Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Beck Davis has moved to the small town of Ames Bridge to the house his grandmother left him after her death. After quitting his teaching job amidst homophobic treatment, Beck figures he will stay in town for a few months and clean the house out while he figures out his next steps. Almost as soon as he arrives, his neighbor Cal McMurtry shows up wanting to buy the farm land to use for his horses. Beck isn’t interested in having anything to do with Cal. As a kid visiting Ames Bridge, Beck faced Cal and his friends’ bullying behavior. But he can’t help but still find the man incredibly sexy.
Beck’s instinct is to keep Cal at a distance, but it turns out the man has really changed. Not only has he made changes to his farm, bringing in school groups and changing to more organic farming techniques, but Beck is shocked to learn that Cal has come out. The young man who tormented Beck has turned into a kind and caring adult, and Beck finds himself drawn to Cal despite himself. For his part, Cal shares the sizzling attraction. But even though he is out to the town, he knows nothing can happen with Beck. Most people grudgingly accept him being gay, but he still faces prejudices, especially when he is leading tours for groups of kids. Cal knows there is no way folks will tolerate seeing him actively dating.
As the men spend more time together, the attraction between them blooms fiercely, and they finally act on their feelings. Beck is willing to keep things secret for a while, but there is no way he can handle a long-term relationship with Cal if they can’t ever appear in public together. As much as the men would like to make it work, Cal can’t imagine a scenario where he can have both Beck and his farm, and Beck knows he might be better off leaving rather than be miserable here with Cal hiding. Now the men have to decide if there is any chance they can make things work between them, or if their romance is facing an untimely end.
Down on the Farm is the first book in Silvia Violet’s Ames Bridge series and I really enjoyed this sweet and sexy enemies to lovers story. Violet does a nice job developing the characters of Beck and Cal. We get a really good sense of both men individually, as well as why they work together. I especially liked seeing Cal and his farm and the way he has changed it and made it grow. It is very charming and a nice centerpiece to the book. The chemistry between the guys is intense right from the start, and the story has plenty of heat as these guys get together.
Violet builds the conflict well here, and it is kind of an interesting approach to the coming out story in that everyone in town already knows Cal is gay. So he is hiding his relationship not because he fears being outed, but because he worries that while gay but celibate may be tolerable to folks, gay and dating is a whole other story. It really puts these guys in conflict as for as much as they are attracted to one another and both would like more, keeping it a secret is just killing things between them. At times I got a bit frustrated with Cal, but I loved the way the ending plays out. The story has lots of drama (in a good way) and is super romantic, and I think Violet does a great job pulling it all together.
I listened to this one in audio by one of my favorite narrators Greg Boudreaux (aka Greg Tremblay‘s more erotic pen name). Boudreaux does a great job with both Cal and Beck, giving them distinct voices that fit their characters. Cal in particularly has a nice, sexy drawl and the guys are easy to listen to. There are a host of side characters and Boudreaux handles them well, including the various female characters. There are some elderly women who make several appearances (meddling but well meaning friends of Beck’s grandmother) and they too work well, something that is not always easy for a male narrator. The tone and pacing of the story are great, and Boudreaux handles the more sexy scenes with just the right amount of passion and intensity. I enjoyed listening to this very much and can easily recommend it in audio format.
This is the first in the series and the second book has just come out. The MC is a character we met in Down on the Farm, so I am really eager to get his story and I was quite intrigued in this book. So this is an enjoyable, enemies to lovers light kind of story that I can definitely recommend, especially if you are a fan of small town romance.