Review – Men of Smithfield: Adam & Holden by LB Gregg

Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: NetGalley

Holden Worthington’s globetrotting days are over. Once the host of a popular adventure show, he hasn’t ventured past his own front door in more than a year. Then the arrival of a sexy new gardener sparks something Holden hasn’t felt in a very long time—an interest in the world outside his window.

Holden tries to resist the attraction. But painfully shy yet definitely interested Adam Morgan has Holden longing to conquer his debilitating anxiety and live again. After a grisly discovery on the grounds of the estate, the town of Smithfield turns a suspicious eye on the reclusive Holden—and the two men must trust in each other to bring the truth out in the open.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

Since I discovered my love of m/m last year, I’ve been gobbling up everything I can, and with so many people talking up and loving the Smithfield books, I’ve kept with them. While they aren’t my favorite m/m series to date, they are also well written and sweet novellas.

Holden used to be a big shot: author and TV reality star. But after a traumatic event caused by his ex, he finds it impossible to even leave his house. The sexy new gardener he hired provides just enough eye candy, until the gardener finds a dead body on Holden’s land and he is forced to face not only a puzzling case, but his own fears.

Adam isn’t proud of his past, but he is dedicated to showing he can be a reliable employee and friend to Holden. As someone who doesn’t really understand social nuances and is terribly shy, Adam isn’t really sure where he stands with Holden, until it’s spelled out in very basic terms. Once these two establish they have a romantic connection, they both give the other something they desperately need.

One of the things I wish the Men of Smithfield series did was bring back some of the previous characters. That is one of the main reasons I love to read series – to catch back up with characters of previous books and see how they are dealing with life after their happily ever after. In this story we do get to briefly see Tony (from the first book in the series), but he is never with Mark and it’s always in an official capacity.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this series is how different each book is, and how flawed the main characters are. Both Holden and Adam are damaged a little (ok, a lot), but that seems to be the common denominator that binds them together. Holden is so scared of the world, and yet for Adam, he is willing to try and work through his own issues, take the first step toward getting back into the real world. Adam is so shy and timid, never sure if he is saying the right thing, doing the right thing, reading social cues correctly. The fact that Holden is so blunt and honest with him helps pull Adam out of his shell and into a relationship.

I also really liked the mystery aspect of this book. I’ve often found that sometimes if there is a mystery sub-plot in a romance book, the whole mystery falls short. However, with this book I was never really quite sure where Gregg was going to take the murder, and was surprised by how it all ended up. I like when a book can surprise me with how it all wraps up, how it all ends, and I enjoyed the fact that this book was able to do so.

Like most Gregg books, the sexy times are always fun! I enjoyed the fact that Holden and Adam had vastly different experiences, and that Holden was able to introduce Adam into the wonderful world of sex. I liked that Holden was patient and kind with Adam, that he was straightforward with what he wanted, what he expected from him. It made the sexy moments that much hotter, that Holden took the time and was patient enough to give Adam the kind of experience everyone could hope for!

All in all I liked this Gregg installment. It had a bit of a different feel than the last few books, given the huge age gap and emotional drama from Holden and Adam. I would still like to see Gregg bring back more of her previous Smithfield characters, as the series doesn’t really seem to connect from one book to the other. As always though, Gregg manages to rope me in and keep me engaged with each book, and I can’t wait to see what NEW stories can come from Smithfield.
I give Men of Smithfield: Adam & Holden a B

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