Sam McAuley isn’t having a great start to the summer. Served with papers? Great. He’s being sued. Perfect, pristine yard overrun with chickens? What the—? Clearly, the new guy running the animal rehabilitation centre next door has no idea what he’s doing.
It’s one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next for Bo Novak. Everything is temporary. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab centre while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.
One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.
As Big as the Sky was first published in August 2017. This new edition has a brand new cover but no content changes.
“So what do you do in that big house next door all by yourself?” Bo asked, spreading mustard on a couple slices of bread. “Besides garden, I mean. How’d it go with the magazine people this morning, anyway? Sounded like it went well from my side of the fence.”
“It did,” Sam said. “They’ll be back next week with a writer to interview me. Though I don’t know why. I’m not all that interesting.”
Bo took in Sam’s perfect hair, the neat beard, the broad shoulders, rough hands, tapered waist…and begged to differ.
“Besides,” Sam continued, “I’m no gardening expert. It’s just a hobby. They’d be better off interviewing a horticulturist.”
“Maybe it’s for some kind of mini bio?” Bo finished assembling the sandwiches and plated them. Taking a container of pre-cut veggies out of the fridge, he added a few to the plates, then handed one to Sam.
“Thank you,” Sam said. “They’ll also be coming with a camera crew next week to photograph the garden.”
Bo grunted. “I’ll make sure my chickens stay on this side of the fence.”
Sam winced. Bo had meant it as a joke; clearly it fell flat. Not knowing what to say, he took a bite of his sandwich.
Sam finished chewing and nodded at something on the island. “You read that one yet?”
That was volume three of a popular yaoi series. Bo was slowly making his way through it.
“I’m about halfway through.” Bo munched on a celery stick. “I like it but…I like a little paranormal in my manga.”
Sam polished off his veggies. “Me too. What’s your favourite?”
“It’s not manga but…Scythe and Swords.” Scythe and Swords was about a married demon-fighting duo. James and Elliot were sickeningly cute ass kickers who could behead a demon, praise each other’s fighting skills, and make out like relieved, horny teenagers while covered in icky demon gore, all within the span of five seconds.
Sam’s eyebrows went up. “The web comic?”
He sounded so surprised that Bo’s hackles went up. “Something wrong with web comics? Just because they’re not traditionally published doesn’t mean they’re not as good. That’s like saying books published in e-form only aren’t as good as what you can find on the shelves.”
Sam lifted both hands. “Whoa. I didn’t say that. I was just surprised. I’ve never met anyone outside of online and cons who have ever heard of it.”
Oh. Well, didn’t Bo feel like an idiot? It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. Laura always said he was too quick to react.
“Have you read the latest chapter?” Sam asked.
“Yeah. And holy shit did it take a turn I wasn’t expecting! Can you believe—wait.” Bo stopped himself from vomiting any spoilers. “Have you read it?”
Sam nodded, mouth full of food, giving Bo permission to continue. “First of all, I almost stopped reading when Elliot got killed off. It was only S.P. McAuley’s promise that we hadn’t seen the last of him that made me keep reading. And second? I didn’t expect Elliot to still be alive. I thought he’d be coming back as a ghost or something. Oh, and third…” Bo kept rambling, mostly to keep himself distracted from the slight smile that had reappeared on Sam’s face.
They chatted comics for the better part of an hour, until well after they’d both finished their sandwiches. It wasn’t until Sam pushed his empty plate away and stood that Bo remembered he had something for him.
“Don’t go anywhere,” he told Sam, and headed upstairs to the guest room he’d claimed as his own. He came down with a few comics and a graphic novel. “Um…” Suddenly embarrassed, he shifted from foot to foot. “Laura mentioned that you’re into comics, so I, uh, brought you some of mine. In case you’d like to read them.” He thrust them at Sam, forcing him to take them.
Sam’s smile was crooked. “Thanks. Although…” He handed two back to Bo. “I have these ones.” The first two volumes of Scythe and Swords. Bo had received them as part of S.P. McAuley’s Kickstarter campaign a few months ago. “Anyway, thank you for lunch. I have to go feed Tripaw before he starts eating my shoes.”
“My cat,” Sam said, tucking the comics under one arm. “Like tripod. Because he only has three legs?”
“No, I get it.” Bo grinned. “You named your cat after the one in Scythe and Swords?”
Sam’s cheeks pinked.
I liked this book. It had a good, not quite insta-love, romance, with a bit of conflict, but overall was sweet.
My main issue was that Bo was very unlikable to me at the beginning. He was rude, mean, and honestly, an a**hole, with no real reason for being such. I get that the sister may have played a part in how Sam reacted to Bo’s initial appearance, but it just wasn’t a good enough excuse for me to have that reaction, and for Bo to basically fall in lust immediately despite that. About 40% in, once I saw that Sam was seeing all the issues Bo had to deal with, I was able to “forgive” Sam, but it stuck with me for quite a bit.
Bo just couldn’t catch a break. His parents were flakes to an extreme degree. His sister had some sort of mental block to all the ways he had helped her over the years, and so thought he was a flake. Then when he was there helping, things didn’t quite go to plan. He never gave up though, and kept trying, hoping to find that niche that was all his.
I did really like how the two worked well together, as they started to find what was right for them, how they could make their lives together, etc. Sam bringing Bo to see his parents, just to enjoy the horses, etc really was a good stepping stone, and helped bring their relationship that much closer. I loved Sam’s family, too. They were all in. 🙂
Overall, 3 pieces of eye candy
Amy‘s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group, Amy Aislin’s Readers, to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter.