REVIEW: 'Always Him' by Ann Grech


Title: Always Him

Author: Ann Grech

Published: December 4, 2017

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre: Contemporary Romance; Erotic Romance; New Adult

Length: 124 Pages

Tags: Gay; M/M; Angst: Light; Holiday: Christmas; College; Coming Out; Taboo; Novella; HFN

About Always Him

Forgetting them was near impossible, but choosing one was harder. Declan had kept his secret for so long; its revelation could destroy his family. Being gay wasn’t it. The truth was far worse—he’d fallen for his stepbrother, Ollie. Returning home for the holidays wasn’t something he did very often, but his mom insisted on it that year. His trip home didn’t turn out as he expected; Declan’s world was flipped on its head by a sexy stranger. Now he was torn, unable to get Batman out of his head and Ollie out of his heart. Note: this story was originally published in the Tempting Scrooge anthology, but has been substantially revised, reedited and additional content added.

4 HEART READ

REVIEW: Given her successful Unexpected series I was hopeful Ann Grech would deliver the same sexy charm in her new “taboo” holiday romance, Always Him, and I was not disappointed.

She brings on the feels with just the right amount of warring emotional angst tempered by lust and passion that can’t be denied.

On the heels of arriving in his childhood hometown for the holidays Declan decides to attend a Christmas masquerade themed party at an elite underground gay sex club. While at the superhero themed event he encounters a hookup that rocks his world in a hot ass opening scene and sends his emotions in a tailspin. But before the two masked men can make any future plans they are separated in a night of panic.

One of the things that struck me right up front in this novella is the author’s subtle projections as to the fears we may possess at where our world is headed and the difference one should try to strive to make in life. With hints to the current man in power in America waging war on the LGBTQ community, to likenesses to the Vegas shooting and Pulse (and the fear that has further permeated a community), even Arabic prayers and bomb vests, to giving back to our Veteran’s and changing the world via business practices, Grech does not shy away from what we should all be talking about. Don’t get me wrong, this talk does not overtake the story and doesn’t feel as if someone is on a pulpit, but it is done in a way that made an impact on this reader, and I for one appreciate Ann not shying away from her feelings.

Told in first person (which I might add Grech does very well) twenty-five-year old Declan finds himself pining for what might have been with the “masked man” while feeling he has betrayed the lust he carries for his step-brother, Ollie.

Coupled with the guilt he harbors from long ago deserting Ollie and hiding his sexuality from his family, his forbidden desire, he’s struggling to find his way.

The holiday season is the caveat that brings these two estranged brothers together to dance around their feelings. But if you’re expecting a lot of Christmas hijinks from this novella you won’t find that here, the yuletide celebration is a mere backdrop for emotions to play out and discoveries to be made. One of which had me wanting Dec’s mom to me my mom!

Declan’s point of view throughout most of the story, building things up, his secret longing and fear, breathes life into the low ridden angst that ratchets this taboo tale up.

And as things begin to climax and revelations may occur we get some of Ollie’s voice, at just the right times. Let me just say, Ollie’s hurt, his despair…OMG, it took my breath away!

Each man warring in his own private way, neither able to express themselves, a freak, harrowing accident gives them the time they need but still, they can’t seem to muster the courage to admit how they truly feel.

Declan is a bit repetitious with his thoughts but this works for him, it is him, because after all he is totally confused. And I found myself getting frustrated at the indecisiveness of these two men, yet in the next breath their feelings make perfect sense.

Grech’s well timed use of this apprehension and frustration is the snake charmer that piqued my interest and made me want to read more to know where their journey took them. Like a rubbernecker at an accident I was unable to divert my attention.

Then when it gets to the hot and steamy that Ann knows how to bring so well, and the lovely little twist at the end, I was hooked!

Ann Grech’s Always Him is a beautiful read for anyone who has ever found themselves battling their heart and mind. Fearful of going after the one thing, that one person, they have always wanted and thought they could never have. Not just a holiday read this page turner will touch your soul any time of year.

A copy of Always Him was provided to Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, by Ann Grech, at no cost and with no expectations in return. We offer our fair and honest opinion on behalf of our readers.

Be sure not to miss out on our other holiday read recommendations!

Interested in more step-brotherly love? Check out Liberty Laces' Stepbrothers in Chains.

Kobo; iBooks; Barnes & Noble; Amazon US; Amazon UK

Meet the Author

By day Ann Grech lives in the corporate world and can be found sitting behind a desk typing away at reports and papers or lecturing to a room full of students. With her quirky glasses and shiny leather briefcase, she has the librarian look nailed. All laced up tight in her pencil skirts and killer heels, her students can only fantasize about what she gets up to in her spare time. If only they could see those tattoos! Oh, and the notepads of story ideas tucked away in odd places that would be sure to have them fanning themselves.

By night she’s a wife and mum and a purveyor of saucy stories that are filled with lust, raunchy scenes and ultimately love. Ann’s an avid reader of anything sexy and firmly believes in the motto ‘leave mummy alone, she’s reading or writing.’ Because of that, she is pretty hopeless when it comes to getting dinner on the table on time or cleaning the house.

She also publishes her raunchier short stories under her pen name, Olive Hiscock.

Facebook; Facebook Group; Goodreads; Twitter; Instagram; Amazon

For more from Ann be sure and visit her website!

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