Rating: 5 stars
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When I first began reading author B.G. Thomas I was struck by the way in which he exposed so much of his characters and developed them so fully making them real—so very real beyond the page. With this author you can count on the men he creates having a vulnerability that runs deep within them but that they rarely show to those around them. The beauty of that is how we, as the readers, are allowed to see the sorrow behind the façade, the depth of emotion beneath the cool exterior that these characters so often present to their coworkers and friends. I am please to tell you that author B.G. Thomas continues this rich style of story telling in his latest novel, Hound Dog & Bean.
“Comin’ out of the dark into the light isn’t easy. Learning to love isn’t easy. Not with all the things weighing on your heart.”
Nothing is easy for Hillary Dameron (Hound Dog) Fisher. Although his outer laid-back hippie appearance might belie that truth, H.D. remains a deeply wounded and aloof man, wary of even something as basic as friendship and ready to run at the mere idea of love or commitment. You see, having grown up for a good portion of his life in the foster system, H.D. knows that the moment you invest your heart, someone will step on it leaving you empty and hurting and alone. From the time he lost his mother to the present day, the only constant source of affection and trust in H.D.’s life has been the unconditional love of a dog. So, it is sensible that this story finds our young man working at a rescue shelter for animals and pouring what little emotion he will allow to escape his huge heart into caring for his four-footed friends.
Just a few doors down from the shelter, the owner of the local coffee house, Dean Alexander, aka Bean, is also slightly adrift, recovering from a love affair that left him shaken. He considers dating as an unnecessary evil that he has chosen to forego, until Hound Dog steps into his shop for a coffee to go. Suddenly the heart that Bean so desperately tried to hide and protect reminds him it is alive and kicking and…wanting. A brief confrontation between H.D. and another customer finds Bean rushing to defend H.D. and falling (literally) head over heels for the beautiful man. But H.D. has always maintained he is a love em’ and leave em’ kind of guy, never spending the night, never letting anyone close enough to see how needy he truly is and much too soon Bean causes H.D. to break all those rules. Now H.D. must both stay and finally allow Bean to love him and do so in return or run and continue hiding, safe from heartache but alone and miserable.
I mentioned above how intricately author B.G. Thomas sketches his characters and builds their lives, often giving carefully constructed details that allow us a glimpse into inner thought processes. I would be greatly remiss if I did not also highlight how this author then weaves a compelling story around these intriguing creations of his. I particularly enjoy how the author uses his intimate sex scenes to really compliment his plot—and not the other way around. So often, I see novels that aren’t much more than a series of sex scenes with a bare bones story line stapled to them. Thomas creates his world, inhabits it with emotionally rich people, and tells us their story. The act of sex that springs from this beautifully detailed plot enhances what is already a delightfully entertaining book.
Hound Dog and Bean by B.G. Thomas is a beautiful love story of redemption and healing. I highly recommend it to you!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.