This story was written as a part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's "Love’s Landscapes" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
This is a fabulous event that gives M/M readers a chance to catch up with some of their favourite authors, experience new authors, and also gives those readers that have yet to dip their toes into the genre a chance to find out why so many of us are huge fans of Gay Romance… all for free!!! AMAZING!!!
The M/M team will be following the Love’s Landscapes releases and bringing you our take on some of these fabulous gems. We would also like to thank the Goodreads M/M Romance group who organise this yearly event and those authors that give their time freely for the fans enjoyment… Free eBooks from amazing authors is a gift we are all immensely grateful for.
The Dreams You Made In The Dirt by Lisa Henry
Title: The Dreams You Made In The Dirt
Author: Lisa Henry
Tags: first time, hurt/comfort, military men, abuse, homophobia, age gap
Content Warnings: violence
MC1 (maybe eighteen to twenty years?) grew up hard in a dysfunctional family in a small remote community. His mother is gone and no one will say what happened to her. His father has always been abusive physically and emotionally. No one has ever stood up for him. He is smaller than average, making him a target for torment, but has had to learn how to fight for himself. He has the soul of a healer― naturally gentle and empathetic― but has learned not to trust as any time he has given himself emotionally he has been smacked down. Despite the way he is treated, he has never been allowed to leave and has nowhere to go as he has no education, money or friends/family to fall back on. When his father finds out MC1 is gay (not that he has had a chance to act on it), MC1 is bashed and left for dead miles from home.
MC2 (maybe twenty-eight to thirty-two years?) is a loner who has his own demons in his past (maybe ex-military/ex-con?). He is a natural alpha― protective and dominant. He finds MC1 and cares for him as he heals. Contrary to his promise to himself to stay detached, he feels a pull to MC1 and hates the sadness and despair in the eyes of his charge. He fights himself and MC1 as he finds he badly wants to earn MC1’s trust. Who knows what can happen after that?
Two men embrace against a dark background. They stand, heavily shadowed, one in front of the other, chest to back, with arms entwined. They are tender, but at the same time appear desperate and vulnerable.
Lisa Henry’s contribution to the Love’s Landscape event is about two broken men who need each other in order to start healing and find hope and comfort in each other.
Loved this one, the title is perfect! The story is dark, engrossing, moving, intense, emotionally charged and beautifully told. Definitely one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read, there was so much abuse, pain and loneliness going on that I was tempted to crawl into my kindle and kill the bastard with my bare hands.
Lisa Henry’s writing is crisp and clean, the mystery is cleverly plotted, the characters are engaging and believable. I loved the harsh, sombre storyline and the subtle awareness between Cole and Aiden that morphs slowly into more.
Overall, it was brilliantly done. A full length story featuring Cole and Aiden would be the icing on the cake. :)
RATING ~ 5 STARS
I love Lisa Henry’s writing, she is without doubt a favourite author of mine, so this novella for the m/m romance groups, Loves Landscapes event, (if you haven’t read anything by Lisa,) is a fabulous way to get a teaser into just how fabulous she is. Plus it gives me a fix between novels.
In The Dreams You Made In The Dirt, Lisa subtly gives you clues to the story without telling you what’s actually going on. I personally find this style of writing captivating, it allows me as a reader to immerse myself in the book, desperately looking for these suggestions to piece together the lives of the characters, looking further than the words on the page, wanting to know more and analysing the reasons for their actions and letting my imagination do some of the work.
Lisa did a great job of fulfilling the readers prompt and there is no doubt this is a very emotional read, with two very sad and complex characters. Aiden even at eighteen seems so much younger, mainly due to his isolated life, with his sweet and gentle nature making him the perfect target for his bullying father and indifferent siblings. He is a simple soul oppressed and made to feel worthless and stupid and constantly reminded of it. With the only fond memories of his childhood being the mother he admires for having had the strength to leave. Not for one minute is he bitter for having been abandoned, which totally broke my heart and further enhanced the guilelessness of his nature.
Cole is also lost to his own demons, having returned home from Iraq with PTSD. Helping Aiden is somehow a cleansing process for him, in his mind, making amends for those he has lost and was unable to comfort. The lost boy in Aiden calls to his heart and falling in love with him is so easy, I know, because I too found his innocence and wonder adorable.
This is a gem of a read and if you like hurt/comfort I can’t recommend this enough. I had one slight niggle but not enough to put me off as I totally loved Aiden and Cole’s story.
RATING ~ 4.5 STARS
These books are available as free downloads in Mobi, PDF & ePub formats from the M/M Romance Group’s Website.
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