Monday, 19 July 2010

Review - Love Means..Freedom © Andrew Grey

Love Means..Freedom

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Spurned by his father and driven from his home, Stone Hillyard is struggling to find shelter in the Michigan winter when he lucks upon the horse farm run by Geoff Laughton and his partner Eli. They take him in, warm him up, and give him a job working with their No Boundaries therapy riding program.

A drunk driver left Preston Harding unable to walk, and after months of hard work, his therapist recommends Geoff and Eli’s program. But Preston’s anger and arrogance nearly get him kicked out until Stone intercedes on his behalf, despite Preston’s insults. It’s a small act of kindness that helps open Preston’s eyes.

Stone and Preston will support each other as they face their families’ disapproval and fight old secrets. They’ll learn—sometimes the hard way—just how love can mean freedom for them both.

The truck pulled off the side of the road, skidding to a stop. “I don’t need no freeloaders. If you won’t pay, you can walk!” the man growled as Stone began reaching for the handle. “You should have just sucked it!”

Stone opened the passenger door and made a grab for his bag, figuring the driver would try to steal his stuff. He was right, because the truck began to move as soon as his foot hit the ground. Stone swiped his arm at the driver and hit him on the side of the face, the truck jerking to a stop again. Grabbing his bag and yanking, he tugged it with him and fell away from the truck as it took off again. “Old fucker,” he yelled at the taillights, “I wouldn’t suck that button mushroom dick of yours for nothing!” He did have some standards, after all. Watching the taillights disappear, he pulled himself out of the snow bank and stomped the snow off his clothes. “Damn, it’s cold out here.” He stomped a few times to get warm before picking up his pack and slinging it over his shoulder. He’d only been in the truck a few minutes, so he hadn’t had much of a chance to warm up in the first place. He tried to figure his chances of getting lucky with a ride twice on a night like this.

Snow swirled around him as he began walking. Stone had no idea where he was going and only hoped he could find a warm place out of the wind, which began to pick up almost as soon as it began getting dark. He heard the sound of a car approaching behind him and put out his thumb, but the driver continued down the road, his wheels throwing up a wave of ice and slush, making Stone even colder. “Fuck.” He rummaged around in his pack, but couldn’t find his gloves. “God damn,” he half cried to the silent trees, his adrenaline-fueled bravado popping like a soap bubble. He’d left his gloves in the old fuck’s truck. He shoved his hands back in his pockets for warmth. “Maybe I should have just sucked him off.” The thought made him shudder as tears threatened. He might have been desperate, but he wasn’t that desperate, not yet. Wiping his eyes, he looked around at the darkening landscape of trees and white. “Maybe I will be soon.” Huddling to keep his skin out of the wind, he continued walking and found himself approaching a corner.

Stone saw a sign that read, “West Shore Community College,” and he began walking down the drive, figuring he could at least huddle in a doorway. The place looked shut tight and no one appeared to be around. As he walked, the trees formed a windbreak, giving him some relief, anyway.

Dark brick buildings came into view nearby, and he headed over to one of them, trying the door, but it was locked. Stone walked all around the building, but it was shut tight. He let out a sigh. He should have known; they were probably still on Christmas break and wouldn’t be back for a while. He thought about breaking a window, but with his luck, the place would be alarmed. Maybe at least jail would be warm.

©Andrew Grey

My thoughts

Sometime life just does not give you a break, even when it feels like you have hit rock bottom you still just get kicked further down – that is just how Stone Hillyard feels after being dumped at the side of the road in the dead of winter.

His only thought after picking himself up is finding shelter and warmth from the bracing wind and the cold that is about to turn him into a popsicle. Just when he decided to do a B&E he spots a light in the distance and a flicker of hope surges through him, because where there is light, there is warmth and hopefully people.

Lucky for him there is all of that and more and thank the heavens above there was because Stone doesn’t have anything left in the tank to go another step further. When he comes across he knows where he is and how he got there – but he is genuinely amazed and a little awed if truth be told that people like Geoff, Eli, Robbie and Adelle exist.

Without even telling his story he is accepted on faith and his ability to pull his own weight on the farm. Knowing this is probably the best break he is going to get – Stone pulls his socks up and aims to give his all to his job on the farm, even if it’s just shovelling crap.

The farm is more than meets the eyes and within no time Stone gets a feel of what these men pour alot of their love and energies into – the rehabilitation of kids and adult through horse therapy. When he is asked to help with a prospective client Stone gets his first taste of unpleasantness while on the farm from trust fund baby Preston Harding.

Preston is aiming to prove the doctors who told him he could never walk again wrong, on a recommendation from his current physiotherapist he is on a trial run at Geoff and Eli’s farm to see if the type of therapy they offer can be beneficial to  him. Preston Harding has never wanted for anything in his life, in a lot of ways before his accident he has never had to stretch himself for anything and his attitude reflects his lord of the manner upbringing and he treats the help accordingly.

Let’s just say his attitude does not wash with Geoff nor Eli and after being told to adjust his attitude and do some grovelling he is allowed back onto the program and this turns out to be the best thing that could have ever happen to him because he meets Stone again – the Stone that he over looked on his first time on the farm, the caring and generous Stone that he disrespected and Preston also meets another side of himself that he never knew existed.

While I would like to say it was moonlight serenade from there – it wasn’t. Stone has baggage and some dark scenes in his past and only with time, love and determination will he be able to resolve them. Preston’s problems are present and they are not afraid to play dirty – and they aim to win.

It takes all the boys and Stones guardian angel Adelle to cut through alot of the misunderstanding and unpleasantness to aide Stone and Preston the find happiness that they so deserve.

LOVE MEAN…FREEDOM is a book I have eagerly been awaiting and the main protags Stone and Preston are sweethearts. Just watching them find their place and their pace was wonderful to see.  

Stone is young and because of or despite of his upbringing he genuinely has a good heart, he makes an effort not to be bitter about life challenges, he counts his blessing and works harder and I loved him for this. While I had issues with Stones involvement in the therapy section of the farm and some of the other area’s that Grey exposed him to on the farm – I chalk most of it up to “they do it differently in them there parts’ and went with it.

Preston on the other hand was easier to “see”, he never knew how to do without in his life and even when I initially met him, he had it all – but Grey really toss some issues at  him and after some soul searching he became someone that I ended up liking alot and rooted for to get his man in the end.

The two together are sweet, they were not a typical couple but placed in extraordinary circumstances with the odds against them from the start; they had to learned some lesson the hard way. However, with support  like they had - I was just along for the ride to see how they would eventually get back together.

I  saw old friends in LOVE MEAN…FREEDOM and Robbie in particular took up a pretty decent amount of page time. I was glad for this as I was concerned about how he would manage the challenges that life on the farm would present – he is doing well and I am pleased.

Bottom Line

From the first book in the LOVE MEAN..series of books I have been a delighted fan of Mr. Grey’s work. With every book that he put out in the series he not only gives it his own spin but he give the characters their own set of angst and made an effort to grow what I already knew and love – In this book I didn’t get that.

While it was an enjoyable book to read, it was too easy, there was an effortlessness to the scenes and the angst never really held true for me. The one really dark moment of the book was told in hindsight and none of the characters were ever genuinely at risk or any jeopardy of losing each other despite the build up.  

As a reader one of my pet peeve is character professionalism (job attitude) and logistical details, if those work in a book  half the battle is done for me -  I had major niggles with those two aspects in this book. Attention to detail is one of the more positive points of the series so far but reader will find little glitches here and there that may or may not make a difference to your reading enjoyment of LOVE MEAN…FREEDOM.

On the whole while I still love the series and am really looking forward to Geoff dad’s story - if he ever gets one, LOVE MEAN…FREEDOM is just a cute read for me that didn’t really impact on the series at all.

……For ultimate enjoyment of this book – please read as apart of the LOVE MEANS… series of books.

10 Speak To Me:

Smokinhotbooks on 19 July 2010 at 21:20 said...

I find that I really love Andrew Grey's books but sometimes I long for a little more angst :)

Chris on 19 July 2010 at 21:34 said...

Still haven't started this series...

Mandi on 19 July 2010 at 22:11 said...

Haven't read this series yet....

Lily on 20 July 2010 at 05:30 said...

So far I've only read one book from this series. I've got a couple more on my TBR waiting to be read.

Erotic Horizon on 20 July 2010 at 10:54 said...

@K.C.

I know exactly what you mean - I do like Grey's voice and style alot as well, but this one really needed some sexual tension..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 20 July 2010 at 10:55 said...

@Chris..

You are missing out hon, this is the first one that doesn't have that spark of magic for me..

Overall a really good series...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 20 July 2010 at 10:55 said...

@Mandi..

Adding to your list hon... you'll get to it soon..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 20 July 2010 at 10:56 said...

@Lily

You will get to it hon.. too many books too little time..

E.H>

Eyre on 20 July 2010 at 23:32 said...

Oh, I didn't realize this one was out. I'm off to buy it right now. :)

Erotic Horizon on 21 July 2010 at 19:54 said...

@Eyre

Get it hon, I had some niggles but I wouldn't have dream of not reading it...

I love this series..

E.H>