Country Mouse by Amy Lane & Aleksandr Voinov
M/M Contemporary Romance, Novella
April 23, 2012
Reviewed by Helyce
Owen is on vacation in London with his ex-girlfriend Jenny. When she hooks up with an old friend for the evening, Owen takes himself out to a pub for a beer. He ends up in a bar somewhere in the West End, its patrons varying from teenage girls giggling over cokes to blue collar workers. While he’s sitting there observing the crowd and trying to decide if he should drink the beer that was served to him in a dirty mug, he can’t help but notice a man dressed in a smart suit, leaning against the bar, because he seems so out of place. Then he realizes that the man is staring right at him.
Malcolm is waiting for a date to show when he notices the young man sitting at the bar. His date is late and possibly a no-show, so he strikes up a conversation with Owen. Malcolm comes on strong, making his dominant tendencies clear, testing Owen to see if he might be game. Owen pushes back a bit, but there is clearly an attraction and he agrees to go home with Malcolm. He’s on vacation, after all.
Country Mouse is an adorable story of two men out for the evening just looking for a hook-up who end up finding so much more. Owen is young, only 23 and he’s a really good guy. He’s the type that is able to stay friends with his X’s even when one X has hooked up with another X of his. He’s not really into the Dom/sub scene, but he immediately sees something in Malcolm under the intense Dom façade and slick suit that Malcolm is wearing. He’s very intrigued by Malcolm’s suggestive innuendo and he’s looking forward to exploring this.
Malcolm is a work-a-holic who doesn’t have time for relationships. He’s certainly not looking for anything more than his normal one night stand, but before he and Owen even get naked, he senses that there is something different about Owen and he’s nearly powerless to ignore it. Though he tries to keep up the Dom role, because it’s worked for him in the past, he quickly realizes that while Owen is willing to play the sub, it’s not really his nature.
Owen, too, learns a little about himself during his time with Malcolm. He doesn’t mind letting Malcolm run the show a bit, but he’s not one to sit back and give over total control. When he realizes that he’s getting under Malcolm’s skin a bit, he pushes back a little harder and begins to see a whole different side of Malcolm.
This whole story takes place over a weekend and is done exceptionally well in its very short 79 pages. I am not always a fan of the novella, especially in a case like this where the characters and the story are so enjoyable. In this case, though, I was not disappointed and found the story to be very well rounded and satisfying even while wishing it was longer. I loved both Owen and Malcolm’s personalities and the little tidbits of snark and witty banter between them kept the story light, often making me smile. The hint of BDSM here is very light and very much in the background really. A choice Malcolm has made in the past to keep his sexual encounters brief and controlled. Of course, Owen comes in and turns his whole world upside down. This was a quick, fun read and I enjoyed watching these two characters discover things about themselves while learning about each other. I’ve not read Aleksandr Voinov before, but I intend to check out his back list for sure.