Barging In by Josephine Myles
September 20, 2011
M/M Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Helyce
Dan Taylor is a travel writer who has agreed to write an article about vacationing on a narrowboat along the canals of England. Dan had counted on his friend Tristan tagging along as an assistant of sorts, but Tristan, an aspiring actor, gets an acting job and jumps at the part leaving Dan to his own devices. Dan heads out on his own, looking forward to a week on the water. Unfortunately, his first impression of life on a boat is not good. He’s on the phone telling Tristan that he might have made a mistake when he notices a man on the bank of the canal chopping wood. He looks mighty fine from behind and he’s telling Tristan all about it when he realizes he’s coming in too fast and can’t remember what the boat instructor told him about driving the boat. Before he can slow down, he bumps into a boat called Serendipity. And can you guess who Serendipity belongs to? You’d be right; the gorgeous, shirtless, tattooed and pierced hottie that was chopping wood.
Robin Hamilton lives on his boat, Serendipity. He cruises the waterways taking jobs here and there to support himself. He’s kind of a loner, choosing to live the way he does away from his family-his only connection to them a phone call now and then with his mother. Robin wasn’t always like this, though. Only 25, he’s still grieving over the loss of his boyfriend Jamie to a drug overdose. But there is so much more to his grief than just Jamie’s death. Because of that, he takes one look at Dan Taylor and decides that the last thing he needs is to get involved with a pretty city boy!
Unfortunately, fate has other plans for Dan and Robin. Their first meeting may not have been under the best circumstances, but Dan’s ineptitude at driving the narrowboat continues to put him in Robin’s path and Robin can’t stop himself from helping Dan out each time. Dan is clearly attracted to Robin, but Robin keeps his walls up. Dan’s personality and lifestyle remind him too much of Jamie and he certainly does not want to go down that road again. But Dan is persistent and Robin reluctantly gives in to his own attraction. After all, Dan is only going to be around for a week, right?
I really enjoyed Barging In. Dan and Robin, along with the secondary characters, are written really well. There is humor and great emotional depth especially when we learn the details of Robin’s relationship with Jamie and his subsequent death. Without being too spoilerish, it is an important part of why Robin has chosen to live the way he does as well as why he fights his attraction to Dan. Dan on the other hand is honest and up front about the fact that he’s only going to be around for a week. While he initially really just wants to “have a good time” it becomes clear to him from the first time he and Robin are together that there really is so much more to their attraction that just sex. They both feel it pretty much right away, but neither is willing to admit it to the other. The real test to their relationship follows when Dan’s week is up and he is sent on his next assignment. Of course, there is an HEA and I was truly surprised at which character finally gave in and made the huge life change in order to follow his heart to be with the man he loved.
As an aside: I have to point out that I truly enjoy when I learn something new when reading a book. This story takes place in and around Bath, England, and I had no clue what a narrowboat was not to mention the fact that people happily make their homes on them. So, I did some research which thoroughly enhanced my imagination when I read this story. The term “narrow” is an excellent description as these boats cannot be more than 7 feet wide in order to fit through the narrow canals and locks that they must go through. Interestingly, and kind of a pain if you ask me, is that the British Waterways rules and regs only allow you to moor in one place for like two weeks and then you have to move or you’re cited. So those that make their homes on these boats are constantly on the move. And people really do vacation and explore England via the canals and waterways on these narrowboats. Just in case there is someone out there who is clueless like me, I’ve included these photos found via Google.