Sandy moved from a small town to Memphis where he’s a manager at a big box electronics store. He likes it there, and it feels like home. When Sandy was in high school, he was bullied for being gay, but the jock he tutored (and had a crush on) tried to keep him safe from the other guys.
Nick was that jock. He’s gay as well, but very closeted. He had a crush on Sandy, but never did anything about it. One day, when the other guys on the football team were throwing Sandy into lockers and hurting him, he came to Sandy’s defense once again. When one of the other guys asked why he was “defending the fag,” he admitted he was gay as well. Fast forward five years and Nick is working on a farm and is very happy with his life…except he is lonely. Being gay in a small town in the south is not very easy.
When Sandy tried to thank him, Nick was very rude to him and yelled. Sandy was heartbroken, and he and Nick never crossed paths again. Now, Sandy has found himself being dragged to the grand opening of a Bass Pro Shop in Memphis by his roommate.
I’m sure you can guess who else is on their way to Bass Pro. Through nearly unbelievable circumstances, Nick and Sandy find themselves face to face. Nick wants to take Sandy to lunch, but that involves a trip up to the very top floor, and the only way to get there is via an all glass elevator…that gets stuck. Sandy has a complete freak out/panic attack, and Nick figures the only way to calm Sandy down is to kiss him.
The story pretty much takes off from there. A Country Boy at Heart is formulaic in one of the best ways. I love books where opposites attract. I especially love them if the men have a history between them. It’s one of my favorite tropes. What I enjoyed about this one is how dedicated Nick was to winning Sandy’s love. He wooed him, and it was adorable.
There is some really great comedy in A Country Boy at Heart. From the opening scene with the peacock, to camping out, to interactions with Nick’s puppy, Rosco, the story was light with zero angst…jut perfect for me.
I have a few complaints, but they’re minor. The first is it felt like everything happened really fast. I know it’s a short book, so M.A. Church had to make everything fit, but it made me feel like parts were missing. I would have loved to have had this one be longer so things could be more fleshed out. The second is the ending. I suppose it could be tied to everything moving so quickly. I felt like the epilogue came too fast, and it was almost like it was written as an afterthought. I wouldn’t consider A Country Boy at Heart an HEA. I’d call it an HFN, with a lean toward HEA. I didn’t care for the fact Nick smoked. That’s purely personal on my part. I’m a former smoker, and I hate how I used to smell. Once Sandy told Nick that he didn’t like smoking…the smell, the idea that kissing a smoker was like licking a dirty ashtray…I would have hoped Nick would quit. Instead he answered that he liked smoking. However, I was a little pacified when, through promise of a certain sexual favor, Sandy was able to wean Nick off the smokes.
Speaking of sexual favors…there weren’t really a ton of sex scenes here, but quality vs. quantity, right? The sex scenes that were included were hot, with a side of sweet, and they were done just right.
All in all, A Country Boy at Heart is a nice way to spend an evening. It’s like a comfort read. It makes you smile and warms your heart. I definitely recommend this one.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.