Title: Loose Cannon
Author: Sidney Bell
Series: The Woodbury Boys
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 4/3/2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Coming Out
Page Count: 327
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.
With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.
Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.
It’s a story about a guy who made a mistake. A mistake that he has to live with for the rest of his life. By not minimizing the guilt and consequences that entails, Bell has written a book that’s a bit more than just a redemption/romance story.
“It was progress he supposed, to make himself live in the pain instead of getting pissed off about it. Progress felt like shit”.
Parole. For Church to finally be allowed to enter the outside world, he needs to live with someone who can be deemed prosocial. This is where Miller comes in, who Church is reluctant to call due to an Incident that will become clear (but is already obvious) once you read the book. He needs to find a job, and stay away from bad influences. He also needs to control his feelings when it comes to Miller.
He needs to do all of that while taking a handle of his anger management issues. Something he struggles with but fights to keep in check.
“I’ve never seen anyone try so hard to be a good man”
Church was a character I started rooting for from the first scene. Not because that’s the scene where he beats someone up so badly that they might have died, but it’s because he didn’t walk away after. It would have been so easy for him to just walk away, let the guy die and get away (probably get caught later but still). He didn’t do that, though, and because he didn’t the guy was saved. Perhaps “didn’t die” is a better description.
“You’re a work in progress, just like me,” Miller added. “You can do this”.
A large part of the relationship development within this book is build up. It was clear that these two would end up together, it just took a lot for Miller to finally start to realize that maybe he wasn’t so straight after all. At times, it felt like pulling teeth reading Miller convincing himself into believing that he wasn’t gay. At times it was comedic. At times ridiculous. More often that not maddening, because it chipped away at Church time and again. I honestly just wanted Church to take a trash bag, put his belongings in there and leave. He didn’t, and the way Miller acts when even the possibility of hurting Church or losing him is put in front of him makes me warm up to him as well.
“when Church messed around with a man whose sexual acceptance was like a comet with a corkscrew bit, only visible from Earth every now and then”
Don’t get me wrong, these two together works. When Miller isn’t completely in denial, and when Church’s other head decides to take a break, it’s nice to see the influence they have on one another. Church who’s already head over heels in love, and how Miller realizes his feelings, mislabels them and then relabels them.
In this book, we see some scenes of Church’s stay in the center. These scenes introduced us to Tobias and Ghost. Honestly, I was more interested in these two. Because although we get hints, we don’t get to know enough about them.
“Tobias was a unicorn in human form”
Ghost in particular. I know that the next book has to be about him, and that’s what the author was doing was in part setting us up for whatever the hell she decides to do there. Even though I knew that I wouldn’t get to know more, I still hoped I would.
I want to know what Ghost’s deal is, what he’s gone through and have him either find a happy ending with Tobias or just as likely break Tobias’ heart (because that means there’ll be a third book where Tobias will find love). The cloak of mystery surrounding this whole situation, captures the attention even more. My need to understand what was going on there, in part clouded some of Church and Miller’s relationship shine.
Overall, this was a great read and I recommend giving it a shot if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial than what you’d typically come across in the M/M genre.