A Heart Back Home by Andrew Grey

A Heart Back Home by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Self published
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Clay Kartwell loses his job and gets a call from his estranged father asking for his help back on the family farm, all on the same day. Clay knows he has to return home, even though it’s the last thing he wants to do. Some things back home are best left unremembered.

Dell Warrington was Clay’s unrequited high school crush and the man he least wants to see. He’s everything Clay remembered and more, including the father of four-year-old Archie. But Dell hasn’t had it easy either, and not everything is as it seems.

Clay sets out to save the farm and bring in the crops with Dell’s help. Old assumptions fall to the side as the two men reconnect, and the second chance that Clay never knew he wanted seems within his grasp. But Clay left the farm for a reason, and reconciliation with his stoic father won’t be easy. When his city life offers a new opportunity, he must decide whether to accept what he knows, or follow his heart.

Clay had known he was gay since he was a teenager with the biggest crush ever on school hunk Dell. But then Clay’s mother died, his relationship with his father grew beyond surly and Dell blew hot and cold, confusing the hell out of Clay. When school finished, Clay had had enough and left for the bright lights of the town, determined not to return. Five years later, however, Clay finds himself between jobs and his father calls, urgently needing Clay’s help on the farm for a few weeks. When Clay returns, Dell is one of the first people he bumps into and Clay discovers he isn’t the only one who has grown up since school finished.

I really enjoyed this emotional and well written small town romance. I absolutely loved that while Clay had left and grown into a young man during his stint in the city, he didn’t pretend to know everything or act like being in the city had made him better or more worldly or anything like that. At heart Clay was just a more mature version of the small-town boy he had always been. I also really like the fact that even though Dell has a small son and had been confused about his sexuality during their high school years, he didn’t let his popularity with the ladies get to his head or his ego. Basically, while there were understandable small problems with both Clay and Dell – and the fact there was a massive amount of baggage to be fixed between them – they were both good, solid, reliable men and characters who I could root for from pretty much the beginning. This made the book a lot more palatable to me.

I admit that I felt the conflict and tension between Clay and his father was just a little overdrawn. I was pleased that this was where much of the plot tension resided and in general felt it was well handled, but at times it felt like there was just a little too much mis-communication and mis-understandings between Clay and his dad. I can totally appreciate the older gent was a stubborn farmer and well set in his ways – and communication is often not a strong suit with these types of men, so it was logical and realistic. I also appreciated how in this singular instance Clay didn’t shine brightly – he was expecting the worst in many respects from his dad and made his own assumptions and generalizations, so it was nice to see that Clay was not perfect. I just couldn’t help but feel this side of the plot was a little overdrawn for my personal tastes.

I was thrilled with the depth to both Clay and Dell’s characters, these were interesting and layered men who I enjoyed getting to know and in particular who I enjoyed watching them re-learn each other both personally and physically. I thoroughly enjoyed there was a small but important cast of secondary characters – Dell’s son Archie, Clay’s dad and Clay’s best friend Alan. The characters and the emotion of Clay and Dell reconnecting and learning to trust and love each other was delightful to read and I was so pleased the author didn’t rush through this part of the process between them. While there is some deliciously hot sex between them, I found this to be a deeply emotional book and one that focused on the relationship and connections between the men – not just their sizzle in the bedroom.

Hot and wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am eager to read the next in the series.

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