Review: When the Dust Settles by Mary Calmes

Posted January 18, 2024 by Sophia Rose in Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance, LGBTQ, Rating B, Reviews Tags: , , ,

Book cover of When the Dust Settles by Mary CalmesWhen the Dust Settles
Mary Calmes
Sophia Rose
Rating: B

What I’m Talking About:

Years ago, I read the first two books in the Timing series which followed one couple.  I thought it was to be a duology and then When the Dust Settles came out years later and featured two secondary characters.  I have no idea why I didn’t read it as soon as I got it, right after it released, but the series was hazy in my mind when, for a reading challenge, I took this one up and settled in to finally finish the book and the series.

I really loved the two main characters, Stef and Rand, in the Timing series.  Rand’s cousin Glenn, on the other hand, didn’t leave a great impression with me the way he and his side of the family acted, at first, toward Rand and Stef.  I remembered that much.  I also remembered thinking Rand’s big, stalwart ranch foreman was straight.  But, then again, seems to have been a surprise to everyone in the story that Mac had a thing for men.

When the Dust Settles felt more like Glenn’s story with some romance on the side than Glenn and Mac’s romance.  Glenn’s got his public life with building his restaurant from scratch to a success and building his staff as his found family all showing he’s good people. But, that all falls apart when it comes to family. Glenn’s got a big chip on his shoulder toward Rand, his cousin who Glenn recently learned is really his half-brother. Glenn’s been on the outs with his dad and his brother since he left the ranch to follow his restaurant dream. There was so much to unpack with Glenn’s issues, but the page count (this book was revised and pages were added, but I read an older version I owned- so there might be more development now) meant that much in the story was mentioned and not pursued.  One of those things was his choice in the past which he thankfully changed, to use steroids to appear manly and big and beefy like the rest of the men in his family who worked the ranch.  There is also his further issues with masculinity when it comes to ‘topping’ or ‘bottoming’ if he ever gets involved with another guy.

What did come out loud and clear was his envy of Rand for having a loving partner in Stef, a son, a family, a successful ranch, and for being the big strong man who stood against family and a whole town to have his own happiness.  Glenn seems to think he needs to compete and always comes up short not seeing himself well or that he’s a success too with his restaurant.

Glenn tangles up his attraction to Mac with his envy of Rand so that he’s a big grouch on the cattle drive they are on together.  I wanted to thump Glenn for being an ornery cuss, but eventually he gets it all figured out and says what needs saying to Rand, his brother, and very much so with Mac.

There was an unexpected suspense and action moment that focused the emotions of Glenn and the others to what was important. I liked the way it ended, though I do wish that Mac’s part in the romance and the romance itself would have been much more developed.

And, so I bid farewell to the Timing series once again.  I loved the reunion with Rand and Stef and I liked seeing Glenn get his feelings about family and the estrangement figured out as well as the promise of what he can have with Glenn.  I definitely recommend interested readers to start at the beginning of the Timing series so this book makes sense.

My Rating: B
Sophia Rose

About the Book:

Glenn Holloway’s predictable life ended the day he confessed his homosexuality to his family. As if that wasn’t enough, he then poured salt in the wound by walking away from the ranch he’d grown up on, to open the restaurant he’d always dreamed of. Without support from his father and brother, and too proud to accept assistance from anyone else, he had to start from scratch. Over time things worked out: Glenn successfully built a strong business, created a new home, and forged a life he could be proud of.

Despite his success, his estrangement from the Holloways is still a sore spot he can’t quite heal, and a called-in favor becomes Glenn’s worst nightmare. Caught in a promise, Glenn returns to his roots to deal with Rand Holloway and comes face-to-face with Mac Gentry, a man far too appealing for Glenn’s own good. It could all lead to disaster—disaster for his tenuous reconnection with his family and for the desire he didn’t know he held in his heart.

Release Date: November 16, 2016
Timing #3
LGBTQA, Contemporary Romance, m/m Romance
paperback (220 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)