Title: Marty and the Pilot
Author: Harper Fox
Publisher: Foxtales Publications
Release: 16th October 2015
Genre: M/M (Contemporary)
Marty Bell knows what it’s like to be bullied. He was the shy, overweight kid at school, and those memories have helped turn him into an excellent teacher – though he’s never spread his wings beyond the remote northern village where he grew up.
The last thing he needs in his life is the reappearance of Devlin Surtees, leader of the gang who made his schooldays so tough. Dev is the glamorous village hero now, flying acrobatics planes and fighter jets for the RAF. He’s just as spellbinding, handsome and infuriating as Marty recalls.
But the years have transformed both of them, and their old enmity blazes up into a powerful attraction. The sex is great, and Marty’s beginning to wonder if the schoolteacher and the stunt pilot might have some kind of future – until a terrible secret of Devlin’s comes to light, and threatens to drag both of them down into a vortex of the past.
I could so relate to this story it was wonderful. Two things that I have personally experienced the RAF and teaching so this story I read with great intrigue but also to see if it matched my experiences. Once again Harper has done a marvellous job of creating two wonderfully flawed characters that need healing despite all the bravado that at least seems to be shown on the outside by one in particular.
Marty was bullied at school and I so know how that feels and of course there is always the one kid that is the centre of attention, the star of every show. Marty’s and Devlin’s story begins at school and develops into a wonderful enemies to friends, to lovers story.
Although we grow up the experiences we have in our formative years can never be underestimated. When Marty meets Devlin later as adults, although a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, the feelings of being back at school are still there. Do people really change? Marty is still as guarded and defensive upon meeting Devlin as ever. Devlin still the arrogant, cock-sure, confident, god’s gift to good looks, alpha male. OK he is a fighter jet pilot. However, behind Devlin’s mask lies a lifetime of hard expectations and little love from his father which explains his attitude in many respects. Marty goes on the defence as soon as he thinks he’s being got at. I loved all the joshing between Devlin and his RAF mates. Although on the outside it may appear that they don’t like each other you know that there is a deep camaraderie, a sense of duty, a trust that from on the outside is difficult to understand.
I found it refreshing to read that Devlin could be out and gay in the RAF and it’s OK. Well, I know things have come a long way since I left the RAF. When I was in being gay was still against military law which meant a closeted life and living in fear of being found out. If found out thrown out with a dishonourable discharge. OK, I still had a life but just made sure no one found out and was very careful with the people I trusted. Don’t worry I was not alone I promise you. I think I could have been a master of covert operations – lol! Today I’m glad to say that the British forces have come a long way and are now a equal opportunities employer and any form of discrimination is taken seriously and dealt with accordingly. You even get a house on base with your partner when you’re married gay or straight. Absolutely unimaginable when I was in. So no, not strange to read about a gay pilot anymore. In actual fact heart-warming and uplifting to know that we have come so far.
However, Marty knows a secret about Devlin that could ruin his flying career. He never uses it to blackmail him but more tries to motivate Devlin out of concern for his own safety. It’s in this concern that a relationship starts to develop. But being a primary school teacher is no push over for a job either and when Marty is confronted with the horror of all horrors that all teachers may face, Devlin is there for him.
I loved both characters. Marty for being the gentle, caring kind soul he is even with his flaws when he feels he’s being got at. Being bullied takes a long time to get over and leaves scars but Marty learns to put the snark, knee-jerk, hissy fit reactions away when around Devlin. Devlin learns through Marty to be more careful with his steamrolling tactics and arrogance and understands all this bravado on the outside is actually covering up a deep seated hurt and fear inside. SO I loved reading how these two opposites in many ways attract but through each other find themselves better people for it.
All in all a wonderful story that doesn’t take too long to read but covers a lot of ground, especially for Marty and Devlin. A story about learning to put our pasts behind us and sculpting out a new future for ourselves.
Meet Harper Fox
Bestselling British author Harper Fox has established herself as a firm favourite with readers of M/M romance. Over the past four years, she’s delivered eighteen critically acclaimed novels and novellae, includingBrothers Of The Wild North Sea (Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2013), Stonewall Award-nominated Scrap Metal and the enduringly popular Life After Joe. Harper takes her inspiration from a wide range of British settings – wild countryside, edgy urban and most things in between – and loves to use these backdrops for stories about sexy gay men sharing passion, adventure and happy endings. She also runs her own publishing imprint, FoxTales.
Harper has recently returned from Cornwall to her native Northumberland, and already the bleak moorlands around her home are providing a wealth of new ideas for future work.