Author ~ Avon Gale
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 28th December 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder aims ultimately to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he’s worth the investment.
Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers, who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder are to his taste.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
This story was an absolute delight to read. A quirky town, a good hearted distillery owner, a stuffy corporate-type with some hidden talents and a roomful of creepy dolls make for an entertaining visit to very small-town Kentucky.
It’s not really an enemies to lovers story, but Adam is the man from Lexington sent to evaluate Ryder’s family distillery to decide its fate – will the town lose the distillery or will it become a tourist town on the Bourbon Trail? Ryder has sold the family bourbon recipe in order to save the town, but now he fears that he may have not gotten as good a deal as he thought. So while Adam’s not the enemy, he is the man Ryder sees as holding the fate of the town of Gallows Grove in his hands, and while physically Ryder likes what he sees, Adam comes off as an over-educated, rich, stuffed suit.
Adam likes what he sees in Ryder and isn’t looking to ruin Ryder’s life. He’s just looking to get in and get out, hopefully without anyone in the town dying since he’s staying in the town’s funeral home. Under that suit and stuffy exterior, Adam is a lonely man with a knack for dirty talk and an appreciation of puns, which comes in handy in the quirky town full of businesses playing on the death theme. His life back in Lexington is less than exciting and his well-known family is not something he is really proud to be a part of.
Ryder and Adam spend their time together touring the town and the distillery, Ryder regaling Adam with tales of the town’s dicey history. When the sexual tension becomes undeniable the two decide to go for it. Might as well have some fun while they can. It turns out they have more in common than they ever expected. They banter well and they are combustible in bed. The sex scenes are seriously hot and I loved every minute of them. Adam has a filthy mouth and he knows how to use it. Once they have gotten to know each other in and out of bed, Ryder thinks he just might be ready for a relationship.
When it comes time for Adam to leave town is when the real trouble begins. It’s clear the men are great together and that there is potential for their relationship to continue long distance now that they are more emotionally involved, but does Adam even want that to happen? Ryder is ready, but Adam’s not so sure and though the book is pretty light on the angst, I could definitely feel Ryder’s hurt when Adam walks out to head back home.
The pace of the book was on target and Avon Gale kept the story moving with a light touch. The town’s businesses all have quirky, punny names which just helped to give me a real feel for the town of Gallows Grove. If you’re looking for a sexy romance, with plenty of fun and just a bit of tension as to how the MCs will resolve their issues, grab this book.
Meet Avon Gale
Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.
Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.
At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.