Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Muscling Through

Title: Muscling Through
Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-501-2
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

When inebriated Cambridge art professor Larry Morton sees a huge, tattooed man standing in a dark alleyway, he assumes the worst. He’s terrified and babbling like a moron, but instead of ending up attacked or dead, Larry’s escorted safely home. The next morning, he feels embarrassed and can’t rest until he apologizes to the man who turned out to be gentle and caring. In fact, the more Larry learns about Al Fletcher, the more he wants to know and when he discovers Al’s artistic talent, Larry’s thrilled.  

Yet Larry’s friends and family see little, aside from Al’s massive bulk, poor speech and his lack of a formal education. They don’t see his good heart and try to split apart the oddly matched couple. Is their relationship physical? Yes. Is it much more? Yes again. Now all Larry has to do is convince his lover…the best man he’s ever met that they belong together, no matter what others think. 

In Muscling Through, J.L. Merrow created two men who grew up in wildly dissimilar personal, educational and socio-economic backgrounds and who are physically as unalike as night and day. Then they’re brought together under strange circumstances and it’s done believably and with some great dialogue that had me chuckling. Larry is small, fairly thin and unassuming, while Al is big and burly, but the author brought them together on an emotional level that runs deep and tugs at the heartstrings.  

The story is told from Al’s viewpoint and while his educational level is low and he thinks slower than Larry, he isn’t stupid and the author does a good job expressing this, but never forgets his humor and wit. I admit that I found it a little sad that Al didn’t see his value…didn’t understand why Larry would want him. It’s also nice to see how much Larry appreciates him. Not just for his body but for the sensitive and loving man he is inside. Yes it’s a bit of an unusual love story. After all, Al and Larry start off as occasional sex partners, neither expecting much, but it is a joy to watch them grow into a loving partnership that survives…despite interfering family and one potentially deadly wrinkle. Read and enjoy.

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