Author: Roan Parrish
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
Review: In the Middle of Somewhere was an excellent debut book by Roan Parrish. I’m not usually one for super romantic warm and fuzzy novels, especially of this length, but this one was so damn good. The couple were just amazing together. They’re from very different dysfunctional upbringings and find something they’ve been missing in each other. The way they meet warmed my animal loving heart instantly. I was hooked from the first few pages. I’m a sucker for hunky men and dogs.
All Daniel’s hard work finally pays off when he’s hired as a professor at a small college in Holiday, Michigan. He’s moving from Philadelphia so there’s some amusing adjustment at moving from the city to this quaint little town. He’s also without his best friend, Ginger. The only person who has been there for him since his mom died when he was young. This is just another stepping stone on his path to be a professor at a larger more prestigious college and he needs the steady paycheck. Daniel can’t help wonder about the hunky lumberjack who kissed him that one night in Holiday. Surely they’ll run into each other again in such a small town. When it happens it’s a scorching hot. From that moment these two can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.
There is an undeniable chemistry between these characters. They’re so into each other. I think if it was just falling in love and lust this book wouldn’t have been as good. There’s a lot of growth and realization by the characters. Both men are very vulnerable emotionally. Things in their pasts have made them reluctant to just let go and fall for each other. Daniel’s family are a bunch of homophobic drunks who have always excluded him for being different from them. It’s not just that Daniel is gay but it’s also the fact they’re blue collar and Daniel’s chosen path is Academia. Not working in their car shop. They see him as pretentious and he sees them as the crude assholes that they are. Rex grew up with a single mother who moved him around frequently. She loved him but he never really knew stability in the sense he could make friends and settle into a place. Which left him emotionally and socially stunted. There’s more to his sad story but that’s spoiling getting to know Rex as the reader.
While I liked Daniel and found his POV to be slightly frustrating but captivating, I think Rex was the one I fell for. He’s so big and intense. Voracious and focused on Daniel. He loves to cook and care for his man. I could eat him up! Rex and Daniel are both vulnerable. Daniel’s time in Holiday is limited giving his aspirations so neither man gives the other their all. Knowing things could end at any time keep then from fully giving into what they’re feeling for each other. This part of the story was brilliantly done IMO because the guys have no problem enjoying each other physically. They do. A lot! There’s just always that thing lurking between them. Neither is totally forthcoming with their histories or feelings either.
Yep. This was a great read. Sexy as hell. Witty dialogue. Good humor. Great romance. Probably one of the sweeter ones I’ve read and enjoyed. Not at all cheesy. I was very impressed with the way it was written. I LOVED the characters. Ginger was an excellent bestie and I loved the way she handled/helped Daniel. He obviously needs it! I’m intrigued by the set up of other could be couples in this book. Hopefully those stories come next because I want more! Looking forward to reading whatever this author writes next.