Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
Lyle Powers is a Manager at Shoebox, a retailer of athletic shoes. He lives and works in Harrisburg, PA but, according to his best friends, Chuck and his partner Don, Lyle hasn’t really lived since he broke up with his last boyfriend. He just exists. Work, sleeping on the couch, and take-out has become his life. When he is offered the opportunity to go to Wamego, Kansas to the main headquarters of Shoebox to help with a project, he decides to go.
The job in Kansas is for approximately a year. In that time he hopes to be able to gain a promotion and return home to Harrisburg. Wamego is a quaint little town with the Oz Museum, the Oz Winery and last, but not least, a yellow brick road. The towns’ people have lived there their entire lives and have worked very hard to keep the town just as it was years ago. Small shops, an Inn, a mercantile, a restaurant, and the highlight, a bar and grill.
When Lyle gets to town and visits the restaurant he has no idea that he will meet the man he has searched for his entire life, Roger Kyper, the owner and baker. Lyle gets the feeling that Roger is gay, but this is a small town. Unlike the big cities, one just doesn’t advertise that fact, so Lyle resigns himself to just doing his job.
Lyle is a man who has always picked the wrong men. He wants what his friends have, a loving, long lasting relationship, something that doesn’t seem to be in his immediate future. Roger was married and has a daughter, so maybe Lyle was wrong when he suspected he was gay, maybe once again he was seeing something that wasn’t there.
Roger married his girlfriend after high school graduation. It was what was expected of him. When his daughter, Lizzy, was born she became his entire focus in life. But, as hard as you may try, it is very hard to hide what you are. After his divorce, Roger admitted to his wife and child that he was gay. Now Roger’s ex-wife has just the ammunition she needs to make his life a living hell. She threatens to keep him from his child unless he stops living a gay life. Afraid of losing the one person he loves more than life itself, he is determined to put his needs and wants on the sideline.
Lyle’s sudden presence in town puts temptation in Roger’s path. He wants to have someone to love, yet he doesn’t want to lose Lizzy. Once again, a man’s sexual preference holds him hostage. Can Lyle finally find his soul-mate? Can Roger finally get the strength to fight his ex-wife and give in to his desires?
Lyle and Roger are great characters, but Roger’s daughter Lizzy proves that kids are much smarter than we adults give them credit for. She knows her father is gay. All she wants is for him to be happy, whether with a man or woman. She is thirteen going on thirty, which seems the norm now days. And, Wamego sounds like the perfect place to live, and according to the author, it is almost exactly as he described it, a real life Oz with its very own yellow brick road.
Another winner from Andrew Grey who visited Wamego and immediately a book was born.