Review: Out! (Shamwell Tales, #3) by J.L. Merrow


When the costs are added up, will love land in the black?

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.

His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.

Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.

Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.

Product Warnings: Contains historically inaccurate Spartan costumes, mangled movie quotes, dubious mathematical logic and a three-legged pub crawl.

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Buy it on Amazon US / Amazon DE


This is the third book in this series but it can be read as a standalone. I’ve read the first one, but not the second one and had no issues following the story. The couples of the other books are mentioned in this book, but don’t play a major part in it.

Mark has just moved to Shamwell with his daughter, Fen, after she ran into some trouble with the wrong kind of friends back home. He thinks it’s for the best to get her out of her old environment and move with her to the country where she hopefully won’t cause any trouble.
Mark is a workaholic. But for his daughter he’s willing to give up his job as a tax advisor in a big London firm and move out of London to spent more time with Fen. This of course isn’t as easy as he thought because he doesn’t really know his daughter and she’s not too happy about moving.
When Mark decides to join a local organization, the Spartans, he meets Patrick and is instantly attracted to him – but because he’s not out, and doesn’t want to be to “protect” Fen – nothing can happen between them.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I started it because I was looking for something light and funny to distract me from real life for a bit and wasn’t disappointed.

I loved how naive Mark was in thinking it would be SO easy to move with Fen away from London and everything would be fine. Also his idea that he could just stay in the closet to “protect” Fen when she had already figured out that her dad was gay, was hilarious. He’s a flawed but well-written character and I couldn’t help but fall a bit for his endearing naivety. Although at first I had a bit of a problem to understand his problems with the age gap between him and Patrick, because it’s only 14 years. It’s not that much! But later in the book he talks about why it’s an issue for him and helped me a lot.
Being gay and especially out wasn’t easy when he was growing up and when he found out that Ellen, his ex-wife, was pregnant with Fen he never thought about coming out but married her so that his daughter would have a family.

Then there’s Patrick, he’s 25 years old and works for SHARE, an organisation to help disabled people. He’s a sweetheart its hard for Patrick to understand why Mark is so cautious about admitting that he is gay/of Fen knowing about his sexuality.
I could really relate to Patrick a lot. He’s my age and for me it was also never a big deal whether someone was gay, straight, bi or lesbian. My parents taught me to judge someone based on their actions not their sexuality, and so it was really easy to understand him. Although I didn’t like how he sometimes reacted a bit rash and without listening to what really happened. This created more problems between him and Mark than necessary and bothered me a bit.

I really liked all the characters in this book. Mark, Patrick and Lex were really great but I loved David and especially Fen! I hope that one day David will get his own story!

Overall Out! is a really enjoyable book. It’s a funny, endearing, light and sexy story. And I guess I’ll probably read the second one in the series sometime soon.


Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Samhain Publishing Review Tag: Part of a series

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