Review: Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles

March 7, 2015 Review 0

Review: Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles

When things come to a head, there’s nowhere to go but down…

On the surface, Derek “Call Me Dare” Nelson’s life is simple, doing up custom campervans while living in a slightly illegal caravan in his riverfront yard. When a handsome, smooth-talking developer offers to buy the land out from under his feet, Dare realizes it’s the same man he had to escort home from a party months ago for causing a drunken scene.

Grant Matravers lives a double life, attempting to adjust to weekends as a single, divorced gay man while staying closeted at work. The strain of keeping up the part-time pretense, missing his kids, and now a problematic attraction to the shave-headed, tattooed Dare, has worn his emotional barriers dangerously thin.

Dare blasts through those barriers in a way Grant isn’t prepared for, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself as a gay man. But as their chemistry heats up and the intimacy between them grows, Grant edges toward a decision that could blow up in his face. Exposing a hornet’s nest of complications that could destroy any chance for happily ever after.

Title: Scrap
Author: Josephine Myles
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Locked Out
Published by Samhain Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: 10 March, 2015
Genres: Erotic Romance, Male Male Romance
Pages: 350
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-half-stars
Flames: four-flames

The third in The Bristol Collection yet the first I have read by this author, Scrap was one of those titles that I kept telling myself “one more chapter” until I looked at the clock and saw 2 am. I love Myles’ ability to tell a story, with solid voice and a lovely way of developing her characters, showing the insecurities, questions and emotions.

Dare runs a camper van restoration, a chunk of land on the river, full of parts, junk vehicles, workshops and one refitted airstream in which he lives.  Difficult not to like, Dare is honorable and hard-working, despite the shaved head, gauges and tattoos.  He’s also a man who is rather closed-mouthed about his own issues with his younger drug-addicted brother and his growing interest in ‘something more’ as his friends all seem to be paired off and happy.

Gary was less likable, and needed more time to grow up and lose his affectations. I didn’t like his condescension or his decided uncomfortableness with his own sexuality. He did come around to be honest with his wife, and is truly upset with the dissolution of his marriage: although early on it felt to be more of an inconvenience to his style of living than a real emotional sadness.  But, so unused to being honest or open with his own emotions, the confusion and unease was understandable and well portrayed.

These two have an interesting push-pull attraction that is part sexual and part spar for dominance: Dare is decidedly a top, and while Gary claims that position is meant for him, to me it all tied back to his unease with his sexuality and holding on to that last bit of plausible denial.  While it didn’t endear him at all, it did make for some wonderful moments as Myles played with him, giving Dare free rein to push buttons and limits, keeping Gary completely off balance.

There are moments with characters that featured in earlier books, Dare is a reliable narrator and his introductions of stories and people are honest and teeter toward a kinder, different strokes for different folks sort of attitude: he’s truly one of those characters you want to know, want to see the best for, and hope that he is able to help his brother get clean, even as part of you knows that story can’t go well.

I didn’t like Gary much, and found his uncaring and callous disregard of everyone BUT himself solidly off-putting.  I loved that Dare would let him push without apparent reaction, watching him spin his wheels in frustration, but always call him on his bad behavior. That, more than anything, forced Gary to face himself in the mirror and grow up – and once that started, I could believe that his feelings for Dare were real and honest, and I believed them as a couple. Not surprisingly, Dare’s ability to ‘see past’ the façade that Gary put up believed in the potential that Gary held, and his patient cultivation of that new version allowed Gary that safe space.

From the struggle over who dominated whom, to the snippets about dogs, kids, the ex-wife, works, social position and Dare’s struggle with his brother’s addiction this story added layers that built interest, tension, emotion and connection. The writing is wonderful, Myles has the ability to ‘tease’ readers with bits of the picture a piece at a time, keeping readers engaged and curious to see what is next. Before you realize it, you have characters that could be friends or neighbors, whole and human. I couldn’t put this book down, and have grabbed books 1 and 2 from this series to read when I need another infusion of solid writing and characters.

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