Reviewed by Elizabetta
TITLE: The Dreams You Made In The Dirt
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry
LENGTH: 23 ,802 words (53 pages)
MC1 (maybe 18-20 yrs?) grew up hard in a dysfunctional family in a small remote community. His mother is gone and no-one will say what happened to her. His father has always been abusive physically and emotionally. No-one has ever stood up for him. He is smaller than average, making him a target for torment, but has had to learn how to fight for himself. He has the soul of a healer- naturally gentle and empathetic- but has learned not to trust as any time he has given himself emotionally he has been smacked down. Despite the way he is treated, he has never been allowed to leave and has nowhere to go as he has no education, money or friends/family to fall back on. When his father find out MC1 is gay (not that he has had a chance to act on it), MC1 is bashed and left for dead miles from home.
MC2 (maybe 28-32 yrs?) is a loner who has his own demons in his past (maybe ex-military/ex-con?). He is a natural alpha – protective and dominant. He finds MC1 and cares for him as he heals. Contrary to his promise to himself to stay detached, he feels a pull to MC1 and hates the sadness and despair in the eyes of his charge. He fights himself and MC1 as he finds he badly wants to earn MC1’s trust. Who knows what can happen after that?
They are both capable of so much if they can find the right balance. I see the opportunity some emotional, hot scenes as they each give in to their natural instincts.
I’d love a HEA for these two battered souls.
Gentle and tender, heartbreaking and full of tension. This is about abuse and overcoming it.
John (Cole), an Iraq war vet, has returned to his recently deceased uncle’s home to get it ready for sale. When Cole’s car breaks down on the way, tow truck operators, Aiden, and his father, Phil, show up for the tow.
There is a subtle, almost shy awareness between Cole and Aiden that slowly spins out in the story. Both of them are suffering from some type of abuse— war-related PTSD in Cole’s case— it’s the connection that they share. For Aiden, it’s the crushing mental and physical abuse suffered at the hands of an alcoholic, homophobic father.
This is so hurty-comforty good— where ‘black dirt under his fingernails’ reminds Aiden of his early childhood play-dreams. And brings back bittersweet memories of a long-gone mother:
“He remembered her hosing off his filthy legs before letting him back into the house. “Look at you!”
“Are you mad?”
“Why would I be mad?”
“I’m covered in mud.”
“Are you sure that’s mud? I thought you were covered in the dreams you made in the dirt.”
A lovely title for a lovely novella. The author has a way of drawing you in to Aiden’s confusion and pain and fear. The increase in tension that builds up in the story is palpable, very effective. I was holding my breath in some scenes.
Incredible to think that this richly told, well-made story about two men finding hope and comfort in each other, is spun out in less than one hundred pages. This is an emotional read— and thought-provoking. Delivered with clean, crisp writing and some very clever plotting. Highly recommended. I loved this!
(This story is FREE, donated by the author to the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s 2014 writing event, Love’s Landscapes. Follow the link to download the story: http://www.mmromancegroup.com/the-dreams-you-made-in-the-dirt-by-lisa-henry/)