At 25 Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia's rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a "shearing gun" - an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town - city born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot's attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kick-starts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it's hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn't enough, Elliot's contract runs out after only a year.
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It's practically perfect in every way!
Okay so, full disclosure? I've now read this ten times. I know, I know...ten times?! Yes...well, nine actually reading and ten with the audio listen. For me, this gets better every time I read it. So what I'm trying to say here is I am not unbiased. At all. It's all about the bias up in here.
We'll start out with me gushing a bit about Dave Gillies' performance: I thought he did an excellent job with the many character voices, the timing, humor and heat. I'm looking forward to listening to this story again and again until I can quote it ad nauseam!
Don't look at me like that. Look, it's just that I love Hank and Elliot, ok?
Hank is a genuine down to earth, no pretense kind of guy. When he first meets Elliot he's not hugely impressed with either his looks or his bedside manner. When he returns for a follow-up he realizes the doc is a bit easier on the eyes than he first thought and catches Elliot checking him out. You know, in that way. When Elliot apologizes, Hank accepts (without revealing his own sexual preferences) and they strike up a friendship. Because Hank has one rule: No fishing in your own backyard.
It's only when Elliot catches Hank in a club in the city that Hank even admits to being gay.
He thrust his hands on his hips. “Perhaps a few words like, ‘Hey, I’m gay too,’ when someone comes and apologizes to you and begs you not to tell anyone. Shit! No wonder you took it so well. Were you laughing at me the whole time?”
I frowned. “Of course not. You’re gay—so what? It doesn’t have anything to do with me. Just the same as my queerness is none of your business.”
Once Hank's secret is out their friendship deepens, and then evolves. I'll admit this is a bit of a slow burn, which is actually part of what I love about it because it makes their relationship seem so genuine and real (and pretty honest for the area they're living). Once they finally "get together" there are several sexy scenes that are definitely fan-yourself worthy, which makes the wait totally worth it, and I love the humor and the supporting characters. All of this combined makes a recipe for a brilliant, sweet, romance. Nothing ever feels over the top or inauthentic.
In short...this is pretty close to perfection for me. Well, as close as "damnit" is to swearing.
It's practically perfect in every way.
This is a story that stays with me long after I read it, leaving only warm memories behind. I do not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a low angst, sexy romance novel.
Warning: It may make you crave Pavlova.
Such a fun story with fantastic narration!
- Morgan A Skye