Love Means... No Shame Book Cover Love Means... No Shame
Love Means - Book 1
Andrew Grey
M/M Romance
Dreamspinner Press
September 14, 2009

Dual Review

Love Means… No Shame – A Novel – Andrew Grey

Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams

Geoff is in the city, living the gay life to the hilt, when his father’s death convinces him to return to the family farm. Discovering a young Amish man asleep in his barn, Geoff learns that Eli is spending a year away from the community before accepting baptism into the church. Despite their mutual attraction, Geoff is determined not to become involved with him, but Eli has discovered that Geoff shares his feelings and begins to court him, neatly capturing first Geoff’s attention and then his heart.

Their budding relationship is threatened by closed-minded, gossipy relatives and the society at large, a whole new world to Eli, and he must decide whether to return to the community, his family, and the world and future he knows or to stay with Geoff and have faith in the power of love.

2nd Place: Alternative Lifestyle – PRG 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards

Gloria lakritz – She said:

It is my pleasure to be reviewing a book for this fine author. Most of the stories I have read by Mr Grey, leave you with a wonderful feeling of love and  most of all hope. His stories are love stories, his message is clear, that everyone deserves their soul mate. Although this book, still appeals to all of those who wish to read a great romance, there are messages here that this author has never left you with before.

Geoff Laughton is living the slutty life. He has graduated college as an accountant and is on his own. We meet Geoff waking in someone’s bed, after another night of partying. It somehow was getting old. He has one true friend, Raine who worked at the same office with him.

Geoff”s mom passed away when he was an infant, and his father  Cliff met and fell in love with Len and they had been together for the past 20 years. Len’s voice on the phone was the call that would make him return home. His father had passed away. Coming back to the farm in this small Midwestern town was the best thing that could have happened in his life. Len was his ‘other’ Dad and he had the love and support he needed to get him through this time, and decide if he wanted to sell or stay. I don’t think he felt he was losing anything by his decision to stay and as the story unfolds he made the right choice.

We meet Elijah. a young man, from the nearby Amish community. His family has given him a “walk about” for a year, to learn the ways of the “English” they call we outsiders. His father sees his need to see more of the world before he is baptized into their community; where he will be  chosen to marry a woman from the community and fulfill all the obligations his sect has set for him. He has nothing but the clothes on his back and the soft-hearted Geoff decides to offer him a job and sign him on as a hand. Since there is no bunk house, all the other hands that work there have their own homes and families in town, Geoff offers him the spare guest room. Geoff sees he knows horses, and Len, sets up a chore schedule for Eli.

We watch the love story bloom as only Andrew Grey can write. The scenery is spectacular as described, as we ride through fields of wild flowers and swim in beautiful waters. The innocence in this young man, not having any knowledge of being gay, only what he has been told by his church,  is appalled and thrilled that gay has a  better name than sodomite. He begins to court our Geoff, and our guy almost misses all the signs until Len hits him over the head with the news!  Geoff is gay but still a man however (sorry I had to say that).

But of course this is real life, and we always have to deal with hatred, and fears that still are in our “English” world. Aunt Janelle in Geoff’s own family fills the pages of this book with vile doings to incite incidents and misery into these two  lives, as well as the bigotry and harmful intent by some of the towns people. Geoff was beaten by a band of drunk young men, all in the name of gay bashing.

The best of the story is the love, innocence and sensual heat these two men bring to the bed they share. You almost cannot breathe at the love and respect they have for each other. Then the other shoe falls. With all the rumors and all the furor, Eli fears the Amish community might hear that he is with Geoff and not just working there. This would mean he could never return in any way, even to visit. His family and his father’s business would be shunned, and lose their place in the community. What a terrible decision falls on his shoulders as he has to decide to stay with Geoff or return to the Amish community. Now would be the time to break out the tissues…

The story was wonderful and had it all!  Romance, Love, Sex, Angst…come read and see how it ends. You will not be sorry!

Review by Gloria Lakritz

Sr Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Penelope Adams – She said:

Geoff Laughton spends every night in bed with a different man, and his days as a staff accountant for a chain of retail stores. He enjoys his work, his job not so much but thankfully his best friend Raine makes the place tolerable.  He is beginning to question his lifestyle when he receives a phone call from his dad’s partner Len, telling him his dad, who had been sick with cancer, died and he should come home to the farm.

After the funeral Len tells Geoff his dad left the farm to Geoff and he needs to decide what he plans to do with it.  Initially he had no plans to keep the farm but eventually he realizes this was where he belongs, quits his job and takes over the operation with Len as his foreman. One morning as he heads into the stables he finds a young Amish man asleep in one of the stalls. He learns that Elijah is on his Rumspringa, which is a year away from the community and he has nowhere to go. Geoff offers Elijah a job on the farm and lets him stay in a spare room in the house.

It doesn’t take long for Geoff to realize that his feelings for Elijah are more than that of employer and employee. Geoff thought he had everything worked out when he took over the farm, now he isn’t sure about his ability to lead and his feelings for Elijah are growing more each day.

Andrew Grey has taken the age old theme of romance between two people who shouldn’t have anything in common, and put his own special spin to it. His writing is so vivid I can see Geoff’s “farm” which is reminiscent of a western ranch with acres of cattle grazing in the fields, horses neighing in the barn, farmhands going about their chores mending the fences and planting the crops. I could picture Geoff swinging himself up on his beautiful temperamental horse Kirk, and pounding off through the fields, free as a bird. The characters are also so well portrayed that each and every one of them practically jumped off the page and into my mind’s eye.

Geoff grew up being raised by his father and Len, his mother died when he was young and he has no memories of her so being raised by two men was normal for him. He always knew what their relationship was and he always considered Len as another father. Needless to say, his father’s had no problem with him being gay and he was always comfortable with the fact himself. He was taken aback by his attraction to Elijah. To start with, he didn’t know if Elijah even understood what being gay was, and he felt as Elijah’s boss he should keep the relationship strictly business.

Elijah was innocent but always knew that he was not like the other Amish people he grew up with. He was attracted to Geoff but didn’t know how to act on the attraction or even if such a thing was possible. To watch the two of them dance around each other was cute. There were times that Geoff seemed more innocent than Elijah and Len’s amusement at their dance was fun. Raine gives us more than one moment of amusement and fun, and thanks to him I’ll never look at a pink bathing suit without smiling again.

Mr. Grey could have just written a nice safe romance between these two men and the obstacles they encounter because of Elijah’s upbringing, and it would have been a good book. He gave us the romance but also didn’t shy away from showing us the heart wrenching consequences of the intolerance of people to that which they don’t understand.

Front and center to this intolerance is Geoff’s Aunt Janelle who is a bitter old bitty and wants nothing more than for Len and by extension Geoff to be as miserable as she is. The results of Aunt Janelle’s bitterness are some of the hardest scenes to read in the book. There was more than one occasion I sat with tears running down my face.

I loved just about everything about this book. The setting was awe inspiring, the budding love and uncertainty between Geoff and Elijah was at times beautiful and at times heartbreaking, the love Len had for Geoff’s father even after his death and the love the felt for Geoff was inspiring. Even nasty old Aunt Janelle was perfect as a villain.

This is a romance between two men, and there are some bedroom scenes that leave little to the imagination, but they are written with sensitivity and shouldn’t offend anyone who understands that the book is an M/M romance.

Review By Penelope Adams

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild

Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…

Hi Penny, Good to see you here today. Andrew Grey has charmed us with another great story. I must admit, I think he believes in True Love and Soul Mates. He has even made this divorced Grandmother a believer. I will find my soul mate, I will find my Soul Mate…Geoff was just Mc-dreamy in this story. It is noteworthy to mention he was raised by two wonderful men as partners, he did not get thrown out of his home for being gay, had a wonderful childhood and was so the epitome of gentle. Elijah was sooo innocent. To him loving a man was a sin, being a Sodomite in his strict Amish culture. I think once he understood the machinery…Geoff was the innocent.

Aren’t we all a little bit of a romantic at heart? Geoff was certainly a well balanced, handsome, gentle, good man. I think his innate goodness made parts of the book even better. When he went off on Aunt Janelle I almost fell out of my chair, where did that sweet man who buys clothes for kids and gives homeless men jobs go? I cheered and just wanted to pump my fist in the air and jump up and down. I think Elijah had a little English in him all along, and he was just biding his time before he let that little devil out.  I’m thinking Len has his hands full with these two that’s for sure. I did have one little issue, the scene in town bothered me. The way Geoff just gave in and lay down seemed a little out of character to me. There were three on three, and even though Elijah was an innocent, I have a feeling he could have opened a can of whoop ass if called upon to do so.

True, it bothered me that Geoff took the hit, but he certainly would not ask or initiate a fight to ask any one to jump in. He was the pacifist and I think he felt he had two innocents with him…Remember who he was with. I loved the way Elijah courted him and being a dumbass he had to have Len slap him up side the head…and how about Len??? Hopefully he can find a partner that he can grow old with…He is still a young man. Really there is sooo much more to continue this story… The best was Elijah. What a wonderful person. He learned what gay was and then look out!

There were a lot of great characters in the book, I could see a number of books coming out of it. Len is courting someone, there is the boy they took in to help out, I loved Raine as well.  I can just see him at the beach with his pink bikini. I do know I would love to visit with them all again and see how Geoff and Elijah are getting along. I’m sure Elijah is going to keep his life interesting. Oh, I would love to visit the farm too, I’m a city gal but it really sounded like a peaceful place to spend some time.

Good night Gracie.

Night George and Goodnight Andrew…write faster!

Q&A with author Andrew Grey

The farm and horses are almost secondary characters in the book, is that experience or just good research?

When I was in high school, I made extra money working at the horse farm near our house. Part of my pay allowed me to ride and while I was never very good, I love horses and learned to take care of them. One evening when I was eighteen, I got a call from the man who owned the farm. I rushed over at two in the morning and within five minutes I saw a colt emerge from his mother’s womb. It was one of the most amazing events I have ever seen in my life.

Is the ending a hint of more to come with Len?

There will be more about Len, but largely his story is told throughout the rest of the books. You can find out how he meets Chris in Love Means… Healing.

Your books have such wonderful love stories, do you believe in true love?

Definitely, because I was lucky enough to have found it eighteen years ago and it’s still growing strong. Part of the reason I write what I do, is that I had my own personal great romance and he’s still with me. We haven’t had our HEA yet, because we haven’t yet reached the end.

I see you’ve had two other books released recently. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Shared Revelations released September 19, and is a recent historical that takes place in Green Bay WI in the sixties. Eddie can’t afford tickets to the Packer games, but he gets permission to watch the team practice. One evening his bike breaks down and Eddie is given a ride home by his favorite player, Johnny Grant. But things don’t go quite as Eddie plans.

Love Comes Silently was released October 1, and it’s the story of Ken and Patrick. Ken’s daughter has leukemia and Patrick is their neighbor who can’t speak. Patrick easily wins Hanna’s affection, but he finds Ken’s heart harder to win especially when his own is so damaged. How do you convey your feelings when words aren’t a possibility and a simple note isn’t enough?

Thank you Andrew…please keep writing and we will keep reading!!!