Reviewed by Morgan
Title: The Marine Next Door
Author: Terry O’Reilly
Heroes: Julian Reynolds/Tate Butler
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 79 Pages
Publisher: JMS Books
Release Date: January 3, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Schoolteacher Julian Reynolds is disillusioned with the seedier side of gay life in New York City with its self-absorption, vanity, and preoccupation with sex. When his long-time relationship with his high school sweetheart ends, he returns to his hometown and vows to live a simple life free of the extremes of the gay lifestyle and romantic entanglements. With that end in mind, he rents the carriage house next door to a large Tudor-style home.
Tate Butler, a former student of Julian’s, lives in the big house with his mother. Tate is bitter and withdrawn after losing a leg while serving in the Marine Corps during the war in Afghanistan. Fearing rejection from his mother and blaming himself for his father’s death, Tate stays firmly in the closet and punishes himself by refusing to learn how to walk again.
Can Tate and Julian help heal each other’s pasts and forge a real and lasting future together? Or will the driveway that separates their houses prove too wide a gulf to cross?
Review: Julian is tired of all the gay men in his circle of friends, both in New York and back in his hometown. He just wants to find some time alone and settle back in to being a teacher in his hometown, without male distractions.
Tate was the football hero and golden boy until he went to war and lost a leg. Now he’s depressed and hiding his sexuality because he feels guilty about a lot of things in his life.
When Julian moves into Tate’s carriage house, they remember each other fondly for a minute, then move right into sexual attraction. Neither resists for long, and the questions remain: can Tate get over his guilt and enjoy life again, will Julian admit he’s been looking for someone special?
This was a novella, so things move fast. There is almost no sexual tension built between Tate and Julian, and so it’s pretty anticlimactic when they get involved.
I thought Tate’s reason for feeling guilty seemed a bit strained, and his ability to turn life around so suddenly felt unrealistic. I also balked at the idea that at practically no time did Julian even consider that Tate was his student, nor did they discuss the age gap, etc. I thought Julian’s ex felt like a caricature of the evil ex and he didn’t seem at all likable, so it made me wonder what Julian saw in him at all. Add to this the mother’s reaction, and I felt like the story just moved too quickly and easily to be really gripping or to immerse me in the lives of the MCs.
It wasn’t poorly written, and the basic storyline – though quick – was nice and I enjoyed the HEA.
Overall Impression: It was good
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*