***Author's Note***All formatting issues in the original release have been corrected. The They/Them pronouns are no longer italicized. ***End Note****
Growing up with a strictly religious father in a house with little joy, or love, left Grady Stoltz eager to get out. At the first opportunity that presented itself, they left home with a young man who swept them off their feet, used their preferred pronouns, and accepted that they were gender fluid and wished to shed the name Grady and all of the constraints of their former life. Dubbed Gypsy, they never expected to return to that farm or the rural community they’d been raised in, but life took some unexpected turns, and they found themselves returning four years later. A little older, a little wiser, and the new owner of a house full of memories and regrets.
Cleaning the place up is only the first step towards deciding if they wish to sell it, or if they wish to stay and try and make a life for themselves in a place they’ve never felt as if they belonged. Haunted by the memories of the father who could never accept them, the mother they lost at a young age, and their own shortcomings and failures, they are in a very dark place when Rogue arrives.
Charismatic when performing in front of an audience, yet shy and vulnerable when faced with the prospect of being alone in a crowd, Rogue seeks shelter with Gypsy on their middle of nowhere farm, hoping for a new beginning and a chance to see if the tiny spark that had flared between them once before, can be kindled into a roaring flame.
Two battered souls, one tattered farmhouse, an old dog, a cranky chicken, several misspoken words, and one crazed ex-husband combine in an explosive combination of truth, lust, dreams, and vengeance. Will the force of it tear Gypsy and Rogue apart, or will it leave them closer than they ever dared to hope?
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Genderfluid, Pansexual
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Death of Parent, Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption
Word Count: 118,234
Setting: Rural Wisconsin
Languages Available: English
They rolled, blinking against the torrent, rainwater washing into their eyes, over their cheek, down their chin. Gypsy opened their mouth and it coated their tongue, nearly gagging as it hit the back of their throat, forcing them to swallow. It was cold and pure and they wondered, for a moment, if this was what the sky tasted like. A deep chuckle drew their eyes left, to a pair of black shitkickers standing out in stark contrast to the muddy green of their lawn.
Those boots were attached to long legs encased in wet denim, a sodden House of 1000 Corpses t-shirt stretched across a thickly muscled chest. Through their watery gaze they caught a glimpse of tattoos wrapped around a tanned pair of arms, their breath catching in their chest when they couldn’t fully make out the patterns of them.READ MORE
Oh god, oh god it couldn’t be. They strained to see the man’s face, but the rain was blocking out his features. Gypsy began to panic, sucking in breath after breath, hyperventilating, as if the crying hadn’t been enough. They wished a sinkhole would swallow them up even while they were grateful the rain had washed away their tears. Gypsy was only vaguely aware of the man going to one knee beside them until he reached out. Recoiling sharply away from his touch, Gypsy went rolling through the mud. Their breathing picked up more, sucking in panicked gulps as they closed their eyes and squeezed their fists until mud squished through their fingers.
“Hey now. Gypsy. Hey, slow down your breathin’ for me. I didn’t mean ta scare you.”
He reached out again, and this time Gypsy was too tired to pull away. Exhausted, cold, with frayed emotions and their clothing stuck to their skin, they focused on the voice and tried not to fall off a cliff of blind panic.
“You can do better than that. Stop holding your breath, ya gotta breathe,” the voice insisted and they could feel their hand being placed against the center of a muscular chest so that the heartbeat thudded gently beneath their fingertips.
“Try and match your breathing to mine. Shit, I didn’t think you’d react like this to me coming out to see ya.”
They gasped, shuddered, batted weakly at the hand until they let go.
“Shit, Gypsy, I’m not gonna hurt you.”
The man’s voice slowly sunk in and with it came the realization that it wasn’t their ex. They wanted to weep all over again for the mercy of that small act. Their breathing eased, and slowly, slowly they unclenched their fists from the grass. Rogue didn’t attempt to touch them again, just heaved a sigh and flopped onto his back beside Gypsy, shoved his rain soaked hair out of his eyes and let the deluge wash over him.
“Shower broken?” he quipped.
“No.” They didn’t look at him again, couldn’t. Gypsy was betting there would be pity in his eyes, that, or he’d be eyeing them up like he was measuring them for a padded room.
“So this is for fun then?” He wiggled a little, getting comfortable, settling in like he planned to be there awhile.
“Why are you here? How did you ever find me?”
He chuckled again, turned on his side, brushed the wet grass aside so he could see them more clearly.
“You told me about this place over a bottle of Grey Goose and Brit Coms.”
A bark of laughter erupted from their throat, harsh, rough, but it was a pleasant memory and damn, they needed those. “You laughed so hard you puked.”
“Yeah, that was your fault too. Never thought those things would be remotely amusing.”
“That doesn’t explain how you were able to find it.”
“We always keep records of the towns we’ve visited and the places we’ve set up shows. It wasn’t hard to backtrack through them and figure it out.”
“Why would you go through that much effort for me?”
“Why not? You didn’t call, you didn’t write, so when Isaac told me you’d headed back here, I figured I’d come find out what happened and make sure you were okay. You said you’d never return here, so I figured something drastic had to happen to change your mind.”
“My father died.”
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Then I’ll wait ‘til you decide if you want condolences or a celebration.”
“That’s harsh. I wouldn’t…I’d never…”
“Sorry. I would though.”
“You didn’t even know my old man.”
“I was talking about mine.”
TL Travis on Amazon wrote:
Gypsy and Rogue are two of my favorite fictional characters. They have each been through so much in their lives, and each needs something to hold onto, someone who will be there without judgement or rejection. I love that in this book, the genderfluid character is emotionally the stronger of the two. They are the one person Rogue feels that he might be able to depend on. I love that they both thrive as their bond grows stronger.
I feel so much love for Gypsy, but Rogue is the character who makes me cry. There are so many moments in this book when I just want to wrap him up and take away his pain. Fortunately, he has left his unloving family behind and come to stay with Gypsy, who is determined that Rogue will feel cared about and necessary. They are there to show Rogue that life can be wonderful and fun. If the two can deal with the threat of Randy, Rogue's brother and Gypsy's ex-husband, they might just have a chance.
I absolutely love Rogue and Gypsy and the friends who wholeheartedly support them both. This story brings out all the emotions in a reader, from rage, to amusement, to adoration. This is a sometimes difficult story, but the relationship between Gypsy and Rogue is pretty easy - as long as Gypsy can control their mouth and not say something to upset the very sensitive Rogue. I enjoy how Gypsy teaches Rogue how to raise farm animals: and Rogue is the first knife-throwing artist main character I've ever read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who can handle the domestic violence triggers. There is a wonderful love story here.
Jennie on Amazon wrote:
And put me back together multiple times. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I rooted for these two and every time I thought things were on the upswing, their lives had other plans. I cried, I laughed and throughout it I wanted to wrap them both in my arms and protect them from the world.
Absolutely fantastic book which I recommend to all MM lovers!!!
Amazon Customer on Amazon wrote:
I was immediately drawn into the story of Gypsy. I was intrigued by their history and although I found the pronouns a little confusing at times, I think that is because I'm not used to reading a story that uses they/them. Once I had it clear in my head, the story flowed better for me.
Gypsy's life has been tough and a little sad but they are also resilient and a little hopeful.
I liked Rogue, the brother of Gypsy's crappy ex husband. He's in need a TLC as much a Gypsy is.
"every time we've ever touched, drunk, high, sober or whatever, there's been a spark, like a lightning bolt and you feel it too. I know you do. No promises, no regrets, no bull****, let's just see what happens, ok? Maybe we'll break each other a little more than we already are, or maybe we put each other back together again."
I was fully immersed in their story. Wanting and willing them to get the HEA that both of these characters deserved. It's an uplifting journey of the relationship between Gypsy and Rogue as they grow and thrive together. I liked watching them learn new things about themselves and each other.
After returning to their hometown for a fresh start following the collapse of their marriage and the death of their father, Gypsy learns you can go home again. And that the past will haunt you unless you deal with it. When his ex-brother-in-law, Rogue, shows up at their family farm, it’s the beginning of something unexpected and entirely desired.
Gypsy’s Rogue is a wonderful romance that has a depth and urgency to it that’s refreshing. This is the first book I’ve read with a gender fluid MC. Gypsy is a fully realized character who will make their way into your heart with their strength, compassion and humor. Rogue will have you reacting to him much as Gypsy does. He may be broken, but he’s not shattered.
The story has a real sense of place that gives a “You are there” vibe that pulls in the reader. The locations are just as much a character as any of the people or Fester the dog.
Layla Dorine has crafted a truly affecting story filled with heart, sexy times and a dash of suspense. It’s a fantastic book that deserves to find the widest audience.