Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Review – Bottled Up © Andrew Grey

Title: Bottled Up

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Main Characters: Sean Bielecki & Sam Davis & Bobby

Sean Bielecki has built a new life, leaving an infamous identity and painful past behind. Now Sommelier Wines is Sean’s dream. And after taking in Bobby, a homeless teenager who was attacked in the alley behind his store, parental instincts wake in him that he didn’t know he had, giving him new courage and direction.
Officer Sam Davis has been watching Sean for a while—not because of his past—but rising star because Sam wants to be a part of his life now. Sam finally asks Sean out, and they seem to click, but Sean is haunted by his memories.
It all comes to a head when the man who attacked Bobby returns, awakening Sean’s buried fears, which are compounded by a hateful ex and a new lover who puts his life on the line for others. Can Sean come to terms with his past and present to move into the future? Or will his dream of love end before it starts?

 

“Bobby, do you have a place to stay?”

He shook his head. “I can take care of myself; don’t worry.” That defiant look was back again.

“I’m sure you can, but you’re coming home with me.” Sean could be just as determined as Bobby could—hell, more so if need be. To Sean’s surprise, he didn’t receive an argument, but a soft nod of agreement.

After turning off the lights and setting the alarm, they left the store and trudged through the new snow to the car. Sean unlocked the doors and they got inside the cold car. He started the engine and cleaned off the windows while the car warmed up.

The drive home was slow, but steady, and at least the car was warm. Pulling up to Sean’s small Milwaukee bungalow, he parked the car on the street in front of the house and led the way up the walk. Unlocking the door, he led them inside, hanging up his coat and then asking for Bobby’s. This time, Bobby shrugged off his light outer garment and handed it to Sean. “Let’s get something to eat.” Turning on lights as they moved through the house, Sean led the way to the kitchen. “Have a seat; I’ll get dinner.” Sean moved through the kitchen, making a simple meal of eggs, ham, and fried potatoes. Once he’d set the table, he placed a full plate in front of Bobby before fixing himself a plate. Bobby’s arm was a blur, he was eating so fast. “Slow down. No one is going to take it from you, and there’s more if you want it.” Bobby’s eating slowed—slightly—, and Sean got up and poured them each a big glass of milk. “How old are you?”

Bobby mumbled, “Sixteen,” between huge bites.

“What happened to your parents?” Sean took a bite of egg as he watched Bobby stop eating and shrug.

“I don’t know. Never knew my dad, and my mom ran off two years ago with some loser crackhead.” Bobby started eating again.

Sean was floored. “You’ve been living on your own since you were fourteen?” Jesus, what a way to grow up.

“Better than living with a crackhead for a mother.” His expression was so hard, so cynical, that it was frightening, especially in someone so young. Sean didn’t know what to say to that, so he just nodded and continued eating.

They finished eating and Sean put the dishes in the dishwasher and finished cleaning up. “Let me show you to your room.” Bobby looked surprised, but followed Sean upstairs. “I’ll bring you some things to sleep in and put some towels in the bathroom for you.” Bobby just stood there, listening and watching as Sean pulled out some sweats and handed them to him. With another of his patented shrugs, he shuffled toward the bathroom. A few minutes later, Sean heard the shower. While Bobby was cleaning up, he went back downstairs, made sure the kitchen was clean, turned off the lights, and locked the front door. As he made his way upstairs, he heard the water stop. Smiling to himself, he went into his bedroom and got ready for bed. He heard Bobby pad from the bathroom to the guest room and then the door closed.

Finally relaxing, Sean climbed beneath his blankets and turned off his light. He’d just gotten comfortable, when his door opened slowly and then closed again. He was about to get up when he felt his covers lift and he realized Bobby was in bed with him. Turning on the light, he saw a naked Bobby, spread out on the sheets, looking back at him. “Bobby, what are you doing?” Sean threw back the blanket, going to his closet and taking out his robe before handing it to Bobby. “Put this on, please.” Sean turned away and he heard Bobby complying with his request. “Why, Bobby?”

The teenager looked down at his feet. “Nobody does something for nothing and since you didn’t ask for anything, I thought this was what you wanted.”

Sean shook his head, pacing the room in his underwear. “No, that’s not what I want from you.”

“Then what?” He genuinely seemed confused.

“What I want isn’t as important as what you want.” Sean stopped pacing, looking at Bobby. “What do you want?”

The look on Bobby’s face was one of complete surprise, like no one had ever asked him that question before. “I don’t know. To be warm, I guess. To have enough to eat.” He suddenly looked so fragile, like he was going to break. Sean wanted to hug him and comfort him, but he wasn’t sure he should.

“Why don’t you get ready for bed and get a good night’s sleep? We’ll talk in the morning.”

Bobby turned to leave, but stopped as he opened the door. “Katie said you were a really good guy; I guess I should have listened to her.”

“Is that all she said?” That really didn’t sound like her.

Bobby looked back at the floor. “She also said if I hurt you in any way she’d rip my balls off.”

Sean smiled. That sounded like the Katie he knew. “Good night, Bobby.”

“Good night, Sean… and thanks.” His door closed with a click and a few seconds later he heard Bobby’s door close as well.

Bottle Up © Andrew Grey

 

Review

When Sean Bielecki is alerted to a scuffle at the back of his wine shop – Sommelier Wines he literally had no fear and just knew he had to help the underdog. The underdog in question is Bobby and meeting Bobby will change Sean’s life in such a way that he had never image or even hoped for.

Sean knows hurt and the need for safety when he sees it so he had no problem with extending his hand and his home to Bobby. Bobby eager for any scrap of kindness he can get soaks it up and soon becomes a pivotal part of Sean's life.

As much as Bobby fills a need in Sean‘s  life, Sean wanted more - he needed more for himself and this is just when he is asked on a date by Officer Sam Davis. Officer Davis has been a customer of Sean for a while now and to be honest Sean has never looked twice at the man as any sort of love interest – but now that he is looking, the man he sees is a superb specimen.

Sam and Sean gets on famously and while trying to make a relationship between them they have to contend with family, friends and Bobby. Bobby comes with his own set of baggage and most it not good. Sean however does try to give him a stability that he has never had and he blossoms and literally shines under Sean's care – however some things are just too good to be true as Bobby has a frightening experience that has him reverting to the scared little boy that I originally met and to compound all that Sean immediate past makes an appearance and Sam looks like the only sane one of the three who has to hold his little family together.

I wont even go any further with this review without letting you know that I love this book, really love this book. I had some minor concern regarding technical procedure, but overall a solid read for me and a most recommended book.

Now that that is out of the way here's the fine print. BOTTLED UP is a follow up to THE BEST REVENGE and they don't have to be read together as I actually read this book first and was intrigued enough by the introduction of Mark and Tyler to follow up their story to THE BEST REVENGE.

This book starts straight off with an emotional scene, to be honest there was a carousel of these in just the first twenty pages of this book. Sean is relatively happy, he is a grown man, with super cool parents, his own business, friends he love and who loved him right back and his own home – what more could any honest red blooded man want. Yup you got it in one – he needed a man and a man that does more that moan and get snippy at the minor things in life.

Not one to dwell on the negatives of life Sean compartmentalizes alot and is able to enjoy his life and carry on to enjoy the things that he does have. Running out into the cold to help with a bust up is not unlike the Sean I got to know and love and because of this he and I got to meet Bobby.

As soon as Sean helped Bobby in from the cold and saw the state he was in – both Sean and I fell in love with him and I think my parenting urges kicked in at just about the same time Sean’s did – five minutes after he shovelled a second sandwich into his mouth.

Anyhow back to Sean – As much as he is OK, he has some confidence issues when it comes to making the next move in his personal life or for that matter being able to see what or who was around him and in turn see that there was one man in particular that really wanted to get with him.

This man is Officer Sam Davis – a local cop in the business district where Sean’s wine shop is, so not only was he liable to be at the scene of a local crime but he was a customer of Sommelier Wines as well. When the opportunity put Sam in a position to ask Sean out, Sean accept with surprising eagerness and  I was even surprise at the less than reluctant attitude to the first date, as Sean is not the one to notice a guy who has the hot for him. 

Gently does it is the motto between the two and with Bobby now a firm fixture in Sean's life, Sam showed me the kind of man he was – not only did he hold Sean's hand and gave him some of the little pleasures of life that he had been missing out on but he accepted Bobby and Sean as a package deal and I loved him for this.

I could not write this review without giving Bobby equal page time. Bobby's story is not only heartbreaking but he has a personality and a capability to love and be loved in return that he took this book over. He grab the headline with his zest for life, the talent he never even knew he had, his naive approach to the things we take for granted and just his utmost pleasure at every little scrap of kindness.

Bobby, Sean and Sam are such strong personalities that they wrap you up in their lives and it’s hard to imagine how anything else much less anyone else could get a scene in edgewise – but Andrew Grey filled the excess pages with some wonderful characters, from the mouthy sales assistant whose only dream is for a man of her own, plus a hurricane of a customer that feels no qualms about taking Sean and eventually Bobby under her wings and he rounds that off with a few of the residents from the underbelly of society and believe me – it was the entire package.

The situations that Grey puts his characters in were realistic and well described. With the array of characters and side stories going through the book, he kept the pace sharp and the scenes were like little photo snaps –changing quite often but I was not tossed off track by any of it.

I thought the characters gelled well together – the angst and little secrets were edgy enough to give this book a backbone, that held strong all the way though the book. Greys plot his simply, his writing style is easy  and he makes the little community a thrill to visit – it actually feels like my high street. 

Bottom Line

Andrew Grey has done it again for me with BOTTLE UP. With a story line that not only called to me, but crafted in such a way that it would have taken a much stronger person than anyone around me to pry me away from this book – he captured my imagination, he opened up a world where my good wishes for all the best was running right alongside my urge to get my bat out and do some serious damage to a few toerags in this book.

He made me laugh, he made me sigh and he also made me cry and I hate him for that – I hate crying over books… it just damage the pages…

Fans of Grey’s work – why didn’t you pinch me and tell me about this book, newbie you have no excuse not to be reading BOTTLED UP.

 

14 Speak To Me:

ErotRomReader (Janna) on 2 December 2009 at 10:47 said...

I can hardly (or rather can't) keep up with your speed of reading and reviewing, girl!!
I'm a newbie and I feel an urgent need to read Andrew Grey's books now! No excuse, huh? I don't need one, that's for sure :) 'Cause this sounds like right up my alley! Thanks for the wonderful review, hon!

Tam on 2 December 2009 at 14:12 said...

I have the first one but I haven't gotten to it yet. Must. (Right, that and all the others I MUST read. LOL) This one sounded great though and you've sold me on it.

Blodeuedd on 2 December 2009 at 14:20 said...

Crying too, oh, I love and hate those kinds of books. They are so good and heartbreaking

A Buckeye Girl Reads on 2 December 2009 at 18:53 said...

This is a new author to me & not something I'd normally read, but you have sold me as well! Adding to my want to read list!

Erotic Horizon on 2 December 2009 at 19:05 said...

Hey Janna..

This is actually one of my last month read - I am catchhing up on reviews...

I had some lazy days last month...

There is no excuse not to have read an Andrew Grey...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 2 December 2009 at 19:06 said...

@Tam..

Drag it out of the TBR pile and earmark a date with these books - Truthfully the second books is head and shoulders above the first one...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 2 December 2009 at 19:08 said...

@Blodeuedd..
You know when you are on to a good one - Andrew Grey is so that one..

This book has all the things you would love in a book...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 2 December 2009 at 19:09 said...

@A Buckeye Girl Reads

Hey girl, another newbie to the love - get on the train my dear...

You so wont regret it...

E.H>

ErotRomReader (Janna) on 2 December 2009 at 19:53 said...

Oh, so you actually do have lazy days than? Couldn't tell ;)

"There is no excuse not to have read an Andrew Grey..."

I know that now! I'm gonna work on it, hon! Very soon :)

Eyre on 2 December 2009 at 23:13 said...

Great review! This wasn't my favorite book, but I've bought another by the author since I read it.

Smokinhotbooks on 3 December 2009 at 02:41 said...

I have no excuse, I need to read me some Andrew Grey. I should be spanked or something.

Erotic Horizon on 3 December 2009 at 08:54 said...

Hey Eyre..

I did see your star rating on GR...

I am eager to know what aspect did not work for you..

Lets chat - email me or lets GR this or comment here..

Thanks hon..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 3 December 2009 at 08:56 said...

@Janna..

Just non-writing reviews day... But I read every single day..

However I do have my lazy day...I am doing alot of Graphic Comics at the moment..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 3 December 2009 at 08:57 said...

@K.C.

I am not touching that statement at all...

Nope...

You must try this author ... Please start with "Love Means..No Shame"

E.H>