When I first saw that Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov were collaborating on a book, my initial reaction was, “say what?” ::gaping maw:: Fresh off of Chase in Shadow and Dark Soul, my brain was having a difficult time processing it. Then I moved on to, “but they’re writing styles are so different, how will this work?” ::confusion:: Then my head caught up with the concept and I was all, “holy Jeebus, I think I just hit the motherload of fictional fortune here.” ::big grin::Then I grinned some more and preordered and have now read it, and now I’m grinning even bigger because, yeah, all’s right with my world.
If you’ve ever read a single word from either of these authors, you’ll know who wrote which character, and I think you’ll see where each author influenced the direction of the story. Owen Watson and Malcolm Kavanagh are both very distinct personalities, both strong and magnetic, each with his own appeal. Somewhere along the way in their cat-and-mouse game, the scales get thrown off balance, leverage becomes a back-and-forth pursuit, and that’s the heart of this book: Malcolm underestimates Owen at nearly every turn, and Owen turns Malcolm inside out and upside down, and sometimes the line blurs between who’s predator and who’s prey, which is oh so beautiful in its value to the direction this relationship-that-wasn’t-supposed-to-be takes. This wasn’t intended to be anything more than a one and done for either man, but lo and behold, the Dom gets blindsided by the stranger who waltzes right into his lair, and it quickly becomes clear this stranger is a man who knows how to yank a chain or two himself.
Owen’s the mousetrap in this relationship, and it doesn’t take long for Malcolm to start craving the bait that will effectively alter the way he sees life. When things coalesce, when Owen tips the scales and becomes more than a stranger, then leaves with so much left unsaid, Malcolm begins to understand that intimacy and need and hunger don’t equate to weakness and vulnerability, and he then yields to his desire for more with the man who has undone him.
Country Mouse is a sexy and salacious little story, every bit as good as I expected it would be. There’s none of that “if you love something, set it free” rubbish going on here. No, this is all about wanting and needing and giving and taking and letting go and then grabbing on, all at the same time. And, ah, the romance of it all. It was good stuff.
I hope these two authors decide to give another go at working together again. Soon.
Buy Country Mouse HERE.