Title: Barging In
Author: Josephine Myles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 219 (.pdf)
Characters: Dan Taylor, Robin Hamilton
POV: 3rd person
Setting: Bath, England
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Rating: 4
When the boat’s a rockin’, don’t come knockin’!
Out-and-proud travel writer Dan Taylor can’t steer a boat to save his life, but that doesn’t stop him from accepting an assignment to write up a narrowboat holiday. Instead of a change of pace from city life, though, the canal seems dull as ditchwater. Until he crashes into the boat of a half-naked, tattooed, pierced man whose rugged, penniless appearance is at odds with a posh accent.
Still smarting from past betrayal, Robin Hamilton’s “closet” is his narrowboat, his refuge from outrageous, provocative men like Dan. Yet he can’t seem to stop himself from rescuing the hopelessly out-of-place city boy from one scrape after another. Until he finds himself giving in to reluctant attraction, even considering a brief, harmless fling.
After all, in less than a week, Dan’s going back to his London diet of casual hook-ups and friends with benefits.
Determined not to fall in love, both men dive into one week of indulgence…only to find themselves drawn deep into an undertow of escalating intimacy and emotional intensity. Troubled waters neither of them expected…or wanted.
Warning: Contains one lovable tart, one posh boy gone feral, rough sex, alfresco sex, vile strawberry flavoured condoms, intimate body piercings, red thermal long-johns, erotic woodchopping, an errant cat, a few colourful characters you wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, and plenty of messing about on the river.
Prepare yourself to be thoroughly charmed by Barging In, Josephine Myles clever, romantic, and entirely wonderful journey into the world of the boating folk whose lives are lived upon the waterways of England. The river culture, that uniquely diverse society, is peopled by an interesting and lovable array of characters who’ll make you want nothing more than to hire a narrowboat and float off on your own romantic adventure.
Though he may not look the part, Robin Hamilton is a son of privilege, but he’s bookmarked that chapter in his life in favor of writing a future very different from his past, living by simple means on his boat Serendipity, earning a living by way of his talent for carpentry, taking various odd jobs when necessary. Robin is a man whose past, in spite of his posh upbringing, has left its mark. Robin’s one and only relationship with another man was a tragic failure that scarred him deeply, leaving him damaged and souring him on the mere idea of becoming involved with another man.
The problem with denial, of begrudging oneself of something craved, is that it creates a deeper more desperate temptation to indulge and satisfy that craving. Oscar Wilde once said the only way to avoid temptation was to yield to it, and that couldn’t be more true for Robin when Dan Taylor comes barging into his life, quite literally. Serendipity, indeed.
Dan is a travel writer, out and proud, who finds pleasure anywhere he can find it. Brash, bold, cheeky, confident, and utterly irresistible, Dan’s a bit of a dog when it comes to sniffing out men and sex. Any port in a storm? It seems to work for Dan but goes against the tide for Robin, who has an impossible time reconciling his attraction to a man who is the antithesis of everything Robin wants or needs or, for that matter, finds at all appealing.
But if there’s one thing Dan Taylor is, it’s persistent. Part of the fun of the hunt is the pursuit, and Dan eventually always catches his prey. Of course, it helps a little when the prey’s defenses are worn down by his attractive pursuer; though by no means is Dan and Robin’s flirtation with something that looks and feels a whole lot like love, an easy one—their lives are tipped sideways in a matter of moments. Dan’s nonchalance and insistence that theirs is nothing more than a short term fling, coupled with Robin’s surly resistance, provides for plenty of conflict and tension throughout the story. It all boils down to a fantastic and fun journey to love for two men I fell for, instantly and joyfully.
What is a man to do when the path of his life is mapped out precisely as he wants it, only to have someone come along and draw new lines that diverge and detour the plans? Does he follow, or does he insist upon remaining on course, even if it means sacrificing his own happiness?
What is a man to do when he’s spent his entire life molding himself into the person he wants to be, only to find out he didn’t know himself altogether well at all. Or perhaps he did, but then he met someone who made him want to change into the sort of man he was simply too scared to be?
It all boils down to faith and trust—in yourself and in the person who holds your heart despite every effort you’ve made to keep it safeguarded. Faith, trust, and love are those slippery slopes we all navigate, through conflict, through heartbreak, through mistakes and missteps, until we give ourselves permission to grab on tightly for the sake of our own happiness.
Barging In is a book I could read over and over again. Josephine Myles has populated it with loveable heroes, introduced a unique and colorful setting, and infused it with incredible energy and humor. This is a book that just might leave you cheering, and will most certainly reinforce your belief in the power of love.
Reviewed By: Lisa