Being a federal employee in the mountains of Tennessee is difficult. Being a gay man in the mountains of Tennessee is also difficult. Stewart “Stunt” Folger decided to go whole hog and do both. His sexuality and choice of job shouldn’t keep him away from the home he loves passionately. Stunt works for the department of forestry and maintains the hiking trails on federal lands. One day at work Stunt has the feeling he’s being watched. He knows someone is there but can’t see who. Up pops a guy with a gun who takes Stunt hostage. Unfortunately for Stunt tense situations with lots of adrenaline can make him a bit chatty. He does manage to annoy his captor, but the guy, who is named Alex, doesn’t hurt Stunt. Stunt just ends up tied up in the back of Alex’s truck. This puts Stunt in a bit of a pickle. He’s involved in the D/s world. Being tied up is awesome! All indications are Alex is also involved in that world. Being tied up by a gorgeous man who happens to know what he’s doing is double awesome! That fact that Stunt is the hostage of a man with a plan to kill another isn’t so awesome. Alex is out to kill the drug lord that murdered his little brother. He’ll stop at nothing to avenge his family.
Stunt wants Alex to get help on his quest. Obviously not from the police. Many long time residents of the mountains would also object to the man Alex plans to kill. Despite being actively engaged in law breaking, most moonshiners are also anti-drug. Alex and Stunt go to see Elijah Pierpont. Stunt wanted Alex to go alone. Alex gets a bit upset when Stunt explains all the ramifications of taking Stunt up to Elijah’s house. In a bizarre twist of Mountain Logic, Elijah decides these two men who are willing to die for each other need to be married for him to go along with the plan and not kill either one or both of them outright. Okay, Elijah kind of makes sense when you read the book, I can’t do him justice if I try and explain it. Stunt and Alex get married. The sex is much better than either man expected! While staying at Elijah’s home, Stunt learns more of the local unofficial politics. Just because Elijah is against the drug lord moving in doesn’t mean all the local mountain folk are. Alex, Stunt, and now Elijah have quite a battle on their hands. It’s time for a new plan.
I loved the hypocrites in this book. For the most part the characters in the book could be classified as chaotic good (A small group of very nerdy people will understand that, the rest of you can Google.). The story describes a group of people with a very long history of disregarding the federal government. It started with the Whiskey Rebellion, and it hasn’t stopped. Ultimately, it’s a group of people willing to flout the law passing judgment on which laws a different group of people are willing to flout. Including biblical laws. There is a rousing discussion with much quoting of bible verse while Elijah is trying to justify murder to his wife. Then despite all his talk of personal freedom being sacrosanct Elijah forces Stunt and Alex to marry each other. Elijah was a great flawed character. I ended up liking him a lot.
It was pretty funny that everyone just sort of assumed Stunt was the wife in the relationship. They did this without knowing about Stunt and Alex’s sexual proclivities. Frequently a book with a D/s storyline lets the bedroom behaviors bleed into every aspect of the couple’s relationship. Sexual submission has nothing to do with a person’s desire or capability to make decisions outside the bedroom. Not only did Stunt want to be treated like an equal partner in a relationship Alex wanted an equal partner. He had no desire to rule another man’s life.
Faye's review can also be found at Live Your Life, Buy The Book