to prevent the man he loves from retreating back into his lonely shell. The question is can Kenny convince his lover that stepping into the outside world is worth the risk?

I always look forward to each new release in the Cattle Valley series and Making the Grade wasn’t any different. Once again, Ms. Lynne has created two likable characters in Kenny and Eli and she’s done a nice job expressing both their personalities. I am particularly drawn to Eli and his self-imposed seclusion, then Ms. Lynne added his healed physical injuries and the man was even more afraid to leave the house. I enjoyed the manner in which Eli came to the realization that he needed to make some changes in his life and the following scenes that involved the away game and his stabbing—they were handled very well.

Kenny is just as lonely in his own right and his unrequited love and for Eli and his struggle to get the man to take a chance on them as a couple is near heartbreaking. I loved his determination to stay positive in the face of Eli’s continued stubbornness and Ms. Lynn handled his understandable unhappiness and frustration well. These two men are good together and the growth of the relationship is handled with Ms. Lynne’s usual flair and creativity. By the end of the book, the relationship of these two is one solid ground and I can’t wait to see what happens to them and the other inhabitants in Cattle Valley in the next release, To Service and Protect.

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