Title: Against the Grain
Author: Jay Hogan
Length: 364 pages
Series: Aukland Med, book 4
Amazon | Goodreads
Release date: December 8
I don’t like labels and I’m happy that way, but it’s taken a long time to get here. A jerk of a father, too many bullies to name, and a string of dipshit boyfriends whose interest in me rarely made it past the skirts I sometimes wear. Suffice to say, my faith in men runs a little thin.
The last thing I need is a gruff, opinionated, fiery, closeted, Paralympian jock messing with my hard-won peace. Miller Harrison is a wrinkle in my life I could definitely do without. I have a job that I love at Auckland Med., a boss who understands me, and a group of friends who accept me as I am.
I should walk away.
But Miller knows a thing or two about living life against the grain, and that hope I thought I’d buried a long time ago, is threatening to surface.
Against the Grain is the newest standalone in Jay Hogan’s Auckland Med series. This is a series I have enjoyed and have fallen in love with all its wonderful and unique characters. This one is by far my favorite of the series and I just loved it so much.
Sandy Williams loves his job at Auckland Med and the close group of friends he’s made there. Miller Harrison, player for the NZ Wheel Backs and new employee at Auckland Med, gets off on the wrong foot when he first meets Sandy being rude. Sandy is used to people judging him for his choice in clothing, so he writes Miller off. After another random encounter Miller finds himself entranced by Sandy and wants to get to know him better but also is fearful as he is not out of the closet in his sport or at work. Sandy hid or dulled his shine long enough and although he truly comes to care for Miller he refuses to be forced into a societal norm and stops being true to himself. Will Miller be able to get over his long engrained fears or risk losing Sandy and his new-found true to himself life?
“”He lifted his hand to brush across Miller’s bright red cheek. ‘You’re a bit of a puzzle, Miller Harrison. I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know you.”
Oh goodness, I loved these men so much. Sandy is amazing a force to be reckoned with. He is strong, kind and proud of who is. He refuses to bow down to the society’s expectations of males, in clothing choices and in life. Sandy has to make tough decisions when it comes to Miller and put their feelings to the test, he is in the right and really is the driving force to making their relationship long-lasting.
“Kissing my palm, Mr Harrison? Who knew there dwelled a romantic under all the fuckery?”
Miller has struggled most of his life with his physical disability and coming out publicly gay has always felt like more drama than its worth until he meets Sandy and that all changes. He is a bit prickly at first but the second he lets those walls down with Sandy he becomes a whole different person. He is charming, and does little things to show he cares that are just absolutely precious. He really has no clue how to have a relationship, but he genuinely tries. It was hard to watch him dig himself into a hole at times and hurt Sandy in the process, but he fights to correct his mistakes and there’s no denying how much he loves Sandy.
“I have no words,” he whispered in his ear.” You’re the sexiest man I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and I’m not sure what you see in me, but I’m so fucking grateful you decided to give me a chance.”
I could read about these two and never get bored. They were just perfect together and honest, pushed buttons, and didn’t shy from tough subjects. They joked about the boyfriend handbook because relationships are complicated and only get harder as the feelings grow stronger but these little moments of light-hearted joking helped. Also, I can’t not mention how hot as hell their sex life is 🔥🔥 Plus the found family Miller and Sandy have is so heartwarming and the family and friends they have around them and supporting them put a smile on your face.
Against the Grain is a little on the long side but I didn’t really notice it. The book has a lot of drama that both characters are dealing with but it’s not anything over the top or unrealistic. Miller is wading through coming out publicly, facing the end of his athletic career, and being in a relationship. Sandy is battling reconnecting with a homophobic parent, trusting Miller with his heart, and problems from judgmental people over his choice of dress. They work hard to balance this new relationship with everything going on in their lives and it’s a little harder for Miller whose avoided drama his entire life.
“You gave my heart a soft place to fall, do you know that? You’re a good man, You’re sexy as hell, and I couldn’t be happier.”
I loved this book so much.. in case I haven’t said it enough haha I guess the only thing I didn’t love was the cover but I get that it is supposed to be Sandy and it comes close to how I picture him but there’s just something about it that I don’t like lol 🤷♀️
In the end I can’t stop myself from giving 5 stars to this mm romance between two drastically opposite characters who need each other, their found family and their blood families to find a happily ever after.