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For most of his life, Terry Geirhart worked beside his best friend and lover on their farm nestled in rural southwestern Ontario. With Karlstadt being a small town, their true relationship remained a secret. Seth’s death in a tragic accident leaves Terry beside himself. After two years of mourning, Terry wants to learn to live again. Unfortunately, he has no idea how.
While not ready to date, Terry does need a new hired hand. A close friend suggests her relative from the city who’s looking for a new start. Damien Manicuso, stylish and openly gay, has never stepped out of the city, but after flunking out of university and being kicked out by his family, Terry’s job couldn’t be more welcome. The two have nothing in common except a mutual attraction, but working a farm brings people close. Both afraid to admit their feelings, they must find the courage or lose everything all over again.
I love reading short stories and novellas – in addition to them being quick reads, when it’s done right, they can be as satisfying as full-length novels. However, sometimes, an idea of a story is better told with a significant amount of word, that the limitation of a short / novella can’t cover. This is one example.
I really liked the melancholic tone here. Terry had been in a relationship with his best friend, Seth, for so long. But being part of a small-town in rural Ontario, their affair was done in secrecy. When Seth died, Terry could only mourn by himself, since he couldn’t actually tell anyone that Seth had been more than just a friend and a farm hand for him. As the story opened, I could still feel Terry’s sadness.
Then Damien arrived – a younger and openly gay man from the city – and he stirred Terry’s need to start living his life again. Now, this is where the story fell short for me. I really thought that with opposites attracting, a longer look into their initial friendship would make a better impact for me as a reader. Damien is a city kid, while he is very good with his hands (Not that kind of hand-job! Get your mind out of the gutter!), he is also not very familiar with farm life. Damien said that Terry had been quite supportive of him, helping him around the farm until Damien got the hang of it. But the length of this story made that part a bit glossed over and I couldn’t help feeling that I missed a LOT of those moments.
Then there was the abbreviated sex scene… yes, I am actually complaining about fade-to-black sex scenes! But again, I thought Preis had written a good teaser of the tension coming from Terry and Damien and how Damien longing for something more serious with Terry. So their sex scene was the reward I was looking forward to and I thought it could be something emotional … as Damien would be the first man Terry slept with after losing Seth.
That didn’t happen on page *sigh*
In the end, this is a case of me wanting more. It’s a decent story but not enough for me to feel completely satisfied about it.