Author: Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
Length: 14,000 words
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m historical romance
June is too fine a month for a man to die. So when Thomas Lanton is informed that he’s finally facing execution for the murder of his brother-in-law, he manages a prison break and flees.
For a while, Thomas’s good luck holds out, and the attractive and lonely farmer in whose barn he hides takes a serious liking to him. But as Thomas soon discovers, not all chains are made of iron, nor all prisons built with stone. Indeed, sometimes blue eyes and soft words can be as effective as bars, and love can be too heavy a piece of baggage to take on the lam…
This historical set in the mid-1900s starts with escaped murderer Thomas fleeing from the dogs. He manages to hole up in the barn of a remote farm where he makes himself known to the lonely farmer, Hank. Hank has been struggling to maintain the farm on his own since his father died and is happy to let Thomas stay with him to fish and hunt. The pair begin a relationship of sorts, but Thomas knows that he won’t be able to stay hidden for long when there’s a man hunt out to recapture him.
I was instantly drawn into this short by the exciting opening. Thomas is on the run, chased by dogs and trying to find somewhere to hide until the heat is off. Thomas is one of those characters who almost, but not quite, tips into an unsympathetic character. He’s a hard worker and has a good heart, but he’s also rather thoughtless and selfish, plus he’s a murderer who often thinks that he may have to murder again in order to keep himself alive. I found this mix rather fascinating, but then I’ve always enjoyed a good anti-hero. In comparison, Hank is a little wishy washy, and it bothered me a little that he adopts a passive female-type role in the relationship at first, despite this fitting in with the time period, perhaps. After a while though I began to enjoy seeing Hank develop and seek more for what he wants. Their relationship dynamic has a healthy dose of D/s, but this develops slowly as Thomas grows to care for Hank and Hank begins to lose his fear of Thomas. What starts as two strangers seeking relief and shelter becomes much more and I enjoyed following the course of the relationship.
The ending is very much bittersweet, with not even a hint of hope for the pair. There’s scope for more, a follow on story a few years on, perhaps, and a large part of me hopes that there is a plan for a sequel. I liked these characters and would want to see them happy together. Instead I was left worried for Hank and it made me feel sad rather than the happy feeling I usually like to get from my romance stories.
This writing pair always produce well written and intelligent stories with a BDSM twist. This story is no exception, and if you can cope with a bittersweet end, then I recommend that you read this one.