Harrison Fletcher has left his job as a big city lawyer to come to Burlington, Vermont, and open a LGBTQ-friendly bookstore and wine bar, Vino & Veritas. He is still getting his bearings, preparing the store for their upcoming grand opening, when they get an unexpected (and incorrect) delivery of a box of chickens. A little investigating reveals that the chickens are actually destined for a nearby farm. When Finn Barnes shows up to pick up the chickens, he is every bit the hot, hunky farmer of Harrison’s dreams.
The guys hit it off right away, developing a friendship and getting to know one another. An attraction is definitely there between them — and the men don’t hesitate to act on it. But neither man thinks the relationship can turn into more. Harrison can’t let him think of a future, not now that he is has turned 42, the age at which both his father and grandfather died. He feels like he is living on borrowed time, and it would be unfair to enter a relationship knowing that things will inevitably end sooner than later. For Finn, he has been burned in the past by city men who come for a taste of what Vermont has to offer, and just as quickly head right back out of town. So he isn’t willing to risk his heart for someone who is likely just passing through.
Harrison and Finn are falling for one another, and things are great between them. But both men are afraid to get too close or too serious, worried that the relationship has a time limit and they don’t want to get hurt. Now they must figure out how to face their fears, trust in one another, and believe in a future that they can have together.
Featherbed is the first book in the Vino and Veritas collection, a set of multi-author LGBTQ stories set in the larger World of True North universe. The books are designed to be standalone stories that can be read in any order and all feature the Vino & Veritas bookstore and wine bar. This being the start of the series, we kick things off with Harrison and the opening of the shop. There is a nice sense of place here, giving us a good feel for the town, the store/bar, and some of the locals. The books are all designed to stand alone, but I feel like Albert does a good job laying the foundation for the collection here.
This story is all sweet yumminess with a lot of hot farmer porn and a nice dose of quaint. Everything is about as charming as it could be, and while it could have felt too over the top, Albert manages to create a really lovely atmosphere that just drew me in. Expect lots of adorable farm animals, delicious food, lovely crafts, and an abundance of local charm. By the end of this story, I felt like I wanted to pack right up and head there myself. All of it creates a nice foundation for Harrison and Finn, who are sweet and engaging characters. I enjoyed watching them fall for each other and they are a good fit. Finn is full of life and enjoys every moment. While farming isn’t easy, it is clear he is meant for it. Harrison is more controlled and a little uptight, and Finn is a good complement for him. He encourages Harrison to stop worrying about what might be, and instead enjoy what he has. Both of these guys have issues — Finn’s fear of Harrison leaving and Harrison’s fear of an early death — and this stops them both from feeling like they could have something long term. I wish we had a bit more development on both of these backstories. While we get the basics, it wasn’t quite developed enough for me given that they are really the only conflicts in the story. But I still think Albert does a nice job tying things up and showing how the men help each other work through their insecurities.
I found this story just a lot of sweet, sexy fun. It is really charming, and a nice set up to the larger Vino & Veritas world. I already have several of the upcoming books on my calendar, and as a blog we will be reviewing most of them, so I am really excited to see where things go in this new shared world.