In the Middle of Somewhere
by Roan Parrish
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Publisher: Monster Press
Book #1 in the Middle of Somewhere series
Number of pages: 416
Source: Amazon Purchase
Contemporary Romance M/M
Ages 17 and up
Read 6/27/21 to 6/30/21
Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
You guys know I love a story that is set in my home state of Michigan. Over the last year I have discovered Roan Parrish and found that I also love her stories. Put the two together and it’s magic for me. But I think it will be magic for anyone who enjoys a heartfelt love story about two people finding happiness and acceptance.
For anyone who has ever been on a road at night in the middle of nowhere Michigan, you know how right the author got the atmosphere at the beginning of this story. I will admit that Daniel was not endearing himself to me with his thoughts on my dear state. Being the city boy that he is, it’s to be expected. Just as the small up north Michigan town growing on him is to be expected.
Rex is all that I love about a Roan Parrish main character. Quiet, prickly, gruff, hard to read…with a soft and mushy inside. Rex is so darn romantic. And Daniel, having not ever had a relationship where someone actually takes care of him and gives of themselves to him, doesn’t even realize that’s what is happening at first. We eventually find out that Rex has been through the ringer himself, so he doesn’t know how to act when Daniel veers outside what he expects. Both of these characters need a heaping load of unconditional love. Daniel’s self-esteem is so low, it never occurs to him that the take-charge guy that is Rex could have doubts about himself.
Although I don’t have the same baggage as Daniel, I found myself really connecting with him. I highlighted so many of his inner thoughts as I was reading this book. Which made his screw-ups and heartaches all the more visceral for me. I wanted to protect him from his family and from himself when he let the ingrown family stuff sway his actions and attitudes.
Rex and Daniel set the page on fire with just a look, just a glancing touch. Their chemistry is amazing and beautiful. The way they fit together and compliment each other is breathtaking. As has been the case with every book I’ve read by this author, when I was finished I just had to sit and let it all sink in, all the while wondering how I can pick up another book after the amazing journey I just had in its pages.
I can’t end this review without showing you this exchange. I believe my fellow Michiganders will get a kick out of it. Daniel is at a conference in Detroit and runs across an old friend from Philly. When his friend asks him if he’s now working in Michigan, Daniel learns about Up North…
“Yeah, up north of Traverse City. Crazy.”
“Ooh, already saying Up North. Very Michigan of you.”
“You know, Up North?”
At my vacant expression, Andre says, “Up North is the northern lower peninsula, like where you live. Of course, everyone in Michigan will make a different argument about where exactly you can draw the line that indicates where Up North begins. It can get very heated.”
I smile and shake my head.
“Fucking Michigan,” I say.
Seriously, when Daniel says, “Fucking Michigan” I started cracking up. I’m easily amused!