Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: His Mossy Boy
SERIES: Beings in Love #8
AUTHOR: R. Cooper
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 350 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 11, 2017
Years ago, a very intoxicated Martin nearly died in the woods outside Everlasting, and a beautiful creature saved him, although Martin’s done his best to forget it. He spends his time in a haze of weed as he avoids his emotionally abusive mother—and the way he feels about men. Martin is already a weirdo in his isolated small town; he doesn’t need a sexuality crisis too. He’s a mess, but someone—or something—always seems to take care of him, usually a tall, sarcastic deputy by the name of Ian Forrester.
No one knows much about Ian, which is how he and his family prefer it. Ian has resigned himself to a lonely life keeping his secrets and guarding his forest. It’s safe to dream of Martin, because Martin never remembers Ian helping him. Besides, Martin barely speaks to Ian, so nothing can ever grow between them. Right?
But with the dragons—and the magic—back in Everlasting, suddenly anything seems possible, even a happily ever after for two men who never expected one…
His Mossy Boy, the latest in R. Cooper’s Beings Series takes place not long after the ending of Treasure for Treasure. While Zarrin and Joe (MCs of Treasure) are finally starting to settle into their lives together, that doesn’t mean everyone else in Everlasting is doing just as well. Specifically the main characters of this story, Martin–who works at the cafe with Joe–and Ian–who is a sheriff’s deputy (and something a bit more).
Martin, plagued by an verbally abusive mother and a lifetime of self-doubt/hatred, is barely coping with life. Whenever he isn’t working, and sometimes when he is, he is high or drunk or both. Mostly just so he can forget that he will probably never be the man anyone wants him to be. But even if he doesn’t want to admit it, there are people in Everlasting who love him and want to protect him. And at the front of that line is always going to Ian Forrester.
Ian has lived his life trying to not be noticed. It was drilled into him by his father–who probably learned it from his–that to be noticed can cost him his life. Because Ian is not all that he would like others to think he is–if they must think of him at all. Beings like him–those who are not Dragons, or Weres, or Faries–tended to be overlooked by humans; but they were never spared humanities hatred in the past either. So he has lived a life of solitude and watchfulness, determined to be no more of interest than his trees. Which works right up until the day he finds a drunk, shoe-less, freezing cold Martin under his favorite tree. After that…well let’s just say Ian would break a whole world full of rules to protect Martin. Even if Martin can never do the same for him.
I don’t think I will ever get tired of the books in this series. If R. Cooper, for some reason, decided to write another hundred stories set in this world, I wouldn’t complain one bit. Except maybe that series rereads would take like a solid month of reading. Other than that…bring it on.
Because there is just something about the way Cooper is able to mix our-world issues with being-world motivations and reactions. Yet also doing it in a way that seem completely relevant to the story and the characters. Dealing with race, gender, sexuality, and other sticky topics in this alternate reality is a nice way to keep things relevant but also new and interesting.
I loved how this book took on Martin’s sexuality. And not just because it didn’t sweep the “bi” under the rug and then shove the rug into a closet. Mostly I liked how it showed Martin’s struggle. Not only with himself, but with other people. He didn’t know what he was exactly–and the label to him wasn’t the important part anyways–but attempts at trying to be anything but what his mother wanted (or, really, demanded) of him were fraught with a mountain of baggage in the way. His trek over all baggage was a bit of slow crawl, but watching it happen was just damn good reading. I tend to be in favor of slow, emotionally laden stories over the ones with high-dramatics, so this book worked for me.
However, I will admit, that unlike some of the other books in this series, you could really feel every single one of the 350 pages here. When I say it was a “slow crawl” I do mean it. Did I enjoy the story despite that? Yeah. But I wasn’t so sucked into this story, like some of the others, that I couldn’t feel it either. If these kinds of slow-build stories are not usually for you, I can easily see this book being a bit of a hard time.
If you can push through that though, I really think it has some great characters worth reading about. Not to mention you get more of Zarrin and Joe (and a kind of wrap up of their whole situation) in this story as well.
This isn’t my favorite of the series, but it was good solid 4-star, would absolutely recommend, book. The slow pace can be a bit daunting, but sweet emotional heart-fuck that comes with it makes it more than worth it.