Rating: 4.5 stars
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Once a world traveler and adventurer ,Holden Worthington now spends his days in the safety and security of his home. Crippled by agoraphobia and unable to venture beyond his front door, Holden watches the world pass by outside his windows. Nothing and no one can make Holden want to leave the safety and security of his home…until Adam comes along.
Holden’s gardener, Adam Morgan, is a beautiful specimen of a man – a fresh muse to his all but dried up writing career. And most of all, Adam makes Holden wonder what it would be like to join the outside world once more.
When Adam discovers a dead body buried in the compost, Holden is forced to face his fears whether he likes it or not. As the media swoops in and rumors around town name Holden as a murderer (even though he hasn’t stepped outside in over a year), Holden’s fears build up and all but suffocate him.
Denying his attraction to Adam becomes increasingly more difficult as Holden spends more time with the young gardener. The shy, quiet, closed-off exterior makes way for a calming, comforting, and caring man as Holden gets to know Adam. Adam has his own secrets, his own dark past, and fears that he is working through as well. As Holden helps Adam though his fears and insecurities, Adam does the same for Holden – step by step making him more comfortable with the world beyond his front door.
Just as he begins to make progress, the murderer seems to be setting Adam and Holden up to take the fall for the murder of a man neither man knew. Finding it increasingly difficult to trust the people around them, Holden and Adam set out to find out who the killer is and why he/she would hide a body on Holden’s estate.
Men of Smithfield: Adam and Holden is the fourth book in the Men of Smithfield series by L.B. Gregg. It has been revised, re-edited, and re-published by Carina Press. They don’t necessarily have to be read in order, but I do recommend reading them all. They’re all quite entertaining.
Adam and Holden is a story of mystery, overcoming fears, and unexpected love. The characters in this book definitely stand out from the others that make up this series. And the storyline is exciting, fun, and mysterious.
There are so many words that could be used to describe Holden Worthington – damaged, pretentious, snob, eccentric, fearful, jerk, honest to a fault. And, yes, I’m aware none of those words make him sound like a very attractive character, but he also has a big heart. He’s caring, loving, understanding, forgiving, and funny in a dry sort of way. He goes out of his way to help those he cares about even after he’s been wronged. He is the polar opposite and perfect match to Adam’s innocent, quiet, literal personality.
Adam is an interesting character. When I describe Adam as literal, I mean literal. He has no grasp on the rules of engagement, so to speak. He can’t seem to differentiate between someone joking and someone making fun of him. He tells Holden that he needs him explain what he means, tell him what he wants, not to hint at it, because Adam doesn’t clue in to hints. At first, Adam seems a little slow, but as Holden opens up to him, Adam begins to blossom into this fiercely protective, caring, open individual who only has eyes for Holden.
The murder mystery was a huge part of this book. Who killed Holden’s ex-boyfriend’s lover and buried him in Holden’s backyard? Honestly, everyone was suspect. Porter, Holden’s brother; John, Holden’s ex-boyfriend; Kurt, Porter’s best friend; Mitzie, Porter’s soon-to-be ex-wife; even Father David, the nosy, gossiping Catholic priest who has a severe dislike for all things Holden. Throughout the story I volleyed back and forth as to who I thought the killer was. It is all very captivating and exciting – the murder, the investigation, trying to set Holden and/or Adam up as the killer.
The love story is sweet. Boy meets boy, boy stumbles into the middle of a murder investigation, boy falls in love with boy. Okay, they are hardly boys – Holden is forty and Adam is twenty-four – but you get what I mean. They are a classic case of opposites attract, with a delightful twist. The interaction between Adam and Holden is what makes the story charming. The understanding between the two makes their relationship perfectly balanced.
There is a small part of the story, however inconsequential to the plot, which I was left wondering about. Adam has a history on the wrong side of the law. As a kid, Adam was involved in an accident that sent his father to prison for vehicular manslaughter, even though Adam’s own father said Adam was the one driving. Holden never asks Adam whether or not he had been driving that night, and Adam never volunteers the information. Only because I’m insanely curious and have a need to know the answers, I’m a slightly disappointed to not have Adam’s entire story.
I have enjoyed this series, immensely. L.B. Gregg has created interesting and imaginative characters, and then brought them to life with stories of love, mystery, and adventure. Adam and Holden is no different. The characters are among my favorite of this series and the story is intriguing and entertaining. I highly recommend Adam and Holden, as well as the entire Men of Smithfield series. I’m looking forward to reading what comes next.