Author: Diana DeRicci
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages/Word Count: 76 Pages
At a Glance: An interesting weaving—a disaster story with a shifter story—that begins an unconventional romance I hope we get to see more of.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Rhody Witte is on his way to Alaska for two weeks of fishing and not much else. Mountains, clean air, and all the bait he can waste. What he gets is the largest earthquake to rock the Alaskan wilds in sixty-plus years.
Brendan Skorvarski isn’t the kind of man Rhody usually finds himself attracted to, much less want to know, but there’s something in the gentle giant that Rhody can’t seem to resist.
When they’re locked up in a cabin together for days in the Alaskan wilderness, resistance seems futile when survival takes precedence. Especially their survival when Rhody sees a bear outside their window.
Review: Our story opens with Rhody heading off to Alaska for a remote fishing vacation on his own after working for three years to clear bills after his father’s death. He’s kind of a loner by nature, but his life is going okay. He gets to his cabin and meets a local guy, Brendan, who is staying in the other side of the cabin. They seem to get along fine, and Rhody enjoys his fishing and his time in this cabin. Brendan seems really nice; he’s quiet and helpful. He is also mostly deaf, which he seems worried about telling Rhody. It explains some of the things that Rhody has noticed, and maybe has something to do with Brendan’s shyness. Although, there is much more to Brendan than meets the eye.
The next morning, the entire area is rocked by a huge earthquake. The cabin is damaged, as are Rhody and Brendan’s vehicles, and the road. Aftershocks continue and they are pretty isolated, given the state of the road and lack of power/cell reception, etc. As they make their way back to the lodge, they’re thankful that they’re in pretty good shape, without injuries. Given that state, they get supplies and head back to the cabin since there is a lot worse damage and injured and stranded folks that need to be taken care of. Once they get resettled in Rhody’s side of the halfway destroyed cabin, they go about making things as pleasant as possible for the remainder of their stay,until they can be evacuated, which turns out to be quite a lot of fun for the guys. 🙂
Brendan has been feeling something for Rhody since he first saw him. Since the story is told from alternating POVs, we know that Brendan is the bear that we see periodically in shifter stories, and that his bear is also attracted to Rhody, which is something Brendan didn’t think was possible; although, it explains a lot. As they spend more time together, Brendan works up the courage to ask Rhody if he’s gay, and they both admit their mutual attraction. It helps that they also like each other and have other things in common. It’s fun to watch them work through the communication issues and see Rhody take an interest in sign language.
I have to confess that I love any stories about hearing impaired people and ASL. I took some intro ASL courses a number of years ago, and any time I’m somewhere with an interpreter, I focus on that (there are some amazing Youtube videos of folks doing ASL interpretations of popular songs that are fascinating and I encourage you to go take a look at them).
Overall, Rhody & Brendan is a touching and sweet story about two guys who meet somewhat by circumstance and find out they might want to become something more. I can’t wait to see what happens next given, the weight of the secret Brendan is keeping. They really are very sweet together. Definitely recommended for fans of a good novella where two MCs work through some unforeseen obstacles but come out stronger on the other side.
You can buy Rhody & Brendan here: