Erryn reviews ‘After the Crash’ by Emma Alcott. This book was released on November 11, 2019, and is 265 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was released December 19, 2019 narrated by J.F Harding and is 6hrs and 58mins. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I’d heard good things.
Rule number one: Straight military men will always be straight, no matter how much you wish otherwise.
Rule number two: Being a billionaire won’t change that (probably).
Rule number three: The whole thing between you when you were in high school? It was only fantasy.
Rule number four: One-sided fantasy.
Rule number five: God, how great would it be if it was a two-sided fantasy?
Rule number six: Okay, getting off track.
Rule number seven: Hiring your hot high school crush is totally okay.
Rule number eight: If you don’t let your feelings get in the way, everything will be fine.
Marshall Lloyd is about to be very not fine. Not only is his high school crush back in his life, but he’s matured into a gruff, brooding, drop-dead gorgeous specimen of a man who makes Marshall’s wet dreams seem about as exciting as drying paint.
The only problem? Fox Fraser, the individual in question, is straight.
The kind of straight that would make a ruler jealous.
But if what Marshall sees when he looks in Fox’s eyes is to be believed, he’s broken, too. There are scars inside of him that no one notices. No one but Marshall. It’s not wrong to want to help him, is it? To hire him to take care of things around the house so he can get back on his feet? It’s just work. Work that leads to lingering looks. To prolonged touches. To…mmph.
It’s better not to think about it.
Marshall’s fantasies aren’t real. A guy like Fox would never pin him to a wall and do things to him like that.
After the Crash is the first book in the Small Town Hearts series, which features heroes scattered across the rural United States who find love where they’re least expecting it. In addition to explosive chemistry, you can expect sneezing bushes, tea that tastes like hay, and a wet wrestling match that’s just boys having fun, Mom.
I remember trying to read the synopsis and being confused. When the opportunity to review the audio came up I leapt at the chance because, frankly, I’m game for anything. I’m so glad I took a chance. In some ways this is a simple story and I love those. So, putting aside the confusing synopsis, let me talk about the book.
Marshall was bullied back in high school and, eventually, Fox stepped in to intervene. After graduation, the men moved in very different directions. Fox headed into the military, dedicated to make something of his life. Marshall headed to college, dedicated to making something of his life. Both had success.
Fox became an important member of a team, holding the position of being able to communicate how to keep his team safe. (It’s explained much better in the book but I don’t remember the exact military terms and would never disrespect the author, the character, or the military – sufficed to say, it was an important job and he was good at it.) One day he misjudged and things went sideways. In the end, teammates died. Losing someone on your watch is horrific and, understandably, Fox took it hard. In the end Fox couldn’t continue in the army and he was sent along his way. He’s come home to recover, living in his parent’s house – at least for now.
Marshall’s success came in the form of creating a company in Silicon Valley that has become a growing concern. Like, Marshall is now a billionaire. He hasn’t forgotten his roots, though, and when he needs to take a break, he heads home to he can be close to his mother. She’s the one person in his life who always supported him unconditionally. She provided for his emotional and physical well being and he’s grateful. Now he’s bought a house nearby and is settling down there – at least for now.
The reunion of Fox and Marshall is auspicious, to say the least. Marshall remembers the young man who helped circumvent much of the bullying and when presented the opportunity to help, is quick to offer assistance. Fox doesn’t want charity, but Marshall’s offer provides him with an opportunity to work with dignity. Time to heal. A chance to regain control of his life.
Marshall is attracted to Fox, but Fox is straight, right? Fox is attracted to Marshall. For the first time in his life, he’s looking at a man sexually. I love gay-for-you stories and sometimes they feel forced. This one didn’t – it just worked. I found it believable that Fox fell for Marshall. Sometimes we live on the spectrum and aren’t even aware. The bond they formed was real.
Throw in a surly but brilliant teenager, summer storms, water fights, and occasional bouts of PTSD and you have an interesting book. Like I said, in some ways it was simple. In other ways it was layered and complex. I thought the Sam subplot worked well, adding drama to the story but not bogging it down. Oh, and there are plenty of sexy times.
This was a nice book. I enjoyed the book. The narrator, J.F. Harding, is someone I’ve listened to before and have always appreciated his performance. He did a good job with this one. So, getting beyond the synopsis, I suggest giving this book a chance.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars