Title: Where You Lead
Author: Mary Calmes
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 1 hr + 41 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: 15th September 2015
Genre: M/M (Christmas)
ATF agent Peter Lomax isn't a hearts and flowers kind of guy, but he can be possessive, and it caused problems - until Carver Fleming. Carver may be part of the art world, but he gets Peter, loves belonging to the man, and Peter treasures the way Carver understands them together.
Carver loves Peter, but he's fully aware that six months doth not a commitment make. Carver wants to make the relationship last forever, but he'll have to leave their life in Chicago to take care of the family he loves. He wants to do it with Peter by his side, but going from the city of Chicago to tiny Colt, Kentucky is a big change.
Carver has only one Christmas wish: Please, oh please, let Peter fall enough in love with Carver's family to follow Carver home.
For a story that is a little under two hours then it is a real art to get a complete story into so few pages. Mary Calmes with this story has definitely mastered the are of short stories. A Christmas novella, as compact as it is complete. A story that can be read within an extended lunch break from work or in one evening relaxing in front of a log fire with a cup of hot chocolate. Personally I prefer the second option – lol!
The thing for me and short stories is that the characters have to jump off the page for me from the word go. They have to come alive and take up residence in my heart and imagination. Mary achieves this wonderfully. We first meet Peter Lomax at an art exhibition with his ATF colleague and his wife. Seriously, I loved these two from the word go. Looking at some modern sculpture that both had decided was a cockroach crawling out of a pile of poo – LOL! The conversation was great, just like two big kids bouncing off each other but who also understand each other completely. Loved it, I had belly laughs and could imagine the whole scenario, just liked kids they were a source of embarrassment for Peter’s colleagues wife who saw the only way to get them to behave was to split them up. Still smiling when think about the whole thing.
We learn the Carver the gallery owner and manager is Peter’s boyfriend of six months and they’re crazy in love. What I liked about this was that for a short story you get just enough background information on the characters to know where they are coming from but also not so much that it makes the story longer than necessary. Again a brilliant piece of writing and plotting from Mary.
Carver is going to his family for Christmas and taking Peter with him. Peter will be meeting Carver’s family for the first time and he is a little nervous to say the least. This is also compounded by the fact that Carver needs to stay home to help his parents since his mum’s stroke. Big elephant in room and the first real test of their relationship. They don’t want to split up but if the are going to stay together and not have a long distance relationship then Peter has to bend and give. I loved this aspect as it’s one any relationship faces where the one has to bend for the good of the other but never making it one sided. It’s obvious that Carver’s parents now need him and as it is a close family then you are there for each other. Peter’s family background is completely different, scattered to the wind with no contact it means that he is entering unfamiliar territory.
However, when they arrive at Carver’s family home the warmth of the greeting and love that exudes from Carter’s mum is infectious and heart warming. A very hard weapon to fight when you are facing giving up your career in the big city. Carver’s family wins Peter over and after a wonderful conversation at the kitchen table with Carver’s mum there is no saying no anymore. She opens up to him about her brother and there I must admit I did get watery eyes and a lump in my throat. Peter wins over Carver’s father not that he is a difficult man but Peter breaks his stereotype of what it is to be gay. Peter likes hunting, can talk about sport, has a respected but “manly” job and through this wins over Carver’s father too. Peter is in love with Carver’s family just as much too. This whole scenario gave me a warm, cuddly, Christmassy feeling and I felt Peter had also found his family.
Mary packs a lot of mileage into an extremely short story but that is the art of good writing. A story that is rounded and whole and doesn’t leave you wanting more. A story that gave me the Christmas feelz and left me glowing and reaching for my next hot chocolate with a soppy sigh. Lovely!
I first heard Greg Tremblay when he narrated Mary’s other book Just Desserts and this got me thinking as to whether the style of a narrator can match the style and voice of an author. Well, I must say based on the two books I’ve now heard from Mary and Greg I can say in all honesty it probably does. He seems to have exactly the right voice to bring Mary’s writing style to it’s full glory. I’m sure he is just as good at narrating other books but for me Greg is now the narrative voice of Mary Calmes. Bringing her characters to full vivid life.
Meet Mary Calmes
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.
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