Charlie Matheson runs a hardware store in Garnet Run, Wyoming where he’s lived all of his life. He took it over when his parents died, right before he turned eighteen and became responsible for raising his younger brother. He put his dreams aside while he focused on Jack’s well being and education. Now that Jack is in a committed relationship and has a successful career, Charlie doesn’t see much beyond the one he has, which he shares with Jane, his Main coon cat. Then Rye Janssen walks into his store, all attitude, messy long hair and sexy gray eyes. Rye’s inherited a house from a grandfather he’s never met and is hoping his move from Seattle is the last chance he needs to start over. But the house is barely inhabitable and he’s clueless about home repair. When Charlie tries to help, his first reaction is to resist but eventually he gives in because YouTube videos just aren’t cutting it.
Charlie and Rye couldn’t be more different but they are similarly broken. Rye’s family rejected him and he’s broke and alone. Charlie has spent his life being the parent his brother needed and now doesn’t have the skills to pursue or manage a meaningful relationship for himself and it’s too late to do anything different. But somehow, these two found each other and muddle through not only developing a friendship but one that reaches deeper levels. Both see each others’ truths and learn to appreciate those qualities others rarely see. Charlie is the more even tempered and passive of the two while Rye’s straightforward nature just seems to work.
This was a beautiful love story between two people who wanted to be loved but never imagined it could ever happen. I liked how their differences actually worked to deepen and strengthened their relationship. They found family in each other and their cats, creating a partnership that transformed both of them. By the way, those cats were scene stealers! I listened to the story and loved how the narrator portrayed both characters. He seemed to get them and that came through resoundingly as I had vivid images of both. I very much enjoyed Charlie and Rye’s journey to happiness. It wasn’t perfect and that made it even better.
- Release Date: February 23, 2021
- Series: Garnet Run #2
- Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
- Audio Length: 8 hours, 2 minutes
- Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Through the glass front door, Charlie saw an ominously smoking car grind to a halt in the parking lot. It looked like it had originally been a late-eighties two-door Chevy Beretta but had since been Frankensteined of multiple vehicles’ pieces, many of them different colors and some of them clinging desperately together, helped only by electrical tape and grime.
Charlie winced, fingers itching to put the car together properly—or, perhaps more practically, drive it to the junkyard and put it out of its misery.
Marie was bagging Bill Duff’s purchases when the door burst open. In stepped a man Charlie’d never seen before.
He certainly would have remembered.
Long, dark hair fell messily over his shoulders. He was slim and angular, with a slinky walk that made him look like he was made of hips and shoulders. The cuffs and collar of his long-sleeved T-shirt were worn rough and the knees of his jeans blown out. He looked like ten miles of dirt road.
Charlie raised a hand at the newcomer.
“Welcome to Matheson’s. I’m Charlie. Can I help you find anything?”
The man’s light, kohl-lined eyes darted around, as if Charlie might be talking to someone else, then, looking confused, said, “Uh. No.”
He hurried off down aisle one and Charlie let him alone. Some people didn’t want help or attention while they shopped, and Charlie was just glad of a new customer—and a young one at that. Business was okay, but with each passing year overnight shipping and Amazon ate further into his profit margin, particularly with customers under forty.
The stranger walked up and down the aisles, muttering inaudibly, swearing audibly, and consulting his phone every minute or so, as if the answers he wouldn’t accept from Charlie lay there.
After the better part of half an hour, he approached the register, arms full, though there were baskets and small carts available.
“Find everything okay?” Charlie asked as the man dumped his purchases on the counter.
He sounded distracted and was glaring at the items he’d chosen.
“You need any help with…” Charlie gestured at the hardware equivalent to marshmallows, cheese, and spaghetti before him.
The man raised a dramatic dark eyebrow but didn’t say anything. His eyes, Charlie could see now, were gray, and his skin was pale, as if he were a black-and-white image in a color world.
That pale glare lanced him, and he looked away, ringing and bagging things up.
The man swiped his credit card like he was ripping something in half and had to do it again when the machine didn’t get a read. He glared at it.
When Charlie handed him his bags he couldn’t help needling the man a little.
“Need any help getting things out to your car?” he asked, as he’d ask anyone.
The man glared down at the bags he was holding, then up at Charlie.
“No,” he said, like the word was his favorite one and, in his mouth, capable of expressing every feeling and thought he had.
“Okay, then,” Charlie said, purposefully cheery. “Have a good one.”
The man narrowed his eyes like there was a barb hidden in the words he simply hadn’t found yet.
“Uh-huh,” he said, and wrinkled his nose suspiciously, backing out the door.
“Who was that?” Marie asked. Charlie turned to see her lurking in the doorway from the back room.
“I don’t know,” Charlie said.
But he was damn sure gonna find out.
About the Author
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)