By: JL Merrow | Other books by JL Merrow
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Jul 19, 2011
ISBN # 9781609285012
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Jul 19, 2011
ISBN # 9781609285012
Word Count: 29,934
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub
Muscling Through by JL Merrow - Romance>LGBTQ>GayThe bigger they come, the harder they fall... in love.
Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.
Larry's intrigued to find there's more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry's class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.
Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.
Warning: Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.
Reader Rating: 4.5 (61 Ratings)
Excerpt:Copyright © 2011 JL Merrow
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
People always ask how me and Larry met, and Larry tells this really complicated story how he thought he was going to be mugged or raped or something, and then I came along, and everyone always laughs, but it wasn’t like that, really. See, I’d just been to the pub with Daz and Phil and a couple of other lads. We was supposed to be cheering Phil up ’cause he’d broken up with his girlfriend, Leanne, who works on the checkout at Lidl, but some of them were pissing me off going on about poofs, so I left early. I got caught short on the way home, so I stopped to have a wazz in the street. I mean, I checked to make sure there wasn’t no one there before I got my cock out. I didn’t want to shock no one.
But it took a while, ’cause I’d had a few pints, so by the time I was almost finished, this bloke had turned into the street. I could hear his footsteps, so I looked up, ’cause I didn’t want no one sneaking up on me when I had my cock out, and there he was. I mean, it was Larry, but I didn’t know that then. I just saw this really pretty guy in a posh suit. He had browny-blond hair, like straw that’s been left out in the rain—I don’t mean it was messy or nothing, it was just that mix of colours, like it couldn’t make its mind up if it wanted to be yellow or brown. And his face was kind of delicate, and he was really little. Way shorter than me. Skinny too. I like them skinny. And he was looking at my cock. So I smiled at him, ’cause he was pretty, and then I zipped up and headed his way. Which was my way home, I mean. I wasn’t planning to make a pass or nothing, ’cause I could tell he was too posh for me.
“Shit,” he said, and he started backing up like he was scared or something. “Ah, sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
I wasn’t sure what he was on about, so I smiled again. He looked like he was about to piss himself, and I didn’t like it, you know? It’s not right, people being scared like that. “You look like you’re about to piss yourself,” I told him when I got close.
“Shit,” he said again, and he sort of leaned against the wall and closed his eyes like he wasn’t feeling well, so I stopped and leaned over him.
“You should let me take you home,” I said, ’cause I was worried he might not make it on his own. “Nice-looking bloke like you, stuff could happen. You meet all sorts on these streets. I saw a bloke getting the crap beat out of him last week just a couple of streets from here.”
“You want money?” he said, and he was shaking a bit. “I’ve got money.”
I didn’t say nothing for a bit, ’cause he was confusing me, and I don’t like making a prick of myself. See, you keep your mouth shut, most times people don’t realise you don’t know what they’re on about. So I just took his arm and set off down the alley, ’cause that was the way he’d been going. He came along with me all right, but he was still shaking. “You live near here?”
“No! Er, yes—please don’t hurt me!”
I didn’t say nothing for a bit, ’cause I didn’t understand why he thought I’d do that. I thought he must have had a lot to drink.
“Your mates shouldn’t of let you go home on your own,” I told him. See, he’s just a little thing; you’d need about three of him to make one of me. “You’re such a little thing.”
“Oh God,” he said, and his voice was all thin and shaky, like the rest of him. “Look, take my wallet, please?”
So I stopped while he got his wallet out, and he had his driving licence in there, so I read his name—Lawrence Morton—and his address. “Fifteen Bewdsley Close, Cambridge. That’s that posh bit near the river,” I said to prove I’d read it. I tried to give him his wallet back, but he had his eyes shut again, so I put it in my pocket. I think he needed to get to bed. “I’m going to get you home and in bed,” I told him.
He wasn’t walking too good, so I put my arm round his skinny little waist. I could have snapped him in half. “I could snap you in half,” I said, and I smiled so he’d know it was a joke, but he still had his eyes shut.
We went down the back ways ’cause it’s quicker and I wasn’t sure how long he was going to be able to stand up. I mean, I could have carried him easy, but I thought he might have thrown up on me, and I didn’t fancy that, no matter how pretty he was. He was all pale and shaky still. “This it?” I asked when we got to number fifteen. It was a nice place—one of those terraced houses, all tall and thin with no front garden and a skylight into the basement. Pretty windows.
“Yes—please, you’ve been really kind helping me home, but I’ll be fine now,” he said, but he looked funny when he said it, so I didn’t think I ought to leave him till he was safe inside. His hands were shaking, and the key skidded on the lock, so I took it from him and opened the door.
“You didn’t ought to drink so much,” I told him as I went in. I thought I’d better make sure he had a glass of water or something, or he’d be feeling like crap in the morning. He looked funny, like he was going to run away or something, which would have been a bit weird as there I was in his house and him still standing on the doorstep. I grabbed his arm and pulled him in after me, in case he was so drunk he’d forgotten this was where he lived. “You got a kitchen?”
“Yes—this way,” he said, like he’d just woken up, and he darted through a door. I was surprised he could move so quick, him being drunk and all, so I let go of his arm and just followed him into the kitchen.
He was standing by a knife block with this big knife in one hand and a phone in the other. I thought, he’s going to have trouble trying to dial one-handed. “I’m calling the police,” he said in this funny high voice.
I didn’t get why he wanted the police, but the knife in his hand was shaking all over the shop, so I went and took it off him before he could hurt himself. Then he sort of collapsed down on the floor and said, “Please don’t hurt me” again.
“Okay,” I said, and I took the knives over to the other side of the kitchen and got the biggest mug I could find and filled it with water. I held it out to him, but he had his eyes shut again and didn’t take it. “You should drink this. Then you won’t feel so bad in the morning.”
He looked up, and his brown eyes were all wild-looking. “No drugs!”
“Good,” I said, ’cause drugs and stuff are really bad for you. I put the mug down where he could reach it and sat cross-legged on the floor so I could keep an eye on him, ’cause he was freaking me out a bit. It wasn’t very comfortable. I got big thighs.
“Please go,” he said. “Just take my money—take anything—and go.”
I didn’t get why he wanted me to take something, but he seemed really worried about it. So I looked around, and he had a bowl of fruit on the side, so I grabbed an apple, ’cause I always get hungry after I’ve been drinking. “I’ll take this, okay?” Then I left him there, but I took the knives and I hid them in the hall cupboard, just in case.
Reader Reviews (13)
Submitted By: gemmery on Sep 29, 2015Interesting. It's unusual to read a book written from the perspective of someone who seems a bit "simple", for want of a better word. Unfortunately I didn't emotionally connect particularly with either of the main characters so that limited how much I could enjoy the story.
Submitted By: boekenworm on Jan 13, 2015Great story, a bit to short because i really liked it. And it´s got humor, a very funny story.
Submitted By: CynicalRomantic on Jan 9, 2015I quite enjoyed this short book. It's very, very British. I found Larry and Al's first meeting really funny and I was actually laughing out loud at how ridiculous Larry was being. I really liked Al as well. He's one of those guys who looks really threatening but is just a big, sweet marshmallow of a man on the inside. True opposites attract story with great characters.
Submitted By: Jazyq on Jun 10, 2014A definite "opposites attract" story but it is well-written and the relationship feels real and not fabricated. A nice, sweet read if you are looking for something a bit different.
Submitted By: enjoy on Jan 29, 2014Love this author and her characters I liked how their relationship developed, both the physical aspect and the emotional side.
Submitted By: radio* on Jan 19, 2014This was a short, light, happy and did I mention happy read. I've been wanting to read a book that would leave me smiling from start to finish and this was it. Al & Larry shared a love that many search for and few find. They accepted each other for who and what they were without demanding changes. They saw what was good and right in the other. It was simple story, told through Al's eyes. It was a beautiful love story.
Submitted By: VioletD on Jan 28, 2013I liked this book so much I've read it three times. It's a beautiful love story about two very different people who just seem to work together so well. This story is sweet, funny, and cute. If you looking for book that will leaved you with a smile on your face, this is the book for you.
Submitted By: lilandra on Jan 27, 2013It was a cute book a bit strange because it was from the POV of a man that was a bit simple but still good. there wasn't any real explicit sex scene though
Submitted By: amie/1968 on Jan 26, 2013Short, cute, funny and sexy. Leaves the reader feeling all warm and fuzzy
Submitted By: tynydragon on Jan 6, 2013Absolutely love this book! if your new to the gay romance genre this is a great way to start. Al and Larry are opposite ends of the spectrum. Al is tough but simple and Larry teaches at a university. How they meet in the alley is funny and how they stay together is sweet and the sex is smokin!
Submitted By: bookfiendno1 on Dec 26, 2011I loved this book and will read it again and again. The characters were refreshing. Extremely unique. A joy to read and a very pleasant way to spend a few hours. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book.
Submitted By: aramack on Aug 7, 2011Sweet, funny and sappy. One of the better books here. Highly recommended!
Submitted By: dozyllama on Aug 5, 2011Thoroughly enjoyable. I loved Al so much. He has such a gentle soul. My only complaint would be in the length - it was far to short for me. I would love to go back and read more after they have been married for a few years. Please.