Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Garret Nicholson is a twenty-year-old apprentice falconer who works for his slightly demanding father. Together, they bring birds of prey to renaissance faires across the state of Texas to put on free-flying shows and educate the public on the birds and their rehab. Garret gets the opportunity to run the shows when his father takes a working vacation out of state. Shortly after the faire starts for the season, he meets Trevor, a young man that pushes his buttons and has a real interest in birds. The two young men begin a relationship, and Trevor starts volunteering with the bird rescue Garret’s family runs.
Trevor is keeping a secret from Garret. The reason that he’s at the faire in the first place is because he’s homeless, and currently living in a tent community in the woods behind the faire grounds. He’s fascinated with the birds and with Garret, and quickly comes to love them both. But Trevor’s life hasn’t been easy, and he’s wary about sharing his past with Garret.
As they find their solid footing in their relationship, Trevor has enough trust in Garret to tell the man the truth. Garret is accepting, and supports Trevor in every way he knows how. When tragedy strikes one of Trevor’s friends, Trevor is even more grateful for Garret’s support. And for the first time in a long time, Trevor begins to see a way out of his situation. With Garret’s help and love, Trevor may just be able to get his life back on track.
From the minute I read the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. A story set at a Ren Faire with a falconer as a main character was right up my alley. I’m happy to report that this story didn’t disappoint. Marcus crafted a great little story with wonderful characters and a fantastic setting. This book is a part of Marcus’ A Ren Faire Romance series, but each book is completely stand alone. Some characters from previous books make appearances. But if you haven’t read them, don’t worry. You’ll have no trouble following along.
I was drawn in from the very beginning. Garret is a responsible, level-headed, very caring sort of guy. His father is a bit demanding, and Garret strives to please him, which isn’t always easy to do. But Garret works hard, not just because of his dad, but because he really cares about what he does and the birds he works with. Staying with the birds at the faire grounds during the week and putting on shows and educational talks on the weekends makes Garret happy. He loves the birds, and he loves talking about them. His passion for raptors really shines through, and it gives us a great insight into his character. He’s kind, and witty, and his huge heart translates into other aspects of his life. I adored this man, and I would love to meet him were he real. And it’s no surprise that he’s drawn to Trevor, who has a broken quality about him. Garret is a nurturer, and he wants to take care of Trevor.
And Trevor is in need of some TLC. Kicked out of his home at seventeen when his father found out he was gay, Trevor has lived on the streets for the past two years. He made some good friends, and their little band sticks together, watches each other’s backs, and keeps everyone surviving. Without them, Trevor probably wouldn’t be alive today. With their help, he’s managed to avoid some of the more unsavory things people need to do when they are trying to survive. But Trevor is so much more than a downtrodden, homeless youth. Underneath, he’s got a strong will. While his story is sad, and my heart hurt for him—I just wanted to wrap him up in a big hug—there’s no doubt that once he gets his feet under him again he will have a better life. He’s doing everything he can to get there, and I really loved the way he was portrayed. He’s tired of the life that he’s living, and he wants to make changes in order to get back on track. When he sees an opportunity to make his life better, he takes it. But he’s got a strong sense of morals, and he will not compromise.
Another wonderful thing the author did was give us a strong cast of secondary characters. From Trevor’s friends, to the Ren Faire performers and workers, to Garret’s family and the bird rehab volunteers, Marcus crafts a rich backdrop that enhances the story and really gives it depth. Garret’s dad is a bit harsh at times, but it’s easy to see how much he cares about the birds and about Garret. Clem, one of Trevor’s friends, is the picture of loyalty, as well as a guy who’s really trying to find his way. Even Mel and Jade, performers at the faire, were well rounded and helped us to see the “created family” feel the Ren Faire inspires. Each one added to the story, and I really liked seeing them through the book.
The connection between Garret and Trevor was easy to see, it just leapt off the page. These two guys just fit. When it began, they were both just looking for fun and connection. But their emotions and relationship grew organically into something so much more. That being said, I did have a little bit of a harder time taking that jump to love than the characters did. The caring and affection were easy to see and believe. I didn’t feel it went quite as deeply as Garret and Trevor did. It seemed a little fast to me, and I had a hard time accepting that they were in that forever kind of love stage. For me personally, their young ages played into that a little bit. But by the end, I believed that if they really wanted it, these two guys could have forever.
One other small quibble I had was with the pacing. The book itself was paced well, and the story moved along smoothly. But every time there was a mention about how much time had passed since a previous event in the story, it seemed like longer than it really was. So whenever there was a line about something happening yesterday or the previous weekend for example, it did pull me out of the story a little because all I could think was “it’s only been that long?” It didn’t happen often, but it was enough to notice and I felt it was worth a mention.
Guys, if you’re a fan of A.J. Marcus, this is going to be one you’re going to want to pick up. And if you’re not yet, then you should start here. And then run out and buy more of this author’s work. I know I will.