Title: Where The Grass is Greener (Seeds of Tyrone #2)
Author Name: Debbie McGowan and Raine O’Tierney
Publication Date & Length: September 28, 2015 – 240 pgs
Mistakes were made, that’s for sure. But was it the night of passion? Or walking away afterward? That’s the question Seamus Williams must face when he gets a late night phone call from someone he never expects to hear from again.
“I miss you, Shay.”
Chancey Bo Clearwater is a cowboy through and through. He spends his days finding work on whatever ranch will take him and his nights at the pool hall. He’s always done what needed doing and never thought much about what he wanted. ’Til that drunken night with Seamus.
A world of problems now stand between Seamus and Chancey exploring what might have been, the least of which being the Atlantic Ocean. On one side there’s Chancey’s daughter who mood swings from angel to demon in two seconds flat; on the other there’s the new lodger, hogging Shay’s telly and his cornflakes, and making private Skype time hard to come by.
Is this relationship doomed before it ever begins? Or can a surprise announcement from Seamus’s brother be enough to help the two find their second chance?
Where the Grass is Greener features characters from Leaving Flowers, but can be read independently.
I’m not usually one for very manly men, but Chancey and Seamus are not your typical Guy-Guy Super Manly Dudes. Both are refreshingly masculine without falling into stereotypes of how “real” men are supposed to behave. Some of that may be cultural, of course. I’m not really sure how Irish men are socially expected to behave. I loved that he was thoughtful and emotionally warm. Chancey’s heart walked around outside his body in the form of his teenage daughter, and I loved their relationship.
Speaking of…the secondary characters were wonderful. I often feel a book is only as good as the secondaries, and despite how the main focus was on Chancey and Seamus keeping up their long-distance love, the people around them were equally delightful. Dee is probably my favorite, mostly because she reminded me of a wicked combination of my own kids. I wouldn’t mind at all reading another story with her in it. And of course I was thrilled to see Patrick and Aiden (from Leaving Flowers), even if only briefly. Kaylee was wonderfully awful, though I did feel bad for Dee. I’m not usually one for the Horrible Ex Wife trope, but since there are other girls and women in the story who more than make up for Kaylee’s flaws, it’s all right.
What I love most is the way the story is seamlessly blended. It’s rare to find co-authors whose style completes each other so perfectly. Raine leans toward the sweet gentleness of healing and hope, while Debbie is invested in the psychology of the characters. In this story, I believe that’s what made both men so well-rounded.
While there were one or two moments that sort of had me raise my eyebrows for bordering on not-quite-believable, that’s okay–this is a story, after all, and sometimes what’s needed is a little bit of fairy tale possibility. If you’re looking for a well-written story that reads the way comfort food tastes, this is the one. It’s not necessary to read the first one beforehand, but it does help. And when you’re done, absolutely be sure to read everything else these authors have written. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
5 stars, of course.
“You’re quiet today, Seamus. What’s up?” the landlord asked.
“Just tired, is all. Got a leaky roof and the fecker was drippin’ all the damn night. And didn’t I get up this morning and kick the bucket?”
“You look alive and well to me, so you do. I say well…you look like shite.”
“Yeah, thanks very much. Think I’ll go join the lads, see if I can’t get a few more insults thrown at me.”
Seamus gave the landlord a wry grin and went over to the others, who were already well into the first of the three games they got in every lunchtime. He watched one of them take a bad shot and accidentally pot the black, the clunking of the ball as it rolled its way through the machinery of the table setting Seamus’s teeth on edge. John was right: he was dog-tired and probably did look like shite. He’d barely slept after the missed call, trying to decide whether to return it or not. His mind played tricks on him, one minute convincing him it was urgent and he should call back, the next telling him to stay strong. He’d made the move. He’d come back to Ireland. That’s what he’d wanted all along.
He had wanted it. Ever since Mam died, his sights had been set on coming home. He’d only stayed for Paddy’s sake, and now Paddy had Aidan there was nothing to keep Seamus in the States, although he was no further away from his brother now than he had been in Kansas. Never mind that he’d already made the decision before he knew Aidan even existed. No. It was a good decision. He was just—
He already knew, before he pulled his phone from his pocket: same Kansas number, same caller.
His thumb hovered over the red button. Reject the call. Reject the call.
“At last! I thought I was calling a wrong number. Man, it’s so good to hear your voice.”
“Er, yeah. Yours too. What’s up? Has something happened?”
“Nothing new. I just…”
The rapid-hard thump of Seamus’s heart filled the pause, two seconds, three, four, and more. He drew breath to speak, but there was nothing to be said. Or nothing he should say.
“I miss you, Shay.”
The first call had been a drunk dial. Thank the heavenly father that Seamus Williams hadn’t picked up. Lord, the shit that might have come tumbling out of Chancey’s mouth. Now he was dead sober, but only slightly more composed. Had he really just said he’d missed Seamus? He tried for a laugh. It sounded as fake as it felt. Well he had missed Seamus. Nothin’ wrong with that.
“You gonna say somethin’?” He knew he was putting on the accent. Drawing out his vowels, droppings his g’s. His grandmother—who was from south Texas and who had an accent so deep it was digging itself a hole to the centre of the Earth—used to yell at him when he’d get lazy with his words.
You jus’ sound ign’rant, Chancey Bo Clearwater. Full name, cue snickering cousins, and young Chancey sank down low in his chair, ashamed at the way he sounded despite the fact they all talked just alike. The accent followed him when he moved to Oklahoma, where he picked up a whole set of strange ‘O’s, and even having lived in Kansas now for the better part of his life, it was still there underneath, just waiting to crop up in stressful situations.
“I didn’t expect to hear from you, that’s all.”
“Surprise.” He was trying for friendly, for calm. Trying to keep the I wanna put my fist through the wall and did you really mean to let me find out through Lulu? out of his voice.
“Isn’t this call costing you a million dollars?”
“Skype. On my phone. I bought minutes, y’know?”
“Is that right then?”
“But I didn’t think. It’s probably charging you too.”
Is it? Seamus sure as hell wasn’t saying much. There was a long pause as Chancey considered his next move. He’d called because he’d wanted to talk. Not talk. Not like that. Nothing to say on that front. Seamus had made it all as clear as crystal dropped in the mud when he’d left his parting message with Lulu down at the pool hall, Rack ’Em. In a last-ditch effort, Chancey said the only thing he could think: “Boss Tina asked after you the other day when I went around for work.”
That got a laugh out of Seamus, which gave Chancey more relief than he cared to admit.
RAINE O’TIERNEY lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on gay romance) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
DEBBIE MCGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at 17, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At 25, she went back to college to study social science— tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!