Rating: 4.75 stars
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Stewart “Stunt” Folger lives in the Appalachian Mountains where he grew up, a place where people have developed their own code of conduct and don’t mind having an irrational prejudice against him because he’s a “federal employee.” In reality, Stunt is a forestry technician and mostly minds his own business, until Alex Soto becomes a very unwelcome part of his life.
Alex is in the mountains to find the drug dealer who had his brother killed. Alex was away in prison when his brother, who had been dealing drugs himself, was murdered. Now Alex is out for revenge, and before he gets far, Stunt gets in his way. Alex panics and takes the man hostage, though he’s a less than desirable captive. Stunt won’t shut up, and before he knows it, Stunt has overtaken Alex’s plan and come up with a better one involving Elijah Pierpont, a man with his own moral code who doesn’t mind taking the law into his own hands.
While enlisting Elijah’s help does increase the chances that Alex won’t die immediately, the pesky side effect is Pierpont’s desire to get rid of all evidence, which includes killing Stunt after it’s all over. Through a series of convoluted justifications, the only way to protect Stunt from certain death is a shotgun wedding to Alex. It just so happens that Alex and Stunt seem to be not only building a friendship, but discovering a deep sexual compatibility, so the idea doesn’t sound all that crazy to the two of them.
Stunt supports Alex in his quest for justice, but maybe not so much the murder thing, so the two follow a hare-brained scheme to try to get the drug dealer put behind bars for good. In the meantime, Alex has time to not only fall in love with the hills that are rewriting his life, but to get to know his new husband.
I’m officially a Lyn Gala fan. She tends to have a BDSM slant to her books, and this one is no exception, but she does it in an original way and wraps it up in a story that’s entertaining and difficult to put down. In this novel, Alex and Stunt have both been quite heavily involved in the BDSM lifestyle in the past, and it’s interesting to see how they quickly they fall back into their roles, but also adapt them for a more natural environment. There’s a very hot scene in the barn using only a piece of rope and Alex’s imagination that had me squirming in a very good way.
Gala also has a seemingly effortless writing style that is so easy to read. Alex and Stunt have an immediate connection to each other, and the conversation that they have with each other is funny and compelling. Stunt in particular is a hilarious brat, and Alex appreciates his humor and attitude while at the same time taming it in the bedroom. It’s my favorite kind of BDSM relationship — one where the two have a brat/Dom dynamic when it comes to sex, but have an easy and equal partnership built upon genuine affection and friendship outside of that.
Know that you’ll need to suspend your disbelief before you start reading this book. It’s a little over the top, the idea that two practical strangers are forced to get married in order to stay alive, but it’s a fun and silly element and makes it all the more interesting as the two get to know each other as husbands. Sometimes it’s a little hard to follow this crazy caper these two have gotten themselves involved in, but it’s clear that Gala isn’t taking it too seriously and neither should you as a reader. Just climb aboard the crazy train and enjoy the tale of Stunt and Alex and the Appalachian mountains.