Title: Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan
Tucker Springs Series Book Three
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, M/M, BDSM
Length: 259 pages/Word Count: 71,400
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
The course of true love doesn’t always run clean. But sometimes getting dirty is half the fun.
Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam’s delight, hot sex over the laundry table.
Though Denver’s job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can’t get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it’s damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.
Trouble is, Adam isn’t just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they’re going to have to come clean.
Heidi Cullinan’s Dirty Laundry is a superb romance between two flawed protagonists who find love despite their individual quirks. What I like most about this story is how realistic both characters are and how they make their relationship work although they are dealing with some fairly substantial issues.
What begins as a really hot one night stand between Adam Ellery and Denver Rogers soon evolves into a relationship that neither man really expected. Adam’s only relationship could not withstand the weight of his anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) while Denver’s previous relationship was emotionally abusive. Both men are afraid that if they reveal their secrets, the other will end their burgeoning relationship. In spite of their qualms, they each realize that if they are going to have a future together, they need to come clean about their pasts. Adam and Denver are pleasantly surprised when the outcome of their discussion yields surprising results…
Although at first glance it is not apparent, Denver and Adam really are perfect for one another. Denver is infinitely patient and he seems to know instinctively how to handle Adam. Adam is wracked with self-doubts and a negative thought pattern that spirals out of control but his involvement with Denver has a calming effect on his both his anxiety and his OCD.
While Adam’s issues are obvious right from the beginning of Dirty Laundry, Denver’s are more deeply hidden and readers catch glimpses of them here and there. Although it would seem that Adam would be self-absorbed due to the challenges facing him, that is simply not the case. As soon as he learns about Denver’s past, Adam jumps at the chance to help him overcome the obstacles that are holding Denver back.
There is a slight BDSM edge to the sex between Adam and Denver right from their first encounter and continues throughout the novel. Toward the end of the book, the relationship goes in a D/s direction, with Denver in the dominant role. Adam questions his motivations for submitting to Denver and since I had the same concerns, I was very glad that Ms. Cullinan included this in the storyline.
The anxiety and OCD play a prominent role in the story, but it is never overpowering. Since it is such a huge part of Adam’s life, if it were glossed over, I think it would have been a serious injustice to the plot. Heidi Cullinan does an excellent job demonstrating what life is like for someone coping with these illnesses and I really appreciated seeing the different ways Adam found to manage his everyday life.
Dirty Laundry is a perfect blend of kinky sex and sweet romance that fans of M/M novels will enjoy. Both characters undergo a tremendous amount of growth and they truly bring out the best in one another. The sexual chemistry between Adam and Denver is off the charts smokin’ hot and their encounters are downright nasty (but in a good way :)).
Dirty Laundry can be read as a standalone story, but you won’t want to miss a single visit in this wonderful town. And if you have been reading the Tucker Springs series, characters from the previous installments make guest appearances which provides readers the opportunity to catch up on their lives.