Josephine MylesBarging InSamhain Publishing, September 20, 2011
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When the boat's a rockin', don't come knockin'!
Out-and-proud travel writer Dan Taylor can't steer a boat to save his life, but that doesn't stop him from accepting an assignment to write up a narrowboat holiday. Instead of a change of pace from city life, though, the canal seems dull as ditchwater. Until he crashes into the boat of a half-naked, tattooed, pierced man whose rugged, penniless appearance is at odds with a posh accent.
Still smarting from past betrayal, Robin Hamilton’s “closet” is his narrowboat, his refuge from outrageous, provocative men like Dan. Yet he can’t seem to stop himself from rescuing the hopelessly out-of-place city boy from one scrape after another. Until he finds himself giving in to reluctant attraction, even considering a brief, harmless fling.
After all, in less than a week, Dan’s going back to his London diet of casual hook-ups and friends with benefits.
Determined not to fall in love, both men dive into one week of indulgence…only to find themselves drawn deep into an undertow of escalating intimacy and emotional intensity. Troubled waters neither of them expected…or wanted.
Product Warning: Contains one lovable tart, one posh boy gone feral, rough sex, alfresco sex, vile strawberry-flavoured condoms, intimate body piercings, red thermal long-johns, erotic woodchopping, an errant cat, a few colourful characters you wouldn't touch with a bargepole, and plenty of messing about on the river.
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Opposites attract, Narrowboat community, Journalist/Artist, . Lifestyle clash, Angst
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3
The heroes of Barging In, Robin and Dan, have very different lifestyles and make a classic case of opposites attract. One lives on a narrowboat, the other in London; one lives a secluded life in the closet, the other is an out and proud city-boy; one has sworn off sex, the other is a slut; one is covered in body piercings and tattoos, the other is not.
When they first meet they clash hard in more than one way, namely also quite literally when Dan runs into Robin’s boat with his, because he doesn’t have a clue how to handle the boat. He’s on it because he’s writing an article about a narrowboat holiday. The sight of Robin’s hot, bare and tattooed torso distracts him to the level he loses control over his boat altogether. Robin’s reaction is not as pleasant as his sight though. He’s quite surly and wants to be left alone. Yet the men keep encountering each other in this small community Dan is writing about, and gradually their mutual attraction grows until they give in to their physical needs and end up having hot, debauching sex. In the bedroom they match perfectly, and they steam up the sheets more than once, all in the knowledge that it will only be for one week the most. After all, after that one week Dan will return to his city life and his one-night-stands and Robin can continue being alone and surly on his boat.
Yeah, except we know better of course. No matter how much they resist and try to deny their feelings, they can’t help but fall for each other. As expected their physical connection finds an emotional match as well. However, once their week of hot sex and falling in love is over, their story isn’t. And I truly liked that the author didn’t choose for an easy ‘I love you’ exchange followed by a ‘they lived happily ever after’ kind of ending. No, the HEA is postponed a bit, and the MCs are left to work out their differences and find some solid mutual ground for their future living arrangements instead. There’s room for some more insecurities, a small fall-out and some hard working to earn each other’s trust and to make a relationship succeed in the long run.
It’s all very satisfying, not in the last place thanks to Myles’ talent for creating likable characters that are layered, three-dimensional, flawed and going through some needed insights about themselves. The heroes grew on me and I experienced it as a small loss once I finished the book and realized I wouldn’t be spending time with these complex but lovable men anymore. The background of both MCs is interesting, well written and memorable (and I should know how memorable, since I read Barging In ages ago). I still remember Robin’s pain and tragic past relationship, both men’s families, Dan’s sunny way of making a situation special, and lots of other things.
This is a character driven story par excellence and these type of stories are my favorite as you might know. Aside from the excellent character development, we get a nice and entertaining backdrop with the narrowboat setting and the colorful inhabitants of this community. Myles gives a wonderful peek into this fairly unknown way of living, with interesting, realistic details, while at the same time creating a unique and unforgettable setting for her love story.
When I started reading Barging In I didn't know what to expect because I'd never read anything by this author before. To be honest, I made an attempt to start to read it a few times only to get distracted by something else in real life again and I saw the opportunity to read in all quietness go up in smoke time after time. I suspected that I needed to have a good stretch of time available to read it because it could be one of those books that you never want to put down once you've started it. And I was right. I've read Barging In in one breath and I'm glad I've waited for the right opportunity to be able to do so. Moreover, I found myself returning to Dan and Robin's story in my head more than once in the weeks after I finished their story. The story's originality and the memorable characters won't make it easy to forget about them anytime soon either. And I'm certainly going to read everything Josephine Myles has published so far and will write in the future!