Books · Holiday Story

REVIEW: Twice Shy by Sally Malcolm

The Official Description: The last thing Joel Morgan wants is to fall in love again. Scarred by his failed marriage, Joel’s determined to keep his life emotionally stable—which means taking a job teaching fourth grade, fixing up his house on weekends, and avoiding absolutely all romantic entanglements. And he’s doing great.

Until he meets sweet but struggling single dad, Ollie Snow.

Following the tragic death of his sister and her husband two years earlier, Ollie became the legal guardian of their two young sons—much to the horror of the boys’ conservative grandparents. They think Ollie’s too young and too gay to raise their grandsons. So to prove them wrong, Ollie’s determined to parent the boys without anyone’s help.

Until he meets reserved but caring teacher, Joel Morgan.

As the only two men in the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, Joel and Ollie are thrown together over a series of fundraising events and somewhere between the Beach Fun Run and the Christmas Market they fall in love. But Ollie has another reason for moving to New Milton—a reason he’s keeping close to his chest—and Joel’s wounded heart won’t trust a man with secrets. Dare they hope for a future together, or will their past hurts keep them apart forever?

Just the facts:  M/M romance, chosen families, coming out, HEA

The newest installment in the New Milton series is an emotional story that gave me a serious case of the warm fuzzies. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: This book was a beautiful story that was a lovely continuation of the New Milton Series by Sally Malcolm. This book could be read as a stand-alone, but honestly, I would encourage anyone who loves romance to pick up the series from book one and come along for the entire story. Characters from the other books in the series put in an appearance in Twice Shy and I can almost guarantee that you’ll be curious about them once you get started.

In this story, Ollie is raising his nephews after a tragic accident took their parents. He’s fiercely independent because he’s insecure about the job he’s doing trying to raise two young boys. In spite of the fact that he’s having trouble finding the time to breathe, he joins the PTA at his nephew’s school. At the school, Ollie meets sixth-grade teacher, Joel. Joel is four years past a hurtful divorce from his wife… and still not out as bisexual at the school… or in the town for that matter.

The two men are attracted to one another but keep their distance initially for very different reasons. I loved the way Malcolm developed these two characters. It’s one of the things that really makes Malcolm’s book an instant “going to read that” decision for me. The characters are fully formed and unique and I love that.

Ollie might be in over is head in the day to day practicalities of being a father, but he’s got the love and caring down pat. He’s put himself last as he has struggled to try and become a parent at 24. He loves his nephews but when his car is totaled in an accident he feels as though things are going to come crumbling down around him.

This is the point at which Ollie’s and Joel’s lives become entangled. Joel offers his car to Ollie for as long as he needs it. Thus begins the push and pull of their friendship.

Joel is still scarred by the way his divorce came about. He longed for a family with his wife… but when he told her that he was bisexual, she was repulsed and left him. I’m simplifying it in my review…but the author really brings out the hurt and turmoil that is left in the wake of someone not allowing their partner to simply be who they are. There are some lovely moments of dialogue between Joel and his therapist as they being to work through his insecurities and the defenses he has built up around himself. Don’t be fooled by thinking this is just a light romance… there’s so much romance and love that I really ached for these two characters but the author also explores the reasons we make poor decisions, the way we avoid things we want and how easily we can hurt one another.

Thank you, Sally Malcolm! I could read this series forever!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 88,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Sally Malcolm

New Milton Series

Book #1 – Perfect Day – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #1.5 – Love Around The Corner – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – Between The Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) mentions death in a car accident, description of a minor car accident, biphobia, brief descriptions of panic/anxiety.

Sally Malcolm was bitten by the male/male romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

Perfect Day was her first published male/male romance, with the follow-up (Between the Lines) out later in 2018 and a dozen other ideas bubbling away on the back burner. Her stories are emotional, sweetly angsty, and always have happy endings.

Sally also writes tie-in novels for the hit TV shows Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. To date she’s penned nine novels and novellas, and four audio dramas.

She lives in South West London with her American husband, two lovely children, and two lazy cats.

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Readalikes: Other similar reads you might like:

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I received an ARC of Twice Shy by Sally Malcolm via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

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