REVIEW: Brains and Brawn – R.L. Merrill

COVER REVEAL/GIVEAWAY: Brains and Brawn - R.L. Merrill

Genre: Contemporary, Rock ‘n Roll

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Melissa, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Billy “Brains” Brennan has achieved rock stardom in not just one, but two chart-topping bands, but events from his past have him convinced he’s living on borrowed time. Brains and his brothers-in-Hush are ready to take the last cross-country Warped Tour by storm…until the actions of two drunk dudes with bad attitudes set off a chain of events that leave him incapacitated…and face-to-face with a handsome stranger who inexplicably feels like home—and not the home Brains fled at sixteen. 

Chief Petty Officer Paul McNally has spent his 25-year career as a Navy Corpsman responding to emergencies and caring for wounded soldiers. When fate has him in the right place to provide aid to a fallen rock star, it sends his life spiraling on a trajectory he never planned for. Instead of concentrating on his impending retirement and a second career, he’s now playing nursemaid to a fascinating younger man…and falling in love—a fact he can’t seem to figure out how to explain to his adult son. 

A health scare, band drama, and pain from both their pasts threaten to end Brains and Paul’s fledgling relationship. Fate brought them together. It will take trust, honesty, and hope to keep them together. 

The Review

This is the second book about the members of the band Hush.  This one is focused on the drummer Billy “Brains” Brennan and can be read as a stand alone, but we do get to see cameos of the cast for fans of book one.  

The story delves into the painful past of our main character Brains.  Triggered by the injury he receives during the signing event at Warped Tour, he is forced to depend on a stranger.  Lucky for Brains, that stranger, Paul, is a Navy corpsman who was at the concert with his son, a really handsome Navy corpsman at that.  Both men are at huge crossroads in their lives.  

Whether by choice or by circumstances, they are facing new and uncertain futures.  Watching them navigate these new situations, while living in the same house, is sweet and heart wrenching in turns.  

While I enjoyed the chance to see these two having this time together, I did miss the interactions of the band as a whole that was such a part of book one.  The inclusion of the retirement ceremony was well done and gave a great backdrop for a pivotal scene –nope, not spoiling this one.  

My favorite part of this book was watching both Brains and Paul interact with Paul’s niece and nephew.  They brought a different element to the story and allowed the men to show each other a different side to each other. 

I do wish there was more information about Paul’s history with his friend George, especially in the resolution with Paul’s son.  

The romance between these two is very engrossing. This is a great addition to the series.  I hope we get to catch up with Paul and Billy in the next book. 

The Reviewer

In writing this bio I am taking a rare break from reading! I always have a book on hand just in case there is time to sneak in a chapter or two. As a military spouse and a mom of two boys, it is amazing how often I am hurrying up to wait. Luckily for me I don’t have a favorite genre so I get lots of fun authors to choose from. My education was in sociology and mental health counseling, so stories with strong character development are my favorites. Happily Ever After is the best part of romance for me because real life is hard enough. 

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