Reviewed by Heather C
Title: The Billabong
Author: Jack Byrne
Series: Bushrangers #1
Heroes: Jim Kelly & Mark Turner
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 70 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 27, 2013
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Having long ago lost his wife and children, cattleman Jim Kelly works the family farm in the harsh 1800s Australian outback, most days wondering why he bothers. That question is foremost in his mind when a venomous snake takes him by surprise. Another surprise comes when a skilled doctor is in the vicinity to save his life. But the third, and biggest, surprise for Jim is falling hard and fast for that man.
Life on the lam is tough, and bushranger Mark Turner simply wants to maintain his freedom as long as he’s able. Unfortunately, being a doctor, his conscience won’t let him leave a snakebite victim to die. Before he thinks about the consequences of his humanitarian actions, he’s both saved Jim and become smitten with him. But considering how Mark’s past could negatively impact any possibility of a future, maybe falling in love wasn’t such a great idea after all.
I am completely in love with Jim and Mark!!
The Billabong is the first short novella in the Bushrangers series and tells the story of two men in the Australian Outback in 1875.
While building a fence to organize his cattle, widower Jim Kelly is bitten by a venomous snake. Mark Turner, a stranger, just happens to be there in the right place at the right time to save Jim’s life. Once Jim is back on his feet, Mark is determined to stay along for a while until Jim gets over his weaknesses and help him at his camp. But Jim is starting to look at Mark in a way he has never looked at another man…and Mark’s past is soon to catch up with him.
A few thoughts:
The setting was beautiful with the billabong and the indigenous plants and animals. I could easily imagine every detail.
It’s heavy on Australian verbiage…thankfully there is a nice glossary at the beginning of the story. I still had to look up a few words though.
I loved the slow burning attraction between Jim and Mark. I did get a slight sense of D/s with the bondage in the first sex scene and Mark’s forcefulness in the second. I’m curious to see if anything comes of this in the later stories.
I hate that the story was so short because I wanted to see more of that sexual build up and of Jim further accepting what he and Mark were doing together. But even with it being so short, I did find their “love” for each other easily believable…I just wanted to see more of them falling for each other.
There was a bit of suspense that I never saw coming and I found that to be an interesting twist to the story.
Even though it ended with a HFN, it still left me with a huge smile on my face. I’m looking forward to reading more about Jim and Mark in the next story Walkabout.
Overall Impression: I Really Liked It
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*