Bookworm Rhys lives in the idyllic town of Hawks Bridge and spends his days working at the local library, his evenings quietly reading. He thinks it’s all about books and even the occasional interruption ‘real life’ throws his way cannot change his beliefs.
When car thief Darren arrives to do his community service, Rhys’s world is turned upside down. Rhys thinks the man is uneducated, only to find him reading classics. He expects him to behave like the criminal he is, only Darren doesn’t. While Rhys isn’t exactly out and proud, Darren is in denial about his sexuality.
They are wrong for each other on so many levels, yet rejection only makes the need greater…
When I decided to write something for Silver's A Mind is a Sexy Thing series, I wanted to create a geeky guy who wasn't aware he was deep-down sexy. It was obvious I'd choose someone who worked in a library, that bit was easy. I just needed to team him with someone unsuitable. I thought of how an unlikely person who didn't share Rhys's love of books would end up in a library and the answer was simple: a convicted criminal doing community service.
Choosing Darren the car thief as Rhys's ill-matched suitor kept with my unintentional theme that at least one of my characters in a story should be unlikeable, from a difficult background and maybe even a touch unpleasant. Just to reiterate, I don't do sugar and spice ;-)
I don't often do comedy, but when I do, I have such fun writing it. I wanted this one to be light-hearted although it still ended up with touches of angst and controversy (stealing cars, homophobic beatings) as is my trademark.
The car thief was a 'chav' of sorts, but with my own twist. For those who don't know, chavs are young lads with not much going for them who hang around on street corners in the UK, drinking cider and generally causing trouble. You would cross the road to avoid them and they would probably shout something unsavoury after you. They wear a 'uniform' of 'trackie' bottoms tucked into socks, several inches of boxers showing over the top, trainers and baseball cap.
I had Darren wear different clothes and be fairly smart in appearance. Although he came from a broken home on a council estate and was deep in trouble, he's not a bad person, just a man who's lost his way and needs help coming back. Darren was a character ripe for redemption and hiding his homosexual tendencies. A target for his homophobe friend and just aching to break free of his roots and his life.
The snobbish Rhys ended up possibly the more unlikeable of the two, ironically enough. Darren didn't come off as being all that bad after all (my chracters dictate to me, not the other way around) and once Rhys had let his OCD settle down, he was a sweet boy.
This isn't a fairytale romance, it's gritty and violent at times, but it's also fun and passionate.
The book has had the following reviews:
This book is wonderful. Darren and Rhys start in on each other from the very beginning. Darren sees Rhys as a pretentious geek and Rhys sees Darren as an illiterate Philistine. Neither is really aware that all that animosity is masking a whole heap of sexual tension.
Rhys is out and proud (author's note: no he's not) and tends to gravitate towards men who are only interested in casual hook-ups. Darren has never been with another guy, but he can’t seem to keep his hands off of Rhys. I loved that these two are from a different space than usually found in UK romance. They’re young, working class stiffs; they cuss, drink and are absolutely beautiful together. The lovin’ is hot and the overall tone is kinda gritty and urban without falling into that genre fully.
Read the full review at MM Good Book Reviews
This is a fun story on many levels. The ‘opposites attract’ scenario is always great (when well written – which this one is)...The encounters of these two men are explosive –in every sense and on every level. Their banter is fun, the sex they have is hot, and their relationship extremely stormy. All of that makes it all the more rewarding once they do work things out. If you like stories with a lot of heat, characters that don’t immediately fall into each other’s arms (but would like to), and if you enjoy opposites figuring out how to coexist, you will probably like this book.
Read the full review at Queer Magazine Online
This story has a couple of things that appeal to me as a reader, a neurotic book nerd and a bad boy. Oh delightful, which was how I would describe this story... Rhys is hilarious and sweet, and a bit sad. When he freaks out and realizes that Darren simply randomly put books back on the library shelves, he just loses it. It’s like a crime tantamount to murder in his eyes. His reaction is priceless... It’s also very much set in England so you get a nice touch of local feel. I really really enjoyed this one so I think it’s worth a read.
Read more at Brief Encounters Reviews
Don't Judge a Book is out now at Silver Publishing