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At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.
(From previous site)
Hank gets hurt playing “footy” and meets Elliot. There is some instant attraction, but Hank ignores it because he doesn’t “fish where he lives”. Hank fears being gay bashed like his uncle was and only goes to the city for anonymous sex and has resigned himself to a life of hook-ups and no real relationships.
Elliot the Quack (called by Hank, then turned into Quack Elliot, then Quakel) comes out to Hank but accepts that Hank is “straight” and becomes a good friend. Even once Hank is accidentally outed to Quackel the two are reluctant to start something up in their small, rural town, though the attraction is simmering between them.
As time goes by the reasons for not “fishing” get murkier and murkier until suddenly Hank was thinking about “fishing” but in fact he was already “hooked”.
I can’t say enough positive things about this book. It is funny, sweet, sexy, touching, a teeny bit angsty and just fun to read.
The Australian dialect is hilarious in the hands of the wooley headed sheep farmer and even Elliot has to translate sometimes to keep things clear.
The fishing theme is so well done! It gives Hank this way to think about his attraction to Elliot in this non-sexual way that ends up being totally emotional. Lines like “Suddenly fishing was my favorite pastime” or “I was a born again fisherman. “ And “Although fishing wasn’t all smooth sailing. Fishing trips got canceled at the last minute…”or “It seemed that the fish in my backyard were leaping from the pond onto my fishing rod”. I just loved them! So well used and imaginative and absolutely in character for Hank who is secure in his sexuality, mostly, but can barely get the words “I’m gay” out when the time calls for them.
The relationship between Elliot and Hank is magical. It’s such a slow burn as seen through Hank’s eyes. At first Elliot barely blips on his radar. Then, bit by bit, he grows on him, and suddenly what was sort-of attractive becomes beautiful. He’s now worrying about Elliot leaving him and wondering how he’s going to live alone for the next 25 years without him. Gah! So touching and sweet!
Meanwhile Elliot is just quietly persistent, he may have an end game in mind, but you’d never know it. He just does his thing, not hiding, not pushing, just being there, until now he’s a vital part of the community, of Hank’s life, everything.
I have really enjoyed all of Renae Kaye’s other books and this one tops them all.
I highly recommend this and give it 6 of 5 hearts, because I just want to go back and re-read it already!