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REVIEW: “Muscling Through” by J.L. Merrow



The bigger they come, the harder they fall… in love.

Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.

Title: Muscling Through
Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain
Pages: 87
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Purchase Links: Samhain, Amazon


“Operation Kindle Klean Up”. Yep, this is my latest assignment. I am ashamed to admit that I have been hoarding books. When the number of unread books reached an alarming level, I decided to take action. I must read two books (or okay at least one) that I currently own before I will allow myself to add any more to my ever-growing collection. I have been holding this gem for far too long and what a pleasant surprise it was.

This tale is told by Al and I’m certain this was reason for the raging success of this book. Al is fierce and tender. He may be bent, but he’s the most straightforward person I’ve ever met. He has a hulking presence but in reality, there’s little to fear. When Larry stumbles across Al’s path one drunken evening he finds himself at his mercy. I must admit, I was at Al’s mercy too.

First glance might give the impression that Al is cruel and savage, but those impressions would be dead wrong. He claims that he is not clever, but book-smart is not the only type of cleverness. He cares for Larry with smooth, sure, sweet-tempered hands, and Larry finds himself putty in them.

Larry is refined to Al’s rough edges and together they are flawless fit.

Rumor has it you can see into a person’s soul through their eyes. Larry is not intimated by the scarred terrain surrounding the windows to Al’s heart. If anything, he is drawn harder and faster. Their relationship is inconceivable to the world, but they are secure in their love. Or at least Larry is and he is determined to prove to Al that he is more than a good lay.

I adored the artistic surprise Al was hiding. Larry beams with pleasure and pride as he shows off his man. However, he didn’t expect the accessories fame accompanies and a blunder almost destroys them. Bless his sister and I couldn’t help but love Al’s mam. The British dialect was challenging for me. Typically I love British flare but it was cumbersome at times and slowed my reading a bit. I very much felt the out-of-towner complex. Brushing that aside, I was smitten with Al and fell in love with this extraordinary couple.

If you fall into the slim category of ‘haven’t-read-this-yet‘ like I was, grab it quick and enjoy… it’s a banging good time.





6 comments on “REVIEW: “Muscling Through” by J.L. Merrow

  1. fritz42war
    September 24, 2015

    I loved this book! Al is such a wonderful character, and Larry’s love, support and belief in him made my heart so very happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheri
      September 24, 2015

      Oooo, you are so right. The way Larry loved Al was…swoon-worthy. Al is such an honest, lovable bear…I wanna snuggle with him too!
      A great “feel good” reread book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fritz42war
        September 25, 2015

        Exactly, which is why I find myself re-reading that book. I can never get enough of those two!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sheri
          September 25, 2015

          Have you read any others by JL? I’m curious if you would recommend any books that you enjoyed from Merrow in addition to this one. I might check out the most recent release, but I wondered if you had any other ‘must’ reads’…..


          • fritz42war
            September 26, 2015

            I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed The Plumber’s Mate series by JL. Tom is an interesting protagonist with a paranormal ability to “find things.” He gets caught up in various investigations – all between his ongoing plumbing jobs – because of Phil, who is a PI. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Phil because he had bullied Tom in the past. Fortunately, adults can make atonements for the mistakes of youth, and it adds an interesting dynamic between them, in my opinion.

            Having said all that, Al and Larry still are my favorites from this author. It’s going to be hard to “bump them off.”

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheri
    September 27, 2015

    Ha! I guess I’ve reached the limit to ‘reply’ to your comment.
    But I wanted to THANK YOU! I’m definitely interested in Tom and Phil now and appreciate your insight. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Sheri and tagged , , , .

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