Tuesday, 14 March 2017

New Releases: Once in the Underworld and Just Words by Ofelia Gränd

Title: Once in the Underworld
Author: Ofelia Gränd
Language: English
Published: 14th March, 2017
Length: 31,500 words (135 pages) approx.
Publisher: Beaten Track
ISBN: 978 1 78645 119 4
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Erotic, Adult

Chris Hart owns the only grocery shop in Nortown, but he isn't exactly overrun by customers. Some days he wonders why he bothers to open the doors at all. Spending his days smiling at the few people that do trickle in and his nights alone in bed isn't the most interesting life a man could lead. But when Chris suddenly gets the excitement he's been craving, it may just be more than he bargained for.

Gabriel Miller loves his life. He's close to his sister, has a job he adores and is the proud owner of one and a half cats. But all of it is taken away when he witnesses a murder and, to keep him safe, the police place him in Nortown, of all possible locations.

Chris can't believe they're letting someone live in his gran's old cabin in the middle of the winter; it's too cold. When the poor man shows up in his shop looking to buy clothes, Chris's heart melts, despite the freezing temperature. Gabriel notices the way the shopkeeper looks at him, but it can't be right. No one looks at a heavyset man with heat in their eyes. Do they?

When the danger follows Gabe to Nortown, it's more than their chance at happiness that is threatened, and Chris and Gabe find themselves fighting just to stay alive.

Editor's Review:
Once in the Underworld is Book Four in Ofelia's Nortown series, and with each new instalment, she cranks it up a notch. For, whilst the series is intentionally an exploration of some of the main tropes in MM Romance, there is far more to it than that. In fact, aside from the overarching trope (on this occasion Fish out of Water, Beautiful all along - according to the author), there is a great deal of depth to the world and the characters which Ofelia has created.

The series is set in the remote (fictional) town of Nortown, which is in a forest and appears to have fairly inclement weather (on the chilly side). Needless to say, in a town like this, lumberjacking is the main form of employment, and most of our chaps are self-employed lumberjacks, plus their non-lumberjack love interests.

This time, we have two non-lumberjacks making a go of things, but I have to wonder...who will chop the wood? :o

First, there's Chris, who runs the local (and only) shop in town. He's a bi guy with a big heart. I actually love his exclamation of 'My God!' He just feels like an all-round good guy, and he's fiercely protective, but in a different way to Tristan (Once in a Snowstorm), Tom (Once in a Forest) and Zachary (Once in May). If the Nortown LGBT men were wolves, Chris would be the beta. But that's another trope for another story (and we've yet to meet the L and T folks of Nortown, not that I'm trying to put ideas in the author's head at all).

Then there's Gabriel. Gosh, he's so lovely! Well, he's an animal lover, so I may be a tiny bit biased, but he's just altogether humble, introvert and a bit lacking in confidence, not least because he's very conscious of his size. He's not a Nortown native, but ends up in 'a safe house' there after he witnesses a murder. Of course. Where else would he end up?

So, what's in your checked-cloth-covered package in this instalment?

- a good ole romance with sexy times
- a bit of crime thriller
- a sprinkling of the usual humour (Aiden's seat belt moment, Gabriel's observation - 'So there was a gay couple in Nortown.')
- excellent writing
- an amazing setting
- an all-round great read
- a happily ever after

* * * * *

Title: Just Words
Author: Ofelia Gränd
Language: English
Published: 14th March, 2017
Length: 6,400 words (32 pages) approx.
Publisher: Beaten Track
ISBN: ISBN: 978 1 78645 120 0
ASIN: B01N7Y6D46
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Erotic, Short Stories, Adult

Aiden leaves the security of his massage studio behind to rush into the woods when he hears Tristan has gone after some gun-carrying idiots from the city. He can't believe Tristan is willing to risk his life for some stranger.

What will Aiden do if Tristan is killed? He must stop him before it's too late. He can't lose Tristan. And neither gun-waving lunatics nor the frost-covered roads surrounding Nortown will keep him from getting his boyfriend to safety.

Editor's Review:
Just Words is another mini-instalment of the saga that is Tristan and Aiden's relationship. It starts where Once in the Underworld leaves off, so it's best read after that story because of spoilers.

Readers of the Nortown series will know by now that the Tristan/Aiden shorts are pure filth. Each one has Tristan wielding his axe and Aiden yelling 'cleave me' (or something), but Just Words...it's something else.

I suppose it's still a trope, in the sense that this is our 'established couple', but the best thing about that is getting to see the couple get to know each other, learn how to communicate and work through their hangups.

What that means is there's some incredibly intense dialogue in Just Words and a few loose ends resulting from it that I know Ofelia will return to, but I like that not all the answers are known.

Aiden is my second to least favourite character in the Nortown series (Jason holds the crown), and I really enjoyed watching another layer of his defensiveness peel back under Tristan's big, rough lumberjack hands.

* * * * *

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