Charlie Ryder has a colorful past, painful memories, and an embarrassing secret. After three years working for Leo Foster's construction company, Charlie's worst fears are realized, and Leo finds out what Charlie has worked so hard to hide. When Leo meets the revelation with absolute love and acceptance, Leo has to trust that Charlie's love isn't just gratitude, and Charlie has to learn to trust again, period. It's going to take a lot of work for these two men to get any closer.
©2011 Mary Calmes (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
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"I love Mary Calmes and Greg Tremblay!"
Talk about timing...I literally just re-read this story three days before it suddenly appeared in my Audible feed. Which meant I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to download it...until I saw who is narrating: Greg Tremblay. Ding, ding, ding! Instant download!
This short novella is entertainingly narrated by Greg Tremblay (naturally) who subtly brings out the nuances of this hurt/comfort story. This is one of Calmes' darker premise stories and I eat it up with a spoon every time. Leo is a lovable grump, and Charlie is obviously (to everyone but Leo) head over heels for Leo.
"I’ve been here, living in your world, for the past three years. I’ve seen you mad and happy and hurt and… I’ve seen it all, but never once, in all that time, have I seen what you look like when you’re in love. I wanna see that."
My only complaint, which is always the same with Calmes' novellas - I WANT MORE! I really like Leo and Charlie and want more of their story.
All in all the story is really enjoyable and Tremblay's narration is wonderful.
"Short and Sweet"
Another great Calmes/Tremblay collaboration. This is a really sweet, hurt/comfort story about Charlie and Leo. Charlie had a traumatizing experience while working as a porn star (yeah that's right) which has come out. Leo is his boss and the object of his secret crush. Leo is the classic Calmes clueless alpha male that doesn't think he can have someone like Leo. Leo is the insecure twink that doesn't think someone like Leo would be interested in damaged goods. Throw in a stupid ex just for good measure and you have a sweet little romance. Of course Greg Tremblay continues to make it all believable. Only complaint, it was too short.
"Not all sunshine and roses, well told though."
Yes, even if I did feel jipped at the end. Greg Tremblay's voice is mesmerizing.
When Charlie finally decides to go after what he knows is his.
He brought the characters to life with tones, inflections and subtle nuances.
Charlie, you just want him and Leo to end up together from the start.
Charlie Ryder has been working for Leo Foster for four years. In the early days, Charlie was skittish, scared of his own shadow. The poor guy would flinch if Leo blinked, withdrew if confronted. Leo did not treat him with kid gloves though, explaining to Charlie he had to get a grip and deal with whatever it was that haunted him. It was that honesty and the push from Leo to come to terms with his demons that helped Charlie make a life for himself after what had happened to him. When Leo hears about Charlie's past as a Gay porn star, there is no judgement, more resentment to the people in Charlie's life at that time for betraying him. When Leo's ex shows up in town, Charlie decides it's time to stop sitting quietly in the shadows. The dependable, shy, hard worker becomes a demanding little sex kitten. And Leo is at a loss, what to do with the man.
This is not a light hearted read guys, but it's not dark either, somewhere in the middle. Intense and emotional, especially when Charlie is re-living the past. As soon as Leo's friend starts telling him the story, Leo feels sick to his stomach, as did I. But Leo's no no nonsense attitude and faith in Charlie over the last three years has given Charlie strength he thought long gone. When Charlie decides to stake his claim, it gets a bit funny.
Narrated by Greg Tremblay, have I mentioned I love his voice? Well, I love his voice, all six hundred of them. Seriously, he manages to give every character their own distinct tone. Early on, I could still hear hesitation and regret in Charlie's voice when he talked. But by the end he knew exactly what he wanted and went after it by god. Leo was described as really tall and perhaps menacing looking, but getting to know him you would see he was assured not mean. He was exasperated a time or two and Tremblay captured that in his voice, it was hilarious.
I really enjoyed listening to this story, my only issue would be, the ending was a little anticlimactic for me. Again, I can understand why Leo would hesitate given Charlie's past. But it's been four years, come on now. I needed a steamier ending. Not necc porn on paper, but a skoch bit more than was given. Otherwise, fantastic story, definitely recommend it.
"Great short story"
-sigh- yea, I think it's happening. I think I'm failing in love Greg Tremblay's narration style. He was able to bring the emotion and care from each character that made you feel for them. I love Mary Calmes stories and this is another one to love.
"Mary and Greg are a GREAT pair"
Leo is the foreman of a construction crew with an employee, Charlie. Charlie started out with Leo three years ago, a scared, tentative soul who has slowly blossomed over time and is now one of Leo’s close friends.
One of Leo’s exes blows into town telling stories about Charlie’s past, making Charlie confess not just his past, but his present and hopefully future.
Leo is a clueless, golden-hearted man who seems to have no idea that Charlie’s been crushing on him for awhile now. Charlie sees Leo as safe in a world where he knows only pain and betrayal.
When Leo proves again that he can be trusted, Charlie finally makes his move.
I love these “super sweet, clueless men get the good guy end the end” type stories. Mary is wonderful for giving us these MCs who are almost too good to be true, but since they seem a little bit dense about it, they are utterly charming.
I loved how sweet Charlie was with Leo and how Leo made him feel safe and secure, regardless of his past.
It was a fun book to re-visit and I recommend as a lovely re-read to her fans, and if this is your first time reading this story you are in a for a treat!
Oh what a wonderful combination these two are: Mary and Greg! I love every single one of Greg’s narrations – he is easy to listen to, adds depth and emotion to each narration and does all that he can to give each character a unique voice. I especially loved Leo’s family in this narration – such characters!
Mary Calmes has a tendency to do novellas really well, but this was not one of those. It's good just not great, it was missing something that I usually find in her books. Maybe it needs a sequel, I didnt connect to either main charcter at all. Don't know if I'll be keeping this one. Greg Tremblay did a great job as all ways.
"Great short read"
This is one of my favorite Mary Calmes short stories. Greg Tremblay does a great job with the voices, giving Leo a deeper more mature voice while making Charlie sound younger. This is such a great shory story with humor and pathos.
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