Four years ago, Daniel Pierce lost his lover to an angry mob spurred on by the sign of affection between the two men. The pain was too much for Daniel and he fled London, buying a small sheep farm in a remote part of the country and adopting the name Jacob Bennet. For the past four years, Bennet has lived alone with almost no human interaction. Until one day a stranger shows up to shake up his world.
Gregory Tobin is a solicitor who has been hired to find the heir to the Pierce fortune and corporation. For the past year he has been searching the world trying to find the man who mysteriously disappeared. Tobin follows a new lead to the little town near Bennet’s farm, but doesn’t quite know what to make of the bearded, scraggly man. Tobin is determined to get his job done, so he manages to wrangle a couple of nights staying with Bennet while he tries to figure out if this is the man he is looking for.
While Bennet is quite gruff and standoffish at the start, Tobin’s up beat personality and hard work helping out on the farm eventually wear him down. The two become friendly, and then attraction grows between them. It becomes clear to Tobin that Bennet is in fact Daniel Pierce, and Bennet is well aware Tobin has been sent to find him. The men prolong it as long as possible, but eventually they must face the reality of their situation. Tobin has a job to do and then must return to his life in London. And Bennet can not hide away forever, and must face the responsibilities to his family company by settling the legal matters himself. Now that they two men have fallen for each other, they must figure out if there is any way that they can have a future together amidst the complication of their lives.
The Shepherd and the Solicitor is a really engaging story that had me from the very start. I loved the set up with the open, full of life Tobin on the hunt for this mysterious heir, matched up with this hurting, reserved man in Bennet. We can really feel Bennet’s pain as he continues to be haunted by the murder of his lover and the fact that he could not share with anyone the real reason the death was so devastating. Instead, Bennet just ran as far as he could go, reinventing himself in a tiny village away from the world. At first, he puts up major walls with Tobin, especially as he learns what Tobin is really after. But Tobin is so sweet and full of energy and determination, he wins Bennet over with his personality and hard work. I loved to see Tobin interact with the animals; he has such a way with gentling and calming them. Being with Tobin helps Bennet heal and open up his heart again when he never thought he could.
I appreciated that the story doesn’t drag out the secret of Tobin’s mission on the farm. Rather than holding out for a big reveal at the end, both men understand exactly what is going on almost from the start. Neither is quite ready to talk about it for a while, to face the reality of what they both must do. But they both know what is going on, which I really liked. It allows us to focus on the growth of the relationship between the two men, rather than on when this big secret is going to come out.
This story is a historical, but I will say that in many ways it could read present day as well. Bennet’s farm is so remote that once the guys are there, the era could be almost anything. What works so well is the isolation they face and the way that leads to this incredible bond between them very fast. I loved these guys together and I really liked seeing Bennet open up, face his past, and move forward.
So I really enjoyed this story and continue to love the work of these authors together. I found the story engaging and loved Bennet and Tobin. The ending is rewarding and fits well with the time period. I definitely liked this one and would certainly recommend it.