Title : Barging In
Author : Josephine Myles
Publisher : Samhain Publishing
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 288 pages (e-book)
Published : September 20, 2011
Rated : ★★★★
When the boat’s a rockin’, don’t come knockin’!
Out-and-proud travel writer Dan Taylor can’t steer a boat to save his life, but that doesn’t stop him from accepting an assignment to write up a narrowboat holiday. Instead of a change of pace from city life, though, the canal seems dull as ditchwater. Until he crashes into the boat of a half-naked, tattooed, pierced man whose rugged, penniless appearance is at odds with a posh accent.
Still smarting from past betrayal, Robin Hamilton’s “closet” is his narrowboat, his refuge from outrageous, provocative men like Dan. Yet he can’t seem to stop himself from rescuing the hopelessly out-of-place city boy from one scrape after another. Until he finds himself giving in to reluctant attraction, even considering a brief, harmless fling.
After all, in less than a week, Dan’s going back to his London diet of casual hook-ups and friends with benefits.
Determined not to fall in love, both men dive into one week of indulgence…only to find themselves drawn deep into an undertow of escalating intimacy and emotional intensity. Troubled waters neither of them expected…or wanted.
Product Warnings :
Contains one lovable tart, one posh boy gone feral, rough sex, alfresco sex, vile strawberry-flavoured condoms, intimate body piercings, red thermal long-johns, erotic woodchopping, an errant cat, a few colourful characters you wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, and plenty of messing about on the river.
Dan Taylor is a travel writer that takes an assignment to cover a narrowboat holiday. Dan knows nothing about boating other than the brief lesson given by the people where he hired the boat. While making his way along the canal he is distracted by the sight of a hunky, tattooed man chopping wood. He is so distracted he runs into the man’s narrowboat. Not exactly the best first impression.
Robin Hamilton is the owner of the boat, Serendipity. The one Dan happens to hit. Robin is gruff and surly and makes it known he does not think highly of tourists. Even so, he helps Dan out and gives him some boating advice.
The difference between these two men is a gap wider than the canal. Dan is a free spirit, openly gay and a bit promiscuous. Dan has no intentions of settling into a relationship and makes no pretense otherwise. Robin is a mess. He is a rebellious young man, still dealing with resentments from his childhood, a learning disability that was never really addressed and a relationship that ended tragically with a young man named Jamie. He resists the feelings that emerge when he meets Dan; not wanting to be involved with someone he feels is slutty. Robin also has issues with being gay and insists he is bi. His view of how gay men behave coming from the baggage he is carrying around from his relationship with Jamie.
Dan meets another boater named Mel. Mel is a woman boater that befriends him and helps him meet other boaters for Dan to interview and photograph. Dan becomes more involved in the boater culture and he continues to come in contact with Robin. They eventually decide the attraction is too strong to deny and go for a casual fling for the week that Dan has left on assignment. As the men get to know one another, they learn more about one another, share histories and make an emotional attachment that neither is expecting or wanting. We learn why Robin has the attitude he does towards Dan’s freedom loving ways and why Dan wants to remain that way. There is a large amount of misunderstandings and trust issues before we get to our HEA.
I had a hard time liking Robin. He is gruff and angry and I thought his treatment of Dan bordered on abusive upon their initial encounter. I was not sure why Dan accepted it or wanted to continue without having more of an emotional attachment. Robin’s insecurities and jealousy dominated the relationship building and Dan’s tendency to view sex casually only made it worse. The scene involving the birthday “present” kind of showcased how each man viewed monogamy to me.
Although I was not always comfortable with the relationship, it was obvious Dan and Robin connected on a deeper level than just sex. However, I had a hard time seeing exactly what that was and it felt a bit one-sided at times with Dan having to change more than Robin.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I have read an anthology by Ms Myles that had a story involving narrowboats before. This lifestyle fascinates me and I loved the descriptions of the cities, canals, boats and people. There is a whole cast of eccentric characters to round out the story. Dan’s and Robin’s mother’s play an important part in helping us understand where these two men come from and how their personalities were formed. I love Ms Myles style of storytelling and will definitely continue to read her books.
Rated 4 Stars by Deb