Title: The Billabong
Author: Jack Byrne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 70 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: Having long ago lost his wife and children, cattleman Jim Kelly works the family farm in the harsh 1800s Australian outback, most days wondering why he bothers. That question is foremost in his mind when a venomous snake takes him by surprise. Another surprise comes when a skilled doctor is in the vicinity to save his life. But the third, and biggest, surprise for Jim is falling hard and fast for that man.
Life on the lam is tough, and bushranger Mark Turner simply wants to maintain his freedom as long as he’s able. Unfortunately, being a doctor, his conscience won’t let him leave a snakebite victim to die. Before he thinks about the consequences of his humanitarian actions, he’s both saved Jim and become smitten with him. But considering how Mark’s past could negatively impact any possibility of a future, maybe falling in love wasn’t such a great idea after all.
Review: Sweet and kind of an adorable little gem. I am not sure what I was expecting with this historical love story, but I ended up smiling and feeling charmed by the end.
I will keep this brief because the story itself is. I always feel like I am in danger of giving away the whole story with the short novellas.
These men lived in such a dangerous and difficult time and place. Survival was in question on a regular basis and they both knew loneliness and loss. Living in a time where the sexual chemistry and emotional connection that they share is considered wrong and dangerous, these men were incredibly brave to take the chance to be together.
While the story is short I did not feel shortchanged. Although, I would love to see more of their adventures together. I enjoyed the development of the relationship between the men. Both of them were inexperienced in actually being with another man and afraid, yet could not help but give in to their affection and desire. They made a very sweet and cute couple.
Reviewed by Nina