by Jeff Mann
Brice Brown sings about loyalty and broken hearts, the earnestness of being a proud Southerner, yet his popular country music lyrics are misdirection because Brice has kept hidden his attraction to men for all his life. But when a former lover--and band member--goes to the press with the truth, Brice finds himself sick of all the lies and returning to the sanctuary of his West Virginian hometown. The neighbors who used to be proud of the "local boy made good" turn on him. His record label cancels contracts, his wife files for divorce, and he finds himself disgraced and despondent.
But then Brice learns from a fan that there is a compound in central West Virginia run by a man who has helped troubled gay youth overcome their self-loathing. Brice takes a chance at redemption and finds the retreat in the woods. The owner, only a few years older than Brice is a kind-hearted soul and does not turn him away and offers a friendly ear and comforting words. Conway Twitty once said, "Listen to advice, but follow your heart." And the man's nephew, Lucas, who serves as the handyman at the compound is a tempting young man, simmering with resentment at his past, angry at how he sees his future will be. And Brice thinks that Lucas is attracted to him but both men are hurting. Can they rise above the condemnations the world has given them and find something meaningful...together?
A finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance!
"As the story moves from the macro “fall of the Country Music Star” and into the micro of a smaller cast of characters who gather around Brown when he finds a place to go into retreat, it’s these characters that bring forth the queer “chosen family” value to the story, and where the healing—not just Brice’s healing—comes into play." - 'Nathan Burgoine for Out in Print
Another wonderful gay romance by Jeff Mann is this novel about a young man's coming-of-age:
Not every gay teen yearns for fashion and popular culture. Some boys are pure country folk and like the feel of flannel and the smell of the farm. And they're neither lithe nor muscle-bound but stocky boys, the ones who develop hairy chests, arms, and faces years earlier than their peers. One such seventeen-year-old is Travis Ferrell, shy among most of the other kids at school, but proud of his West Virginia roots. He has not yet admitted his passion for handsome guys--and his idea of what handsome is and what handsome does is not much different from him. Soon he'll learn that he's not unique; gay culture has a name for young men like him. Cubs. Lambda Literary Award-winning author Jeff Mann has written a touching romance for the outsider in us all.
Paperback, 226 pages