Erryn and Dana review Made Marian Shorts by Lucy Lennox. The ebook was published July 13, 2018, 199 pages.The audiobook was narrated by Michael Pauley. It was released on July 19, 2018 and is 4hrs and 11mins long. Copies were provided in exchange for honest reviews.
Why I read this book:
Erryn: I have listened to every Made Marian book. In fact, I’ve listened to every Lucy Lennox and they have all been narrated by Michael Pauley.
Dana: I have listened to all of this author’s previous audios in the Made Marian series, the Twist of Fate series, and the Forever Wilde novels. So, yes, I am a fan of the author and the narrator.
The Marians aren’t the only ones finding their happy ever after! In this collection of four short stories, some of our beloved secondary characters from the Made Marian series steal the show and find a love of their own. These stories feature plenty of laughs, Marian cameos, and steamy nekkid bits. You do not need to have listened to any other Made Marian novel to enjoy these stories. Please be aware that two of these stories can also be found in the Made Marian Collectionbundle.
Brad’s story: When Brad opens his Vegas hotel room door to find a hot police officer waiting on the other side, he assumes crazy Aunt Tilly has sent him a strip-o-gram. But instead of getting naked, Detective Gorgeous pulls out his cuffs. Turns out, the badge and uniform aren’t just props; this cop is the real deal.
Beck’s story: After touring around the world, sleeping with fans after sold-out concerts, Beck is still unsatisfied in the bedroom. Men, women, men and women? He doesn’t know quite what he’s looking for when he enters an exclusive club to find some company for the night. But two sexy strangers begin dancing with him at the same time, and Beck finally begins to realize it might not be variety he’s after, but just the right set of lips whispering sexy words into his ear.
Keller’s story: After telling Tilly to back off her attempt at setting him up, Keller catches sight of the nude model for the old lady’s art class. Did he speak too soon? Meanwhile, stand-in model Eli is regretting his decision to strip down for a group of senior citizens, but then meets the manager of the vineyard and realizes being naked might not be so bad after all. Especially when things get wet…like really very wet…with hoses.
Josh’s story: After moving from Denali, Alaska, to San Francisco in order to branch out, Josh hosts a big poker night for the Marians and his coworkers at the National Park Service. Little does he know, his own true love may not be someone new after all. Eight years ago, Cyrus Dimakos had to leave the love of his life to take care of his great-grandmother on a remote island in Greece. A family obligation may have kept Cyrus’s body away from Josh all this time, but his heart never left him. Could it be that the one that got away is finally back for good?
It has been about a year since I listened to the first six ‘Made Marian’ audiobooks in just over a week. That was a truly wonderful binge. Later, I listened to the seventh – the Christmas book. (I loved it even though I don’t normally enjoy Christmas books.) When I saw the short stories that take place between the main books had been gathered together, I was excited. On audio? With Michael Pauley narrating?
How fast could I snap them up?
Now, it has been a while since I listened to the books, but the main characters in these short stories were secondary characters in the big books. My memory of them might have been fading, but the stories in this anthology have now cemented these cool guys in my mind and heart.
Now, for Brad. Well, how surprised was I to find Aunt Tilly in the centre of this book? With Irene and Granny along for the ride? Of course I was thrilled to see the lesbian octogenarians following the insane and fabulous Tilly. I hope I have half the spunk of these ladies when I hit their age.
Poor Brad was brought to Tristan Alexander’s vineyard under false pretenses and quickly discovered he needed to leave. Aunt Tilly decided to inveigle herself into his escape and the next thing he knows, he’s shepherding the three women to Vegas. In Vegas, he figures when a hot cop turns up at his hotel door, it must be a stripper sent by Tilly. He invites the hottie in to give him a strip show.
Miles is shocked when the gorgeous sleep-rumpled man invites him into his hotel room to strip. And since he’s met Tilly, he has his suspicions. As a reader, I’ve learned just how much trouble that woman can get into. Miles had nicknamed the three women after the three stooges, so he’s not surprised to find things are not as they first appear.
There is a complete ignition between the two men, but it takes a crisis to bring them together. And sexy times ensue.
Now, these are short stories, so insta-love is pretty much necessary, but Lucy knows how to make this work. Miles and Brad just work, although their taste is questionable.
Pineapple on pizza? Really, guys?
And the night the two men chaperone the three women as they go out on the town? As Miles says, it’s like ‘herding cats’.
Brad is such a sweet guy and I was so glad he met someone as considerate as Miles, someone who sees the real Brad and is willing to love the man.
There’s a happy ending, of course, that may or may not involve handcuffs? Gotta love it.
I understand being lonely. Being willing to accept ‘just for tonight’ rather than being alone.
Beck is the drummer for Jude & the Saints, so he knows celebrity. He’s watched Jude Marian’s very public love affair with his bodyguard Derek, and although Beck heads to a known underground swingers’ club believing he wants a threesome, what he discovers is completely different. His plan is turned on its head when he finds something else – something unexpected. Something “bigger, older, and stronger”. Amazingly, Beck isn’t even referring to cocks.
Quinn observed Beck and found what he was looking for. He had come to the club named Vegas to find something different. Asking the hot man on the dance floor for a one-night stand? A no-brainer. Not asking for more? That turns out to be much harder.
Insta-chemistry? Yep. Hot sex? OMG, yes!
These two men really are made for each other. I recognized Quinn’s last name and I plan to do more research…
I was surprised this story started in Eli’s point-of-view. All four of the short stories have Lucy’s preferred alternating chapters, each in the main character’s voice. Usually it is the named character – the one who is already known to Marian fans – who leads off the story. The choice of using Eli’s perspective worked for me, though. I loved the circumstances under which he met Keller, and surprise surprise – Tilly, Granny, and Irene are involved. In fact, it is Tilly and her crew who begin a frank and beans comment, pointing out that Eli is “hung like an ox”. I’ve never checked out bovine genitalia, so I’ll take their word for it. Eli knows Keller is watching him as he models nude for a room of octogenarian women, so he makes sure he shows off his physical form to perfection.
But Eli doesn’t normally spend his time modelling – he has a greater passion, and when Keller stumbles upon him engaging in this passion, Keller is intrigued. And Eli is singing ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol, which is one of my favourite songs. Keller is smitten. Who wouldn’t be?
A miscommunication almost derails the relationship, but saner heads prevail and the men forge something special. Keller is, after all, no dummy. When Tilly tells him, ‘who said anything about dating? Just fuck him already,” Keller takes the sex advice and risks his heart as well. Add in mud, a crazy dog, hoses, and lots of male nudity and you will understand why this is a great story.
When I read about the short stories being pulled together for an anthology and then the anthology coming to audio, Josh’s story was the one I was most looking forward to. I didn’t read the synopses (I’m eccentric that way), so at the beginning of each story, I hoped it was Josh’s. As much as I loved Keller, Brad, and Beck, I was thrilled when I finally got what I had been waiting for.
I adored Josh in the novel ‘Taming Teddy.’ Dr. Jamie Marian lived in Alaska – Denali National Park in particular, and the wilderness suited him. He was searching for isolation and he found it. Falling in love with Teddy was never part of the plan and it meant making big changes in his life, or at least major changes, if he wanted to have more. More meant moving south.
Josh believed he loved Jamie, but once he sees the Marian man with Teddy, Josh is finally able to admit it was more of a crush. More of a longing. A longing or yearning that is painfully acute because every day for the past eight years or so, he has been thinking of his first love, Cyrus.
Cyrus had reasons to cut ties with Josh, thereby cutting out part of his soul. His memories of his time with the love of his life are heartbreaking and revisited in a series of flashbacks. Some readers don’t like flashbacks, but if they are done well and are appropriate, they can contribute to the story. Lucy chose perfect memories for the men to revisit. I was able to see the love between the two men. The parting was painful enough, but their reunion – to me – was even more so.
Cyrus shows up at Josh’s while he’s hosting a party of his male friends, including his casual sex partner, Heyworth, as well as Jamie and Teddy who are now married. Cyrus’ arrival shocks Josh, but there is something more personal about Cyrus that has the group coming to a realization and providing an explanation for Josh’s infatuation with Jamie.
Understanding Josh needs privacy to cope with Cyrus’ precipitous arrival, the men take their leave, but not before Heyworth tells Josh, “Call me if he bails”. This almost redeemed the man in my books and I would like to see him get a happy ending.
Knowing his arrival would be impactful, Cyrus believed he had prepared himself for every contingency, but the depth of Josh’s pain surprised, I think, both of them.
As the men begin to get to know each other again, Cyrus asks Josh why he is working at Alcatraz. He has always envisioned Josh living in nature, not the busy city of San Francisco. When Josh admits he was “so very lonely”, and he “just wanted someone to touch me”, I might have teared up a bit. I understand that kind of loneliness. The kind where the yearning for touch is so strong that it is tangible. I have been there. I understand how you might make the choice to be with someone you don’t love just so you’re not so lonely. I have also lived up in the Yukon, the Canadian counterpart to Alaska. It is incredibly isolating and otherworldly. It takes a hearty person to live up there. Heading south is an understandable response.
Josh has secrets of his own, including his new language abilities. I love that these two men held their love close to their hearts for all those years. I also love that they are both comfortable in nature. The trappings of civilization hold no sway for them while the wild calls to both of them.
As with all these stories, Josh gets his happy ending. Unlike the others, where insta-love and hot sex were critical, this is a story where a second chance at love pulls at my heart.
And, of course, there is hot sex.
These are lovely stories and I’m so glad they have been brought together.
Finally…Michael Pauley. He has narrated all of Lucy’s books and we listeners are so grateful these two found each other. Michael has voices for each of the Marian men as well as all the secondary characters in the series – and there are a lot. He also gives a credible performance of Tilly, bringing her to life for me. Well done.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Dana’s review: I can’t say that I necessarily thought about the characters featured in this anthology after briefly meeting them in previous Maid Marian novels, but I sure am glad I listened to this audiobook. Each story offers a funny moment or surprise that makes reading or listening to them worth it. In a short story, there is no time for the characters to get to know each other well before developing feelings. I am one of those who finds quickly developed feelings between characters pretty believable. I think I just want to believe that anything is possible when it comes to love. So suspend your disbelief and enjoy the romance is my advice.
Brad is the guy (fake) dating Blue’s ex in Borrowing Blue. He forges a friendship with Blue’s Aunt Tilly and Tristan’s lesbian grandmothers in this short. I only wish I had seen him more involved with the Marian family because of it. Of course, with those three ladies around, this was definitely a humorous story. When Tilly tries matchmaking and nearly gets Brad arrested, he meets Miles, a Vegas homicide detective. It’s a sweet short story with plenty of craziness added in from the older ladies.
Beck is in Jude’s band. I don’t really remember him in the story but he is letting loose in his own short story. He meets Quinn dancing at an exclusive club. This story takes place in one night and is sexy as hell. There is a big surprise at the end when they let the other know why they wanted each other and who they are. I am still a little a little dumbstruck.
Keller works with Tristan at the Vineyard and meets Eli when he strips down for Aunt Tilly and the grannies painting class at the Vineyard. Both are attracted to each other, but miscommunications, overheard denials of attraction seem to hold them back from insta-love. And one case of mistaken identity nearly kills their possible relationship for good. I liked this story. Again with the crazy octogenarians in the picture there is a good amount of silliness.
I think the author saved the best for last. I didn’t remember Josh, who worked in Alaska with Jamie Marian. His crush on Jamie went unrequited, but I don’t think Josh really wanted Jamie anyway. A love that ended eight years prior has haunted him forever. When Cyrus’s grandmother dies and the duty that took him away from Josh is over, he rushes to the man he cruelly ended things with. Unfortunately, Josh is dating someone named Hayworth. Even though I don’t really know the characters of Josh or Cyrus, and even though they haven’t seen each other in eight years, their love for each other was very palpable. I was overjoyed as soon as they crashed into each others arms. I am a total sucker for same couple second chance stories. Hayworth kindly stepped out of the way, too, if that makes it anymore obvious about how meant to be Cyrus and Josh are. And now, I do want a story about Hayworth because he really seemed kind, and looking for a love of his own.
Not to fear, the author indicated that there will be more shorts. I think this audiobook of shorts could be listened to without having read the novels in the series. However, I think it is more enjoyable if you are familiar with the family. I definitely recommend this book for any fan of sweet love stories. P.S. Michael Pauley’s narrations are really great. He is an autobuy narrator for me.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Lucy Lennox is finally putting good use to that English Lit degree earned way back in the 1900s.
She enjoys naps, pizza, and procrastinating. She has some snarky kids and is married to someone who is better at math than romance but who makes her laugh every single day and is the best dancer in the history of ever.
She stays up way too late each night reading M/M romance because that stuff is hot.