Book Reviews

In the Middle of Somewhere (Middle of Somewhere 1) by Roan Parrish at Monster Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 25-November-2019

Book Blurb

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in. 

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. 

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, July 2015.

Book Review

It most definitely was the description that drew me to 'In the Middle of Somewhere' as this is a new-to-me author. Something pulled at me and I suspect, oh who am I fooling, I know it was because of the potential for two main characters with serious issues. There are few things that I enjoy more than a book with heavy angst and pain, and damaged characters, finding each other and making it work. With that in mind I was eager to see what Roan Parrish had in store for me.

Daniel is a fascinating man. He grew up in a "manly" household where his dad owns a garage and he's got three older brothers. His mom died when he was a kid and he's the only one not interested in being a mechanic or spending all his free time watching sports and drinking beer. He worked his butt off to get through college and then grad school. Not that his dad or brothers ever seemed to think it was a big deal. Although, at least he didn't have to worry about being thrown out or disowned when he came out as gay. His dad wasn't thrilled and he made no bones about it but he didn't abandon his son, even though his brothers gave him hell over it. It's as if Daniel couldn't even be related to them, somehow.

Daniel has lived in Philadelphia his whole life so it's a bit of a culture shock for him to end up in a small town in northern Michigan where there's no delivery after nine p.m. And everyone has an opinion about the new "gay professor", although luckily not in a mean way. Daniel met Rex on his first trip when he came to interview and there's something about him that keeps Daniel off-balance and feeling vulnerable. Definitely feelings Daniel has never had for anyone before. Granted, Daniel has never been in a relationship before, either. Daniel has learned the hard way that if he lets his guard down then people will hurt him.

"I feel strange. Shaky and out of control. No one’s ever touched me like this. Paid this much attention.....It’s like Rex is mapping my body, each stroke of his hand and touch of his lips learning me better. There are unfamiliar sounds clawing their way out of my throat. Vulnerable sounds."

Rex takes a while to get to know, mainly because he's shy and doesn't seem to like to talk about himself. He grew up with a single mom who wanted to be an actress like the Old Hollywood black and whites. They were very close but she died when Rex was sixteen. Rex's first boyfriend was killed in a bashing that put Rex in the hospital, too, and definitely explains why he's so muscular and why he feels the need to protect and care for the people in his life. Rex may not have a lot of education in his background but he's remarkably intuitive, and very smart. I really loved his gentle, shy demeanor.

"In some ways, he’s the type of guy I’ve always been secretly attracted to: guys who could crush me as easily as the beer cans they swig from, wiping their hard mouths with the backs of dirty hands. But Rex is inclined less toward crushing and more toward putting back together. If only he could tinker me into shape as easily as one of his busted clocks."

It has been a very long time since I read such intriguing, fascinating, and marvelous characters. There is so much more to both Daniel and Rex than what you see on the surface. In fact, I can't even verbalize it other than to say I was dumbstruck constantly by the beauty the author wrote. Both of their characters are tested to the limit when an emergency sends Daniel back to Philadelphia.

I honestly don't have words to express how incredible I think this novel is. I was glued to every page, every word, every thought, and every meaning. I fell in love watching Daniel and Rex fall in love. It was beautiful and every single thing that love should be.

"And maybe that’s the point. Maybe the point of I love you is that it is a tether. A connection so you can find your way back to someone even when shit seems huge and unmanageable on your own. A promise to help just because you care about someone, a promise to help that doesn’t mean pulling away."





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 352 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-July-2019
Price $5.99 ebook, $15.99 paperback
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