Picked Fresh, the sequel to Farm Fresh in the Naked Organics series by Posy Roberts, takes up the story from where it left off—Jude is closing in on his degree and exploring a monogamous relationship with Hudson who is facing a trip home to Kentucky in order to meet with his estranged mother to bury his grandmother—a clause in her will that must be completed if either want to inherit her fortune. Be forewarned that while this story may focus on Jude and Hudson and their growing affections, this is still based on the free love commune that its predecessor introduced us to in the first installment. Therefore, we are not assured that Jude and Hudson will remain a “couple.” In fact, Hudson feels strongly that Jude needs to test his wings, so to speak, and needs the ability to love anyone he chooses rather than be tied to just one lover.
The trip they take together will be rich in experiences that will both draw them together and allow them to finally bury some of the past that haunts them so completely. Added to this journey is the threat that comes in the form of a potential sale of the adjoining farm that borders their commune that may prove to be a near death knell for the commune itself. No doubt about it this novel is action packed and had a sense of urgency about it that left me near breathless at times.
This story really explores the past that holds both Hudson and Jude in its grip—and fills them both with self-doubt and a sense of shame and low self-worth. Both men were abused by their parents and, as this story expands, we realize the depth to which both Jude and Hudson remained scarred by the treatment they received at the hands of those who should have loved them unconditionally. However, as they journey—first to Jude’s home and then to Hudson’s, some old hurts are laid to rest while others are simply (and sadly) left unaddressed due to no change of heart on their family’s part. But it is the exploration of the sexual and mental needs that these men can give to each other that really surfaces as the main thrust in this novel.
Once again I was amazed by the sensitivity that author Posy Roberts used when writing about intimate sexual details that were often flavored with hints of BDSM or kink. For instance, I am not sure I have ever read a fisting scene that drew so fully on the idea of release and trust. For Jude to do such an intimate thing to Hudson after his own struggles with being sexually intimate with another man due to his father’s abuse was staggering to read. Hudson was in such pain, such need, and this was the way in which he could find his release and it was an incredibly well done scene in the book. Also, you could actually track the growth of their love for each other as the trip progressed. Watching these two fall more deeply in love was a very emotional experience at times and the author laid it all out for the reader to experience without it becoming too sweet or unrealistic. No, these guys fought for each foot of relational ground won—and they fought hard for each other. As barriers fell and walls were breached, their need for each other became more apparent and their love grew stronger.
Picked Fresh by Posy Roberts was a highly successful next chapter in this refreshing take on love in all its forms. The phrase “love is love” aptly applies to the inhabitants of this world the author has created on this small commune.