Two men, so different, on track for a romantic collision.
Can they survive the impact?
Title: After the Scrum
Author: Dahlia Donovan
Genre: Sweet M/M Contemporary Romance, Sport/Rugby
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Designer: Claire Smith
Caddock ‘The Brute’ Stanford lost his brother and rugby career within the same year. The once man-about-town is now a has-been and guardian to his young nephew. Not sure where life will go after the scrum, he decides to purchase a pub in the Cornwall village of Looe. He never expects to fall in lust—and then love.
Francis Keen hides his crippling anxiety behind his eccentric habits, lush interior design, and beloved dog, Sherlock. Alone by choice after an attack in college left him emotionally scarred, he lives by the sea with his gran, resigned to working small jobs for local businesses. Revamping the pub for the new owner is right up his alley—especially when he realizes who the owner is.
Two men, so different, on track for a romantic collision. Can they survive the impact?
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Autistic, and a massive introvert. I live for video games, Jane Austen and tea. Oh, and my hubby. I binge watch The Great British Bake Off and As Time Goes By at least once a month.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
Ivy was inspired by a crazy dream I had after watching too much Strike Back.
3. How did you come up with the title of After the Scrum?
I don’t think I considered any other titles for the book. A scrum is a moment during a rugby match that is used to restart play. The story is really about two men who are attempting to restart their lives after getting side-tracked for very different reasons. It seemed almost poignant though I did worry no one else would understand why I’d picked it.
4. Describe one of your main characters in five words.
Francis is eccentric, slender, anxious, sweet, and loyal.
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing After the Scrum, especially as it's a new genre to you?
Honestly? I think what surprised me most was how much I enjoyed stepping outside of the paranormal genre. I thought it would be a struggle for me, but I quite enjoyed it.
6. Have you ever done anything strange or weird in the name of research?
Define strange? My hubby would tell you I watched a lot of rugby in the name of research which he found strange. I won’t tell him it was more than research if you won’t.
7. How long does it take you to write a book?
After the Scrum took a month. Misguided Confession which I am currently finishing up has taken me almost a year. Both are 50,000 words novels. So it really depends.
8. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m usually at my desk from eight in the morning until around three or four in the afternoon. I also keep a notebook with me during the evening while I’m watching the telly for writing.
9. Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. I do have three coffee mugs that I prefer to use during working hours. I also have music on, but that’s about it.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Only that I hope they enjoy my two sweet lads, Caddock and Francis, as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
I received an author's copy of this story for an honest review.
What I Loved: I went into After the Scrum not knowing it was just the book I needed to end my day with a smile on my face. Caddock and Francis have an amazingly sweet, easy rapport and the steady build to their relationship left me satisfied. The book moves steadily and I was able to finish it in one sitting.
What I Didn't Love: There is one scene where Francis is put in a dangerous situation that shadowed an incident from his past that was tied up a little too quickly for my taste. Beyond that After the Scrum is a cute M/M romance with little to fault.
"Lonely nights had taught him life was too short to waste a chance at a good thing. And Francis? He was definitely one of those."
"If you do splinter into a million pieces, I'm gifted with superglue."
While sex is a small part of the story, After the Scrum focuses more on the emotions and growing love between its main characters. So if you're looking for something light on the steam but high on the hearts and flowers you can't go wrong with this one.