Recovery by CB Potts
Adam can't wait to get back to civilian life after months of military life in a war zone. Things don't go as he plans, though, when his Army buddy and lover dumps him without so much as goodbye, and his family starts pressuring him to make decisions he's not ready to deal with.A beautifully written short piece featuring a soldier returning from Iraq. Ms. Potts addresses the difficulties faced by veterans when arriving home, and attemping to incorporate themselves into their families and the routine of daily life. Not only does she show us the soldier's perspective, but we also see how their plight can affect the family unit. The fact that our hero is gay doesn't really play a big factor in the first part of this story as the focus stays on his difficulties adjusting to everyday life after war, and Adam is still in the closet.
When Adam does tell his dad his plan for the future, his father asks him to wait long enough to help out an old friend who lives in Texas, and sends Adam off to decompress some in the back country. There, Adam finds Calvin, a man who knows what it's like to be lost, and who knows just what Adam needs to find his way again.
Can Calvin and Adam clean up Calvin's land, and Adam's life?
There is sexual tension in the scenes between Adam and Calvin and the story definitely gains momentum once Adam goes to the Texas ranch to attempt recovery. Calvin is an older man with a past. A past that is not explored in this book, but that we know is tied to Adam's father. This is a May/December pairing with lots of possibilities.
A happily for now ending was expected, although I found it to be quite abrupt. I knew there was a sequel and had it waiting for me. The characters drew me enough to want to read it immediately.
M/M Romance: Grade B
Find this book here. Read an excerpt here.
Recovery Ranch by CB Potts
Adam and Calvin are still living and loving on Calvin's ranch in back country Texas in this sequel to Recovery. Adam's time at the ranch has helped him a lot, and he and Calvin figure there must be other veterans who could use time on the ranch to find their own peace.
Before they can start, though, they need to get the ranch ready for the men who'll come to heal. They also need to deal with their own relationship as it grows and changes. Then there's Adam's father, who's none too happy to find out that his old friend has become his son's lover.
Will Calvin and Adam be able to survive their trials and tribulations and find the healing and peace they're looking for not only for others, but for themselves as well?
Ms. Potts continues Adam and Calvin's story. In Recovery Ranch she focuses on their developing relationship. Adam is obviously going through the trauma that is PTSD and Calvin is there for him. I chose C.B. Potts books for the Challenge because I fell in love with her writing, while reading one of her very short pieces in an anthology. Ms. Potts does not disappoint in her writing style in Recovery Ranch. She makes you feel Calvin's angst, his desperation at their age differences, and his love for Adam.
"God damn, babe," Calvin said. "Look at you."
Adam turned his head to see. "Am I shining?"
"You have no idea."
It was like touching an angel, perfect and pure, Calvin thought. He'd had his share of lovers over the years, some young, some pretty, some precious, few both. None had had this radiance about them, this almost inescapable force that drew him in, made him look.
It was moths to the campfire, that's what it was. Or more properly, Calvin reflected, with a wry little smile, it was a moth that had seen him a bunch of citronella lawn candles coming up cold on a big old bonfire, ten feet tall and blazing bright.
Nothing could compare.
"Tell me," Adam urged.
Calvin stopped watching the passage of his hand, even now still starkly tan against Adam's white flesh, to meet Adam's eyes. "Boy, I can't." There was real pain in the words, rent from somewhere between contemplation and comprehension. "There just ain't the words for it."
This just made my disappointment with the end of this book keener. I wasn't disappointed in her characterization -- I fell in love with the characters -- or in her writing. No, both were excellent. My disappointment came with the end of this story. When you have more questions at the end of a book than answers, and the resolutions are temporary ones, then for me there's a definite problem. Not only did I have questions that surfaced in this book, but there are questions still left unanswered from the first installment, Recovery.
I don't mind sequels, in fact I read sequels, but not when the set up for the next book is so obvious that most of the questions/problems are left hanging -- not when the book feels as if these were chapters taken out of a larger book, something left unfinished. Recovery Ranch was a frustrating read for me in the end and for that reason alone, I could not give it a higher grade, even though I wanted to.
M/M Romance: Grade C
You can find this book here. Read an excerpt here.
Originally posted on Musings of a Bibliophile on July 14, 2009