Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for WHERE THE GRASS IS GREENER, a contemporary M/M romance that blends two of my fave guys in love, an Irishman and a cowboy! Though this is the second book in a series, this is easily a standalone romance from Raine O’Tierney and Debbie McGowan and I very much enjoyed it.
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About the book:
Mistakes were made, that’s for sure. But was it the night of passion? Or walking away afterward?That’s the question Seamus Williams must face when he gets a late night phone call from someone he never expects to hear from again.
“I miss you, Shay.”
Chancey Bo Clearwater is a cowboy through and through. He spends his days finding work on whatever ranch will take him and his nights at the pool hall. He’s always done what needed doing and never thought much about what he wanted. ’Til that drunken night with Seamus.
A world of problems now stand between Seamus and Chancey exploring what might have been, the least of which being the Atlantic Ocean. On one side there’s Chancey’s daughter who mood swings from angel to demon in two seconds flat; on the other there’s the new lodger, hogging Shay’s telly and his cornflakes, and making private Skype time hard to come by.
Is this relationship doomed before it ever begins? Or can a surprise announcement from Seamus’s brother be enough to help the two find their second chance?
Where the Grass is Greener features Seamus Williams – the older brother of Patrick from Leaving Flowers.
How about a little taste?
“You’re quiet today, Seamus. What’s up?” the landlord asked.
“Just tired, is all. Got a leaky roof and the fecker was drippin’ all the damn night. And didn’t I get up this morning and kick the bucket?”
“You look alive and well to me, so you do. I say well…you look like shite.”
“Yeah, thanks very much. Think I’ll go join the lads, see if I can’t get a few more insults thrown at me.”
Seamus gave the landlord a wry grin and went over to the others, who were already well into the first of the three games they got in every lunchtime. He watched one of them take a bad shot and accidentally pot the black, the clunking of the ball as it rolled its way through the machinery of the table setting Seamus’s teeth on edge. John was right: he was dog-tired and probably did look like shite. He’d barely slept after the missed call, trying to decide whether to return it or not. His mind played tricks on him, one minute convincing him it was urgent and he should call back, the next telling him to stay strong. He’d made the move. He’d come back to Ireland. That’s what he’d wanted all along.
He had wanted it. Ever since Mam died, his sights had been set on coming home. He’d only stayed for Paddy’s sake, and now Paddy had Aidan there was nothing to keep Seamus in the States, although he was no further away from his brother now than he had been in Kansas. Never mind that he’d already made the decision before he knew Aidan even existed. No. It was a good decision. He was just—
He already knew, before he pulled his phone from his pocket: same Kansas number, same caller. His thumb hovered over the red button. Reject the call. Reject the call.
“At last! I thought I was calling a wrong number. Man, it’s so good to hear your voice.”
“Er, yeah. Yours too. What’s up? Has something happened?”
“Nothing new. I just…”
The rapid-hard thump of Seamus’s heart filled the pause, two seconds, three, four, and more. He drew breath to speak, but there was nothing to be said. Or nothing he should say.
“I miss you, Shay.”
The first call had been a drunk dial. Thank the heavenly father that Seamus Williams hadn’t picked up. Lord, the shit that might have come tumbling out of Chancey’s mouth. Now he was dead sober, but only slightly more composed. Had he really just said he’d missed Seamus? He tried for a laugh. It sounded as fake as it felt. Well he had missed Seamus. Nothin’ wrong with that.
“You gonna say somethin’?” He knew he was putting on the accent. Drawing out his vowels, droppings his g’s. His grandmother—who was from south Texas and who had an accent so deep it was digging itself a hole to the centre of the Earth—used to yell at him when he’d get lazy with his words.
You jus’ sound ign’rant, Chancey Bo Clearwater. Full name, cue snickering cousins, and young Chancey sank down low in his chair, ashamed at the way he sounded despite the fact they all talked just alike. The accent followed him when he moved to Oklahoma, where he picked up a whole set of strange ‘O’s, and even having lived in Kansas now for the better part of his life, it was still there underneath, just waiting to crop up in stressful situations.
“I didn’t expect to hear from you, that’s all.”
“Surprise.” He was trying for friendly, for calm. Trying to keep the I wanna put my fist through the wall and did you really mean to let me find out through Lulu? out of his voice.
“Isn’t this call costing you a million dollars?”
“Skype. On my phone. I bought minutes, y’know?”
“Is that right then?”
“But I didn’t think. It’s probably charging you too.”
Is it? Seamus sure as hell wasn’t saying much. There was a long pause as Chancey considered his next move. He’d called because he’d wanted to talk. Not talk. Not like that. Nothing to say on that front. Seamus had made it all as clear as crystal dropped in the mud when he’d left his parting message with Lulu down at the pool hall, Rack ’Em. In a last-ditch effort, Chancey said the only thing he could think: “Boss Tina asked after you the other day when I went around for work.”
That got a laugh out of Seamus, which gave Chancey more relief than he cared to admit.
Seamus and Chancey were ranch hands on a Kansas ranch. They’d known each other for years, had a solid friendship, and shared one night of drunken passion. And then Seamus left without a goodbye. He returned to Ireland, bought a cottage and tried to put aside his desire for the man he wasn’t sure he could keep.
He’s still unsure 10 months later when his phone rings and it’s Chancey. That Texas drawl alternately chills and heats his blood. Like Seamus, Chancey’s bisexual–though neither of the men had acted on their urges until that night. Even more stunning than Chancey’s call is his admission–that he missed Seamus.
There begins something that Seamus had been too afraid to hope for: a connection to Chancey. Naturally, it would come when there were 4000 miles and an ocean separating them. Still, it is likely that distance which allowed both men to be honest, and inordinately brave. They begin to Skype, video sexytimes being far more enjoyable than phone sex, but life gets in the way. Chancey’s got a teenaged daughter, Dee, and a hellcat of an ex-wife who’s out on the road searching for her fame and fortune. Being both dad and mom is an exhausting experience, and it leaves little time for even cyber-dating.
Plus, Seamus feels compelled to take in one of his work crew when the boy is kicked out of his home after coming out. The cottage isn’t big, and it cramps Seamus’ arousal. Though there’s a plan brewing for a return to the States–and a potential rendezvous with Chancey. Is it meant to be for them? Will Dee accept their relationship? Will Chancey’s ex be even more of a self-serving human?
I just adored this book. I’m not sure there are readers who can withstand the lure of not only an Irishman, but also a cowboy. The swoons! I wasn’t sure if I stepped into THE QUIET MAN or BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, but in any case I was enchanted by this quiet romance. Seamus and Chancey are lonely men who develop a connection as friends and then lovers. They struggle with coming out. They struggle with finding time for each other. Their lives are complicated, but they find a way through–to each other.
Really, the storytelling was beautiful. This is a long slow burn, with many fits and starts. We get to see deeply into each man’s world, and understand his experiences, thanks to the dual POV. I really admired Chancey’s relationship with Dee. He’s a fantastic father, and just protective enough. Man, Dee is a quintessential 13 y/o. The boys. The catty friendship angst. The sorrow over being fifth, or lower, on her mother’s list of priorities. Even when I wanted to smack her, I loved her. And, yes, she is one potty-mouthed girl. #HeckYeah
Seamus is a tentative man, quite used to moving on. He’s never had such strong feelings for anyone as Chancey and he’s afraid to admit it to himself, but he finds the courage to admit it to Chancey.
The ending was so spectacular. I ached for it, and I was rewarded for my patience, much like Chancey and Seamus. I can only wonder how their new life together will turn out. I think I’ll go search the clover for a shamrock. I gotta wish these guys some luck.
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About the authors:
DEBBIE McGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science— tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can.
RAINE O’TIERNEY wants to change the world…one sweet story at a time.
Known as “The Queen of the Sweetness” (well, a few people have said it anyway!) Raine loves writing sweet, character-driven stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and…friskiness? In addition to her solo works, she’s one half of a collaborative team with author Debbie McGowan.
When she’s not writing, Raine is either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. She believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers.
Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or discussing which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!