Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
It is a cold winter night and Danny Costessey is poaching rabbits in the woods of Philip Luccombe’s manor house. Since his father’s death, Danny has been the man of the house, helping his mother care for his four younger siblings. When climbing a tree in search of mistletoe for his mother, Danny falls from the icy branches, knocking his head and hurting his ribs and leg. When he awakens, Danny finds he has been taken to into Philip’s home to recuperate from his injuries.
Philip has been living a fairly reclusive life since the end of World War I. His servants care for him, but Philip has had no one else in his life since the death of his lover years before. With Danny temporarily under his roof, Philip finally begins to interact with someone else, enjoying Danny’s company and the chance to spend time with him. Danny is much more lively and vigorous than Philip, bringing a renewed energy and happiness into Philip’s life. The men are starting to develop feelings for one another, but Philip must be willing to open his heart back up again and give them a chance.
Poacher’s Fall is a revised and slightly expanded version of a story Merrow previously published as Pleasures of a Rough Strife. The story now is a lead in to the new sequel, Keeper’s Pledge, which I will be reviewing later this week. So this story starts us on the journey for Danny and Philip. We see them getting to know each other, building a friendship, and beginning some tentative exploration of their attraction to one another. This is a sweet story that is very light on the sex, but full of a nice romantic feel, especially with the winter holiday setting. It brings us to an ending where we can feel like a further relationship will develop between the two men, but we’re not at love or a major commitment quite yet.
I think Merrow does a nice job here of introducing us to Danny and Philip and providing enough context to understand the men and their backgrounds, the relationship between them as manor owner and tenant, and their intertwined history. We see Danny’s struggles with worrying about his family and the weight of responsibility he feels to help take care of them. And we learn about Philip’s history with his past lover, the emotional toll he feels at the loss, and the cautious optimism that he gets from spending time with Danny. This is a relatively short story and I think I may have felt it a bit incomplete if I didn’t know more was coming. But I am definitely looking forward to the sequel and following along with Danny and Philip as they further develop their relationship.
Cover: Oh my gosh, I am so in love with this cover. Not only does Danny look exactly like he is described, but wow is he yummy! I just want to run my hands through all that gorgeous hair.
P.S. Merrow will be here tomorrow to talk to us more about these two books and the impetus to write the sequel.