Love Means... Renewal Book Cover Love Means... Renewal
Love Means - Book 9
Andrew Grey
M/M Romance
Dreamspinner Press
June 26, 2012

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Cody Culver is a Marine in Iraq and he has been sent by his CO to get help for his unit. He is hiding from the enemy, always fearful he will be caught, making it impossible to help his men and complete his mission. It is snowing, and he is starving. He has to keep his strength up, so he sneaks into a farm house to steal food when he is hit with something knocking him out. The enemy has caught him, his friends are in danger, and his mission is blown. The only thing facing him is death. He only gives his name, rank and serial number. No matter what the enemy says he will not give them any information.

This is the scenario going on in Cody’s head; he is fighting a war that doesn’t exist for him anymore. He has been out of the Marines and home for at least two years, but all he knows is hiding and trying to carry out his mission. Fortunately for Cody, he has broken into the farm house of Eli and his partner Geoff, whom we met in previous books in this series. Eli is once again committed to helping a man who is a war hero and saved at least one hundred lives. Now Cody is a man alone, no family and no career since he was court-martialed for being gay. It would seem that saving lives and fighting for your country means nothing. Obviously your sexual preference is what counts. I can’t imagine any of the one hundred men whose lives he saved cared if they were being saved by a gay man.

Eli calls upon his friend, Brick Hunter, who owns a small farm nearby. Brick was also a Marine until it was discovered he was gay; he suffered the same fate as Cody. Who would be in a better position to help Cody than a man who has gone through it himself? Cody is reliving his life in Iraq and still fighting the war. Brick used alcohol to escape his memories. Brick is not very keen on having someone stay with him, especially someone suffering from PTSD, and who will probably just make him relive things he has been trying to forget, until he meets Cody. As soon as Brick sees Cody, he realizes Cody needs to be treated as a Marine. By commanding him, Brick gets him to calm down and see who is around him. They are American, not Iraqi, and a simple stop at Lake Michigan brings the point home. There are no lakes in Iraq. Now Cody begins to realize he is in Michigan, his war is over except where it still lives in his head.

Brick begins to enjoy having Cody around, especially when Cody sleepwalks and winds up in his bed. There is definitely an attraction forming, but can Brick risk making his feelings known when it could set Cody back? Cody is also feeling something for Brick, but is it real or just in his mind? Cody has to constantly ask himself if what is happening is a resurfacing memory or the real thing. When Cody begins remembering things, something comes to light that he realizes was not from the war but actually happened. He was hiding in a house, shots were fired, someone was dead, and at the time he thought it was the enemy, but now he knows it really happened. A person is dead, and he has to try to remember everything he saw or heard to obtain justice for whoever was killed or harmed.

I have said it many times when I review an Andrew Grey book, he ignites all my emotions. I am sad, happy, and in this case very, very angry. How can this country punish men, men who have fought, died and saved lives because they are gay? Brick and Cody put their lives on the line without hesitation over and over again. Their payment was to be thrown out like trash and relieved of any benefits they would have had. Although we now have “don’t ask don’t tell,” it was a little late for many brave men.

I loved Brick and Cody, two men trying to save each other from their nightmares and who hopefully can finally find peace in their lives. I am sure that some people think because it is an M/M romance that sex is a constant, but Andrew Grey doesn’t write that way. When there is sex, it is meaningful and full of love. If you haven’t read any of Mr. Grey’s books you are missing out on some beautiful stories. I am a heterosexual, senior citizen, OMG, I can’t believe I admitted to that, and I never tire of his stories.