Book Reviews

The Dreams You Made in the Dirt by Lisa Henry at MM Romance Group @ Goodreads

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Military/Former Military / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 09-November-2015

Book Blurb

Dear Author,

MC1 (maybe eighteen to twenty years?) grew up hard in a dysfunctional family in a small remote community. His mother is gone and no one will say what happened to her. His father has always been abusive physically and emotionally. No one has ever stood up for him. He is smaller than average, making him a target for torment, but has had to learn how to fight for himself. He has the soul of a healer— naturally gentle and empathetic— but has learned not to trust as any time he has given himself emotionally he has been smacked down. Despite the way he is treated, he has never been allowed to leave and has nowhere to go as he has no education, money or friends/family to fall back on. When his father finds out MC1 is gay (not that he has had a chance to act on it), MC1 is bashed and left for dead miles from home.

MC2 (maybe twenty-eight to thirty-two years?) is a loner who has his own demons in his past (maybe ex-military/ex-con?). He is a natural alpha— protective and dominant. He finds MC1 and cares for him as he heals. Contrary to his promise to himself to stay detached, he feels a pull to MC1 and hates the sadness and despair in the eyes of his charge. He fights himself and MC1 as he finds he badly wants to earn MC1’s trust. Who knows what can happen after that?

They are both capable of so much if they can find the right balance. I see the opportunity to have some emotional, hot scenes as they each give in to their natural instincts.

I’d love a HEA for these two battered souls.

Photo Description:
Two men embrace against a dark background. They stand, heavily shadowed, one in front of the other, chest to back, with arms entwined. They are tender, but at the same time appear desperate and vulnerable.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love’s Landscapes" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Book Review

Some stories capture me because of creative world building, some because of the characters, and some because of circumstances or events that fire my imagination. ‘The Dreams You Made in the Dirt’ did all three, in an entirely unexpected way.

The world Cole and Aiden inhabit may look and feel a lot like planet Earth in the early twenty-first century, but at the same time it is an entirely different place. Picture the middle of nowhere, Australia, a small town that is slowly falling apart, people living in poverty and despair, with no way out unless they manage to get into college. Aiden has lived there all his life, and has been cruelly abused by his father as long as he can remember, but especially after his mother ran away when he was still very young. And yet, like all victims of abuse, he thinks that his father/abuser still somehow loves him, and anyway, he has nowhere else to go. He left school early, has been told and now believes he is “dumb as shit”, and on top of everything else, he is attracted to boys – a total no-no in his father’s and older brothers’ minds.

Cole is slightly better off, but he is a former military man, suffers from PTSD, and only wants to hide. His dead Uncle Harry’s house seems to be a good place to do that, until his car breaks down, Aiden ends up in his field beaten half to death because his father discovered he is gay, and Cole is suddenly responsible for an eighteen-year-old who is in dire need of a strong, reliable man to protect him not just from his family but from his own misconceptions.

As these two broken men slowly get to know each other, thanks to Aiden’s refusal to go to a hospital or involve the police, they also begin to bond. They both have horrible nightmares, but can help each other fight their demons. Cole opens Aiden’s eyes about his chances in the outside world, and Aiden loves taking care of someone who appreciates his efforts. But the evil father lives within a few miles, and he is not yet done with Aiden… My heart broke for both of them, but I loved the careful, gentle way in which they learned how to take care of each other.

If you like sad stories that make you think there is no hope, only to miraculously show you how it is never too late to fight for a better life, if two desperately lonely men who have suffered much abuse pique your interest, and if you’re looking for a read that might make you cry for all that has gone wrong, only to turn around to put a smile of relief on your face, then you will probably like this free novella. I think it is amazing!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book is a free read from the author.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 87 pages/23802 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-June-2014
Price FREE
Buy Link