Book Review – Featherbed by Annabeth Albert


Release Date: March 15, 2021
Buy Link | Goodreads | Vino & Veritas Page
Cover Design: Christine Coffey

Blurb:
When a bookworm on borrowed time meets a younger, free-spirited chicken farmer, sparks and feathers fly…
Harrison Phillip Fletcher, III isn’t supposed to be here. Not in Burlington, Vermont, not running Vino & Veritas, a quaint inclusive bookstore and wine bar, and definitely not still alive, at forty-two. Also not supposed to be here? An unexpected delivery of chickens.

Finn Barnes knows chickens. The burly organic farmer knows all about rare breed poultry, but dealing with a hot, older bookseller is an entirely different matter. City slicker types like Harrison never end up staying in Vermont for the long-term.

They should steer clear of each other. But the flare of attraction is mutual. And somehow amid book discussions and farm tours, they discover plenty in common. Now they’re stealing kisses in Finn’s barn, sneaking out like teens, and burning up the sheets.

What starts as a fling brings very real feelings for two lonely souls, but a future together seems as unlikely as chickens in a bookstore. Feathers may be flying, but learning to trust takes time neither may have. Can they take a leap of faith together before it’s too late?

Featherbed is a stand-alone novel in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North. This opposites-attract, age-gap romance features a low-angst, fluffy—and feathery—romp as a fish out of water discovers the home he never thought he’d find.

Publisher: HeartEyesPress
Pages: 170
Characters: Harrison/Finn
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Series

Review

I haven’t read anything by this author before, and I’ll definitely be reading more. I also loved the set up for the Vino &Veritas/True North world and am looking forward to meeting the other characters who share it, and getting to know those better that I got a glimpse of in this story. I’d also recommend reading the free Christmas bonus story that is available when you sign up for author’s newsletter. It’s sweet, cute, and a wonderful epilogue to Featherbed.

I was sucked into Harrison and Finn’s story immediately. I love the small town vibe of Burlington in rural Vermont. The way Harrison and Finn meet is original, and cute. Although this is a sweet story, I liked that they both had reasons to grapple with their mortality and how they needed to get past that. I loved how Harrison and Finn connected, and how they both enjoy regency romance. I enjoyed their comfortable conversation, easy friendship, and flirting. I wish I had a bookshop like Veritas nearby!

The supporting cast flesh out this world, and add to the story. I particularly liked Audrey, Harrison’s mother, and Finn’s sisters, and how they all play a part in helping Finn and Harrison move past their fears, and into a relationship. There were moments I wanted to smack both of them with the way they were attempting to convince themselves the other one didn’t need them.

I enjoyed this sweet romance, with its likeable characters. The ending was very satisfying and left me with a lovely fuzzy warm feeling.

5 out of 5 stars.

Excerpt
“What’s next?” Harrison was so serious that I wasn’t sure whether he meant us or the shelf project, but I couldn’t resist messing with him a little.

“Screwing,” I deadpanned.

Predictably, Harrison made a sputtering noise. “Pardon?”

“With a drill, Harry.” I held up the trusty cordless I’d retrieved. “With a drill.”

“No one calls me Harry.” His mouth pursed. I wanted to kiss it. Perversely, the more uptight he got, the more I wanted to unravel him.

“Not even your mom?” I found the correct drill bit for the project and slotted it in.

“Ha.” Harrison had locked his gaze on my hands in a way that made me both self-conscious and more than a little turned-on. “I call her Mom only because she dislikes the formality of Mother.”

“Whereas you love the formality. I get it. Harry.” I put deliberate emphasis on the nickname, so that I could categorize all the different shades of pink and purple he was turning. Besides, it was a good distraction from how his shrewd eyes made me feel.

“I said—”

“You’re fun to harass.” I grinned at him, which earned me an eye roll in return.

“I try. Now give me something to do.”

“Okay, okay. Back to work. You can help by measuring to mark each of the screw holes.”

“Why do construction terms always sound so suggestive?”

“Because you have a dirty mind, Harry.” I gave him an exaggerated leer.

“You better stop that.” He didn’t sound particularly convincing.

“Stop teasing or stop looking at you?” Laughing, I waggled the drill in his direction. “I’ll remind you that I’m the one holding power tools.”

“So you are.” Harrison kept holding my gaze, eyes soft and expectant behind his glasses, tongue darting out to lick at his lips. In that moment, he was infinitely appealing and nothing at all like Astin.

Maybe I’d been mistaken in thinking he was a branch of the same tree of rich dudes who had no issues taking what they wanted. Like him, Astin had favored designer clothing, pricey-looking watches, and the same luxury brand car, and had also dropped clues about inheritances. But unlike Astin, there was a certain humility to Harrison, and he didn’t try to tell me how to do my job.

Oh, Harrison was still a city slicker, and probably not sticking around, but he wasn’t an entitled asshole either. He wanted to kiss me. That want was all over his face, but so was his restraint. As with the woodworking, he’d let me lead. He’d wait for me to make my move and didn’t have a ready arsenal of slick lines. His uncertainty was perhaps the most charming thing about him.

And so, still meeting his eyes, I set the drill back down on the workbench. “No power tools now. You still want to shut me up?”

I stepped closer, in case he had any doubt as to my intent. He smelled good. Expensive, like someone had married delicate herbs and leather scents in an aftershave that probably cost more than a year’s supply of my soap.

“Yeah. I think I do.” His cultured voice had gone husky, but still contained that vulnerability I found so damn intoxicating.

“Show me.” Touching the sleeve of his waffle-knit sweater, I turned him toward me. There. I’d made my move. The next was his.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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