Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ARC #REVIEW After the Scrum by Dahlia Donovan #mmromance #romhero

Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Length: 163 pages

Description: 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?

Amazon US Amazon UK


What do a retired rugby player who suddenly finds himself the guardian of his four-year-old nephew and an anxiety-ridden interior designer from a small Cornwall village have in common? Nothing! But opposites attract and that's half the fun.

After the Scrum is a fun story filled with British humor. The chemistry between Caddock and Francis is apparent from their first meeting. Their banter is witty and thoughtful. Of course, Francis is a little odd. He talks to his therapy dog Sherlock and names his car (Watson).
"How do you know he's allergic to sheep?" A deep, almost raspy voice queried from further back in the bar. It might possibly be the most orgasm-inducing voice Francis had ever heart. A deep, gravelly timbre with only the barest hint of an accent. He'd wager the man attached to it would be large--hopefully in all the best ways.

"So? How'd you know he's allergic?" Mr. Orgasmic Voice prompted impatiently, disrupting Francis's wild fantasies.

"I asked him."

"You asked him? Are you mad?" His footsteps moved closer.

"Only on Sundays."
The reasons behind Francis's eccentricities aren't so funny though, and they are one of the things that both draws us to Francis and makes Caddock endearing. Because "The Brute" never seeks to change Francis, he only seeks to help him and love him. I loved how each character completely accepted the other, despite, or maybe because, of how different they were to each other.
Twenty minutes later, the two sat in the much larger Range Rover in awkward silence, still parked by the curb. They looked everywhere but at each other. Sherlock had already made himself at home on a pile of blankets in the back seat.

"All right, sod this, we're getting this out of the way now."

It was the only warning Francis received before Caddock had a hand in his hair, dragging him into a kiss. He held him there until they'd gotten their fill of each other--for now. Released back to his seat, he could only blink repeatedly, trying to settle his breathing while Caddock started the vehicle.

Francis shook his head when he caught Ruth on a nearby pavement giving him the thumbs up. "It'll be around the village in an hour, but they'll be telling everyone we were starkers."

"I could rip your shirt off," Caddock offered helpfully with a hint of a leer. "Could be a great way to pass the time, staring at you."

"Stare at the road," Francis snapped at him, annoyed at the flush of colour that moved up his neck and cheeks. A strong, warm hand gripped his thigh and stayed there. It was going to be a long bloody drive. "Focus on the road."

"I can multitask."
This story also has some amusing secondary characters. I particularly enjoyed Caddock's nephew Devlin. Maybe I'm just a sucker for men and small children. Francis's grandmother is also quite a riot.

I like how the author weaved the sex into the story, giving each scene its own flavor. While not detailed like in erotica (this is a contemporary romance), there is a very slight hint of BDSM in After the Scrum, including a fun wax-play type scene involving chocolate fondue!

If you enjoy small-town stories about mild-mannered slightly-eccentric British gentlemen who love dogs, children, and grandmothers, After the Scrum is for you!

OUR RATING: 4 stars



  1. Thank you so much!

    1. Our pleasure, Dahlia. Thank you for letting Outrageous Heroes of Romance read it. :)