Caught! by JL Merrow

Caught! by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (240 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…

It’s hard to find a man that appreciates a good bow tie. Robert left his sordid past behind and tried to make a new start as a primary school teacher in a smaller village. He’s decidedly done with love and all its failings, or so he thinks. Sean is the uncle of two of Robert’s students and seems to be everything Robert can’t resist. He’s warm, generous, caring, and has a thing for men in bow ties. Despite Robert’s hesitations he can’t help being drawn to the other man but just when things seem to be going well, Robert’s past decides to make an appearance. Now if only Robert can figure out a way to explain or hide his past from Sean.

Caught! is the first book in a new series by JL Merrow. The author is often known for light comedic romance set in the UK and this definitely fits that description. Her writing is so clean and effortless to read that the pages always fly by much faster than I even realize. Humorous and delightfully quirky characters fill the pages creating an engaging and entertaining story from the start. Robert as the first person narrator is eccentric in the best possible way. He has an upper crust bearing and background, despite his turn at humbleness in the middle of his upbringing, but he fits well with down to earth pest control technician Sean. There is some minor attempt at tension between the two being from obviously different worlds but Sean is good hearted and easy going while Robert is a bit fussy and particular but they easily fit well together.

The story doesn’t offer much plot beyond Robert’s day-to-day activities as he lives his life and attempts to foster a relationship with Sean but for me that was the charm of the story. I loved reading about Robert’s 2E class and the adorable children portrayed. Robert’s family and friends are all interesting characters that sometimes steal the scenes they’re in. I especially loved Robert’s rather cliché female best friend that offered sage advice, but she was more genuine and honest than typical females the genre produces. The very British landscape of the village was homey and lent an easy cadence and tone to the writing. There’s not a lot of action or tension but I personally loved that about the book. I didn’t want or need more than well-developed characters, obvious chemistry, good writing, and a quickly moving story. It’s the type of story you curl up with on a chilly day and enjoy.

I clearly loved Caught! so I easily and eagerly recommend it. It won’t be for everyone though, as not all readers enjoy gentle romance with very little erotic sex. Also due to the lack of any real tension, the main couple gets together with relative ease and only minor miscommunications come up, I think this will appeal to readers that like that kind of ease within relationships. There is no instant love or overwrought devotion immediately but simply two men well suited that start a relationship. There are some bumps but overall it’s an easy outing with lots of humor. Exactly what I wanted.

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