Hard Road Back Book Cover Hard Road Back
Andrew Grey
MM Romance
Dreamspinner Press
May 5, 2020

Rancher Martin Jamuson has a deep understanding of horses. He just wishes his instincts extended to his best friend, Scarborough Croughton, and the changes in their feelings toward each other. Martin may be the only friend Scarborough has in their small town, but Scarborough is a man of secrets, an outsider who’s made his own way and believes he can only rely on himself when the chips are down. Still, when he needs help with a horse, he naturally comes to Martin.

As they work together, Martin becomes more determined than ever to show Scarborough he’s someone he can trust… maybe someone he can love. Even if it risks their friendship, both men know the possibility for more between them deserves to be explored. But when Scarborough’s past reemerges, it threatens his home, horses, career, and even their lives. If they hope to survive the road before them, they’ll have to walk it together… and maybe make the leap from cautious friends to lovers along the way.

Reviewed by Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

A beautiful story of two ranchers living next door to each other, who have been friends for fifteen years and yet are strangers. Martin Jamuson works with horses that are in trouble and although he has known Scarborough Croughton for fifteen years Scarborough is a total mystery. He is known as a penny pincher and barely converses but suddenly Martin is beginning to want more and his chance comes when Scarborough buys a horse at an auction that radiates fear. The horse is beautiful and Martin is surprised that Scarborough bought a horse in need of help and that he wants to hire Martin to work with the horse all of this at a cost Martin never expected him to make.

Being together while Martin works with the horses he tries to make conversation, tries to get some idea of what caused Scarborough to isolate himself from the world. When an invitation to his twenty year reunion comes Scarborough is torn about returning to the place that caused him so much pain but he did have friends he’d like to see. With encouragement from Martin and a promise to go with him the two men set off for Nebraska.

Of course most of the trip is quiet since Scarborough says little, but the trip was a success because he showed a side of him Martin never saw before when his friends welcomed him with open arms. While there Martin learned that Scarborough was caught with a boy and his father physically threw him out of the house convincing him that his friends would never accept him because he was gay. The reunion proved how wrong his father was and as much as Martin tries to show him he also cares he is not very successful. Someone did a number on Scarborough convincing him that he is worthless and that his life is work and his ranch and there is no room for anyone or anything else.

The relationship that Martin craves is a work in progress, he not only has to fix the horse but he is determined to fix the man he wants as well. Scarborough has a lot to overcome but can he leave his past behind and find a future with Martin. As with so many of Andrew Grey’s books I did learn something I never heard before, “you don’t buy beer you rent it”. I was clueless as to what that meant since I don’t drink and don’t visit men’s rooms but I actually read up on it and it was very interesting, so just one more thing I learned from Mr. Grey.

As I am writing this review we are all in quarantine due to a deadly virus, our lives are turned upside down and we as humans still direct our hate at people who are different then us. The LGPTQA Community has come so far and it still is just the tip of the iceberg.