Review: Stealing Northe by Jamie Craig

Two outlaws and one widow turn to each other for comfort, but nobody expects lust to become a love affair…

Amy Northe hasn’t known a man’s company in the six years since her husband died. That all changes the night her son comes in from chores with two strangers in tow. Kenneth and Leon are seeking shelter, and though Amy wants to turn them away, she can’t. There’s a blizzard moving through the Utah mountains, and Leon’s busted ankle has him teetering on the edge of consciousness. She does the only thing she can and takes them in, unaware of the secrets these young men hide.

Kenneth doesn’t want to take advantage of the older woman’s hospitality, even though she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But Leon needs help and Amy is a nurse. If he has to satisfy his desire for her in the form of covert trysts with Leon, then that’s what he’ll do, especially since he’s too much of a gentleman to ever think of making advances on her.

Until Amy makes one herself. Then everything changes…for all three of them.

Review by Erastes

Jamie Craig is–as you probably all knew by now–a writing collaboration of Pepper Spinoza and Vivian Dean and I’ve been impressed with just about everything I’ve read of theirs.  I can’t imagine how a colloaboration works; I know that I could never do it, and if I did it would never be seamless–and that’s what Craig’s writing is, seamless.

They have a knack of being able to start a story in the middle, as it were–slap bang in the action, very little backstory to be outlined, because it’s not necessary.  It’s very cinematic writing, the camera pans into the remote log cabin, and we are right there in the moment.  In only a page we learn where we are, who our first protagonist is (Amy Northe, a frontier woman who’s lost her husband)–there’s already a lot of conflict in her life, and then BAM, two strangers appear on the doorstep and off we go.

I found myself entirely pulled in by the situation.  It’s clearly a claustrophobic one, three adults, a kid, animals, all snowed in in a log cabin in the hills, and you really get a sense of the difficulties that life would entail.  Water melted from snow, an elk being meat for the winter, preserved fruit and flour being lifelines to make it through the worst of the weather. It really makes you wonder why people would choose a life like that.

Be warned, you people who seek purely gay relationships in their stories, this isn’t that, as the blurb suggests.  One of the characters is clearly bisexual, and the sex is mostly het and ménage.  What I particularly liked is that this character (Kenneth) knew his tastes–he was clearly very fond of Leon, but while of them knew that Kenneth preferred women, there’s was not a “lets have sex because we don’t have a woman” type of relationship.

He couldn’t leave Leon, even if Leon would have forgiven him for it. And he didn’t want to forget Amy. One way or the other, he’d carry her with him for the rest of his life, even if she was just a very fond and distant memory.

The ménage is nicely handled too, you don’t get the feeling that suddenly there’s a woman to cure the homosexuality in the book, and the sex scenes don’t swamp the story, which is great.

Although menage stories aren’t normally my cup of tea, and frankly this was more het than even menage by the end, I found this an enjoyable book, and a well written if short (130 pages) read.  However there is more in the story to be told, as “Stealing West” is a sequel which I’ll be reviewing shortly.

Author’s Website

Kindle Amber Allure

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