Welcome to Alvarado 3: In the Wind by C.E.Kilgore

Title : In the Wind                          Word Count :64,000
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Sometimes you have to get good and lost before you’ll have any hope at finding yourself.

Dustin Hunter has returned to Alvarado after seven years of military service and one bad shot that shattered his self-assured ego. Struggling to forget what he left behind in the desert, he finds himself drifting in the wind, homeless and without direction. When the wind blows something unexpected his way, he has to decide if he’s ready to feel emotion again and deal with what he lost in the sand.

Scott Weller’s red hair, strange clear blue eyes, glasses and mechanically inclined intellect have always made him the perfect lure for bullies. Despite being well past the age of school yard harassment, Scott’s reoccurring bruises don’t go unnoticed by his friends and the newly returned Dustin. Scott’s easy smile and calm voice give Dustin a needed sense of peace, and Scott’s blushing freckles make Dustin feel something he never has before.

As the desire to protect Scott grows, Dustin finds himself in a different kind of war. An unsettling wind is blowing through Alvarado, dividing families and bringing change. When the dust settles, the small town of Alvarado will never be the same again.

My Review : Dusty comes home to his small town Alvarado from a seven year stint in the military. He is a little bit broken from all the horrific things he has seen and done. Dusty is a shell of a man his first night back, seeking out something familiar. He shows up at his grandmother’s house only to find out that it has been sold. The occupants are none other than Clint and Ricky. Clint is a familiar face from his high school days. Clint is shocked to see Dusty, but he offers him a safe place to stay while he gets his land legs. Dusty is shocked to find out that Clint is gay, but it doesn’t bother him seeing the beautiful love that these men share. He hopes one day he’ll find his way out of the darkness to experience what they have.
In a small town, news travels at the speed of light. It is not long before the whole town knows he’s back. When an old friend stops by, Dusty starts to reminisce about his old school friends and the good times they had. He is shocked to see how much Scott has grown, the little boy he used to protect from schoolyard bullies. Dusty realizes how easy it is to talk to Scott and they gravitate towards each other forming a very easy friendship. Scott is a loner who lights up whenever he is in his junkyard tinkering with old cars. He likes breathing new life into things that no longer work. Scott is laced with mysterious bruises around his neck , but Dusty doesn’t feel as if it’s his place to question him.
Dusty’s reintegration into civilian life is going better than expected especially with the help of Scott. Soon Dusty realize that what he feels for Scott is more than friendship. Dusty and Scott fall into an easy , comfortable, loving relationship. It is made easier by the fact that Dusty is also working alongside Scott at the junkyard. Their relationship is definitely not embraced by everyone in the small town of Alvarado. They make an enemy out of one of the more esteemed members of the community. Dusty defends
Scott from his bully Ryan McMasters who turns out to be the bank manager’s son. Ryan is arrested for beating up Scott and almost raping him. It’s only Dusty’s timely intervention that stops Scott from being abused further. Lots of secrets come out into the light when Ryan commits suicide and leaves a note for Scott.
Sweet , caring Scott is devastated by his bully’s death wishing that he could turn back the hands of time to help a lonely, terrified, repressed young man. Ryan leaves behind a legacy of self hatred when he tells of the conversion therapy that was foisted upon him by his father who could not accept his homosexuality. He left the world feeling still confused and so desperate and totally in love with Scott, the same man he bullied because he could not acknowledge his feelings. It is so sad to think that so many young men go through these feelings of desperation, confusion and utter loneliness because of their sexuality.
Scott confronts Ryan’s father and he continues the cycle of violence. Gabe McMasters retaliates by setting fire to Scott’s home in the middle of the night. Scott is hurt, regardless of Dusty pulling him to safety. Dusty realizes how precious Scott is to him. He makes a conscious decision to leave the shadows of his past that haunts his every waking moment and live in the light with Scott beside him. Scott and Dusty create history by being the first gay couple to tie the knot in small town Alvarado. I truly enjoy watching these flawed characters redeeming themselves through their love for each other. I give this my rating of 4 – lose the underwear.

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Welcome to Alvarado 2:Unwelcome Home by C.E. Kilgore

Title : Unwelcome Home             Word Count : 192 pgs
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Sometimes the best way to get back on your feet again is to help someone get back on theirs.

Five years ago, Clint Shepfield broke the town of Alvarado apart when he used his fists to break Samuel Garrett’s body. In prison, Clint’s had plenty of time to deal with the guilt and accept the real reasons behind his actions. He’s now accepted his homosexuality, Sam has forgiven him, and he’s being encouraged to return to the town he thought would never welcome him home.

In the blink of an eye, and the stomping boots of drunk bullies, Rick Santos lost everything. Once a track star in the making, Ricky’s been left confined to a wheelchair, his hopes for the future gone. His happy zeal for life is taken over by a pessimistic, bitter attitude, leaving Sam and Cody at their wits’ end. The first time Ricky snaps at Clint, everyone is surprised when Clint bites back.

Clint makes it his mission to get Ricky out of his funk and out of that chair. Maybe if he can help Ricky stand up straight again, Clint will be able to do the same. But, not everyone in Alvarado is ready to welcome them into the community, leaving Clint and Ricky dealing with the possibility of being unwelcome home.

My Review : Self-hatred is a very profound emotion that eats away at our very souls. Nobody knows this better than Clint Shepfield who made a horrible mistake in his teen years that he will forever regret. He hurt the sweetest young man Sam Garrett who he had a crush on, a crush he could not own up to out of fear of being acknowledged as gay. His horrific actions sent him to prison for five years, a penance he would willingly pay over and over again if it could erase his past. Instead of being the soccer star that he was meant to be he is now the town’s pariah.
Clint has a long hard road ahead of him especially since he will be staying with the same young man who he almost destroyed. It so happens that Sam is in love with Clint’s best friend Cody and they are living together. Sam has since forgiven Clint for his actions when he finally understood that his rage was not motivated by homophobia but rather it was self -hatred. It comes from the inner most part of Clint’s ‘self’ that was not able to understand his feelings. He lashed out at Sam who had the courage and owned his sexuality even though it meant that he was bullied and treated harshly especially by his father.
Initially, Clint is bombarded by all the emotions and all the updates of the old town. He realises there is so much that he missed out on. He also feels a bit unwelcome when he meets the other house guest Ricky Santos, Sam’s best friend. Ricky is staying with them after enduring a homophobic attack which left him in a wheelchair. Ricky is very bitter and he also hates what Clint had done to Sam. There definitely is no love lost between Clint and Ricky, but they soon realize that they feel somewhat adrift and lost in the house with their two best friends who are madly in love. These two shattered men accept that they both have to acknowledge the part they played in the path that their lives have taken. They have to discover how to forgive themselves for their actions. They both have a lot of healing to do and it soothes them to tag team their issues together.
For the most part, Clint is not able to trust his instincts due to his inexperience and his past violent acts. He has to learn to forgive himself so that he can trust in what feels right. It is undeniable that there is a spark between Ricky and Clint and they can’t help but to explore this option.Ricky is there to guide him into the foray of intimacy between two men. Although they are able to relate on both being lost in their new realities, they are constantly reminded that their roles are vastly different. There is a juxtaposition of Clint being a felon while in contrast Ricky is a victim. It is hard to see how they will reconcile their two personas without Clint’s past intruding. As soon as they get beyond this, there is yet another hurdle for them to jump.
Clint has to relearn how to live again and how to be a normal man. On the other hand, Ricky is battling his disability and trying to revise how to live in a wheelchair and how to be content with that corporeality. Clint does all he can to help Ricky and gives him the push he thinks his brain needs. He has a feeling that Ricky’s disability is more of a mind thing and he wants to see if he can get the physical body to work in conjunction with Ricky’s battered pysche. Clint comes up with the juiciest incentives in the form of foreplay to try to get Ricky using hand crutches instead of his wheelchair to get him mobile. They decide to trust in each other and stand strong together in love. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.