MtSnow reviews ‘Lay It Down’ by Mary Calmes. Published by Dreamspinner Press on March 16, 2016. 126 pages.
Why MtSnow reviewed this book: This week was reviewer ‘Comfort Read’ author week, and I saw one of my ‘go-to’ autobuy, comfort authors, Mary Calmes, had a new book released. The blurb sounded like a good escape with little angst and just what I needed for a bit of a trip to a beautiful place far, far away…
Note: a copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review.
Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.
Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.
Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.
This story is about twin brothers. Both raised in the foster system: one a nurturer, one a control freak; one a mouse, one a panther. And, this story is about a billionaire businessman. Which brother would be the proper fit to make a home for a sexy, rich tycoon who is labeled a ‘tiger’? I guess after all is said and done, that is the main question.
My impressions – This story was definitely suspension of belief material. But then again, this is a comfort read, right? So I just let it go. No angst needed.
Hudson, the voice of the narrator, is a fraternal twin to Miguel’s absent, irresponsible, shallow, model-beautiful boyfriend. And just so you know, there’s no cheating going on. Things happen much later in the story after some things are ‘cleared up.
Hudson is actually rational, logical, neat and tidy in his head. For the first part of the story he was very macho, alpha, bossy, and had a way with people, fixing love lives, jobs, businesses, families. This is where Mary’s famous ‘Jory-esque’ treatment comes into play. Though to hear Hudson self-describe, he is TERRIBLE with people. I was loving everything about Hudson. Definitely comfort read material. *smiles*
But, at Hudson’s first sight of Miguel, four MONTHS after he’s been stranded on the isle of Ibiza, where Hudson has fixed, moved, converted and completely overhauled 3 of Miguel’s local businesses, his family, his HOME? Well, then the story turns into a sappy, ‘I can’t live without you’, and ‘I will do anything you want’ kind of romance with a little bit of a *gulp* surprise thrown in that needs immediately taken care of. Again. Another mess courtesy of Hudson’s absentee brother.
I am sorry to admit that I did feel a bit of a whiplash in seeing Hudson turn from an Alpha-male into an almost simpering, lost-all-his-brains twink (that word isn’t used, it was just my ‘after-Miguel’ impression) under Miguel’s big brawny ‘tell him what he should do’ and ‘what he should feel’ controlling ways. All because he’s a sexy billionaire and Hudson has self-esteem issues in comparison to his picture perfect model brother? Where was the smart, strong-willed, alpha-type Hudson I’d gotten to know for the first 2/3 of the story? That part was a bit hard for me to fall into line with due to his being such a strong character before Miguel showed up.
This one moved quick, was short, and I can imagine I would probably have liked it more if it received a good narrator with a Spanish accent for all the romantic, flowery Spanish phrases spilled throughout. I found myself pausing often, using my rusty 4 years of Spanish to translate Miguel’s words of love, etc. I was proud of myself as I didn’t have to resort to Google-translate *snickers*
A little bit cheesy, overly sweet. This is a somewhat classic Mary Calmes short story where pieces magically fall in to place for all the cast at the very end. I guess, with the way I have enjoyed so many of Mary’s characters in the past, this one fell a little flat and felt too much like a fill-in-the-blanks short story to tide fans over until the good stuff comes out. And Mary DOES write the good stuff, believe me.
Unfortunately, this story for me just wasn’t it. Mary’s writing is still a comfort fallback for me. And many of her stories are on my re-read shelf. I think, in the end, it may have been the personality switch of Hudson that threw me off, as I, like many readers, do enjoy a bit of insta-love sometimes. I read to escape, and it did allow me to escape to this beautiful Spanish island of Ibiza. Yet, in my mind it felt like the story had been rushed. This story was okay, but I think I’d rather a bit more cojones for Hudson, and I’d have gladly waited for THAT story vice the one that I just finished.
Recommended for those that like Mary’s Jory-esque development of her main characters and the typical interaction with the MC being perfect in every way despite his belief he is not all that. A love of sugary sweet Spanish phrases of endearment, a beautiful, picturesque island with all the trappings; escapism, rescuing, low to no angst, and a happily-ever-after. And, just so you know, even if this wasn’t a 10 for me? It will not keep me from auto buying Mary’s other stories *smiles*
6.5 of 10 pots of gold
WHERE TO PURCHASE:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.