Title: Foothills Pride stories Vol I
Series: Foothills Pride 01 – 04
Author: Pat Henshaw
Length: 4 Novella’s (350pgs) Paperback
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th August 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ¾ Hearts
Blurb: A Foothills Pride Collection
The tiny Sierra Nevada community of Stone Acres looks benign on the outside, but it’s been a hive of activity since gay men from Silicon Valley began moving in. The Old Town establishment is up in arms as newcomers challenge the conservative community to move into the new millennium. Along the way, gay couples find true love and a new home.
Burly, bald bartender Guy Stone watches barista Jimmy Patterson get dumped by his boyfriend, then swoops in to help Jimmy recover in What’s in a Name? After sporting goods merchant Max Greene hires flamboyant Fredi Zimmer to remodel his mountain cabin in Redesigning Max, closeted Max falls for the out-and-proud Fredi. When contractor Abe Behr hires accountant Jeff Mason to find out who’s embezzling from the company in Behr Facts, little does workaholic Abe know he’s opening his heart as well as his books to the man. In When Adam Fell, renowned chef Adam de Leon thought he’d lost the love of his life, David Fairbanks, to drugs until David reappears in Stone Acres and wants another chance.
Despite the obstacles, happily ever afters are waiting in the foothills.
What’s In A Name ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
This is one pretty damn cool and well-written story. Jimmy is a sweetheart and it’s difficult not to instantly feel sorry for this self-confessed twink. To top it all off, he’s attracted to the big bear of a man behind the bar at the only gay bar in town.
The mystery is no one knows his name. They just know him as whichever nametag he was wearing when last seen or taken notice of. This makes Jimmy determined to work it out.
It’s certainly different having the entire plot predicated on a character trying to guess something about the other main character. In fact, I really enjoyed how the chapters were set up and it was really well paced too. Every couple of chapters, when it gets to the end of the night after Jimmy and “Guy” have been out, it’s a short period of calm as we see what Jimmy has come up with.
Then between all these guesses, Jimmy chronicles the drama that is unfolding around him, drama that “Guy” is more than willing to get involved in as long as Jimmy is kept safe. “Guy” is a teddy bear in every way possible and I found him instantly likable. His refusal to give his real name is more mischievous than annoying.
I really enjoyed the pacing and the cast of characters in this book. This is the type of book you can sit back and just read without thinking too much. Really, this is just a bit of funny with some mystery thrown in but not too much danger.
Redesigning Max ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
When I read book 1 of this series, What’s in a Name? I had no idea that it was the start of the series. Now that I’ve devoured book 2, Redesigning Max, it is official, I love Pat Henshaw’s books.
But let me back track for a second: although both Foothill Pride books can be read as a standalone book with no real overarching plot, I have to say it is just a simple pleasure getting to know the guys of book 1, Jimmy and Guy, before you’re reacquainted with them again in book 2 as minor characters.
Thinking on it, I’ve decided that I’ve become a fan of Pat Henshaw’s writing. The characters just feel so real and in turn they are relatable to the reader. I love the personalities of the self-confessed twinks and the really quiet, stoic type of manly man.
Redesigning Max is about interior designer and architect, Fredi (not Fred). While sipping coffee, waiting for a client at his best mate’s cafe, Jimmy from book 1, he is approached by the rather socially inept Max. Max inherited a cabin and after asking another local, was recommended to hire Fredi to do the job. Fredi is full of energy and is very personable. He is, however, also a consummate professional.
Max on the other hand is socially awkward after a rough childhood of being ignored by his guardians. The two guys seem a bit odd together at first. But as the saying goes, opposites attract and the attraction between the guys goes from wonderfully awkward to super-hot and sizzling.
Cannot wait for more!
Behr Facts ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
This is the third installment and Pat Henshaw’s Foothills Pride series and I am still in love with it as much as I was when I first had the pleasure to read and review the first book. All books in this series can be read as a standalone, but I recommend that you read it in order. There is a lot of overlap with characters popping up and even in a supporting role, these characters are such a key to the life of the town that I doubt that anyone could help but go back and read the stories of at least four other members of the community. But that’s just me, I suppose, since I’ve already stated just how much I love this series.
I am aware that fans of the paranormal/shifter genre may get tricked – Foothills Pride sounds like a shifter pack rather than it being the LGBTQ community of the Sierra Foothills being who they are/not hiding who they are. Being a fan of shifter books as well, this thought has crossed my mind a time or two since the first book.
Behr Facts is a wonderful addition to the series. The pun intended in the title is a big clue for anyone who likes their men in the form of big, burly men (bears). Behr may be the last name of MC, Abe Behr, but he is also the bear of the title. He is the CEO of the family construction company, which hires a great deal of the Behr family living in the local area.
Since the death of his parents he has been trying to look after his younger brothers and then run the company with a single-minded determination which has meant that dating has been something he has pushed to bottom of his list. Things change when he meets freelance accountant Jeff Mason. In fact his presence not only saves his business and helps Abe find the bad apples in his company, but he also makes Abe want to be a man who Jeff is proud to be with (which includes having to come out).
Abe and Jeff are a very sweet couple. They’re both the type of personality that is quiet on the outside, hiding the depths are on the inside. They have a very quiet strength between them and the result of this is some understated but crackling sexual tension between them. The story is simple but it continues with the bigotry of the community with the increasing homosexual population (I think that’s how you say it).
Abe is frustrated with the bigots and is keen to get rid of as many as possible, as well as trying to find out who is stealing from the family company. There is also a bit of set up for the future with Abe’s younger brothers, Ben and Connor.
Abe is a hard-working guy who has always put others’ needs before his own, I’m glad he got his HEA with someone who complements him perfectly!
When Adam Fell ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
I simply love returning to Pat Henshaw’s world of the Foothills Pride series, where a community in Sierra Foothills near San Francisco is the location for a small group of gay men to settle and call home.
This story we get to know more about Adam – he was once a famous TV chef with fancy San Francisco restaurants and cook books – he had also been a local boy and had moved back to Stone Acres when things turned to shit in San Francisco. Adam had been both lover and best friend to Jason when the two set out to make their fortunes in San Francisco. But San Francisco seemed to have swallowed Jason whole in a world of drugs and sex.
Adam has been in the series since the start in What’s In a Name? – a real funny and quirky book for those who have not read it yet. We pick up the story of Adam and Jason when a clean and sober Jason (now David, which is his middle name) goes to Adam’s restaurant to talk. The guys still great chemistry together despite the years, heartache and trauma that had initially led to them losing each other.
I love that David (Jason) is not bitter at Adam or has any abandonment issues. David has no illusions to what he was. It seems that abandonment was exactly what he needed to get clean.
This is a story about rediscovery and lost love. It is totally sweet. The only thing that I would have liked to have know more about was a bit more of an injection of emotion when it came to their shared past, I think that would have made their future all the more sweeter.
If you’ve been reading the Foothills Pride series this is another satisfying instalment. If you’ve not read the books, while this reads well as a standalone, I think it would be nice to go back and read the first three – if not for anything else you get to read about other charming characters such as Fredi, Max, Jimmy and Guy. Although Abe and Jeff from book 3 do not make an appearance there is a brief mention of them.