Strongman by Denise Rossetti.

Synopsis from Ellora’s Cave.
A hard-bitten mercenary who’s had a gutful of mud and blood and death, Fortitude McLaren joins the Ten Nations Fair as a roustabout. Tough, cold and competent, he’s shocked and angered by his hunger for Griff, a circus acrobat. Brought up in the bigoted society of the Straight Church, Fort regards manlove with casual contempt. Not for him. Never for him.

Athletic, cocky and single-minded about what he wants, Griff sets about getting it. Fort fights with everything in him, but Griff affects him like no one else. It’s not just his strong, supple body. Fort is irresistibly drawn by the friendship the other man offers so freely.

Fort may have found a friend, but the cruel memories of his childhood are the greatest enemy of all. When a job for Jan the Aetherii puts Griff in danger, Fort discovers what’s really at risk — everything he is and everything he’s ever believed in. To save Griff’s life and preserve his own sanity, Fort must not only fight the battle in his soul, he must win it.

Griff has been omnivorous, shall we say, when it comes to sex. When he sees Fort watching him and the others practicing their routines under the big top he is intrigued. Not a day goes by without another rumour about the large, silent man. Griff has a motto for every occasion, and in this case it’s … If you don’t reach, you don’t get… and as his interest is aroused, he decides what he wants is Fort.

Fortitude, or Fort, is a mercenary and has spent many long years fighting. It is not initially clear why he has left soldiering but he is tired and also seems very alone. He has a commanding presence and leadership seems to come to him naturally. Even though he has just recently become a part of the Ten Nations Fair, the other men trust him implicitly. He has had a strictly religious and unpleasant upbringing where homosexuality is not tolerated. Indeed it is punishable by death. Despite this Fort is unprejudiced with others, and has a live and let live code. For himself though, his attraction to another man, a much younger man, causes him huge internal conflict. As a character I fell for him rather heavily. He is just so incredibly self-contained, I wanted to muss him up a little.

Griff is a smart ass, cocky and quick witted. He approaches Fort initially but is rebuffed and this is like a red rag to a bull. I loved the way he just put himself in front of Fort at every opportunity. He knows Fort wants him, if the size of his hardon was anything to go by! And even though it is taunting, teasing and perhaps a little unkind, it is just sex on a stick. You just feel Griff’s dogged determination to get what he wants just might mean his own ultimate surrender. Ummmm surrender… 
While Fort spends all his time pushing Griff away he still looks out for the younger man and protects him, while seemingly unaware of his own actions. Griff is quite capable of sticking up for himself and somehow this makes it all the sweeter.

The sex is hot, toe curlingly good. The first time is such a surrender for Fort, it is almost as though he cannot help but touch Griff. Freaking hawt smexin goodness. I liked the feeling of strength and size about Fort. While Griff is tall and muscular there is a definite contrast in size and I enjoyed this much. Oh, and wrestling and getting tied up?? Tasty! Merow.

The world building in this futuristic fantasy was tight and not bogged down in lengthy description. Because this is my 1st book in the series there might have been more set up stuff in other novels. It is very natural, without being obvious, and also well executed. Sometimes I feel authors think you don’t have your big girl pants on and that they’re obliged to explain everything to death. Not the case in this. I never found myself getting bored, lost or having a WTF moment and this is always a bonus! The only thing I could have wished for… sunscreen. snort.

I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that Denise writes more m/m books because this one rocked my socks. This might be my new measure of a good book, sock rockingly good! I might even go and read her 2nd book in the series, here, which is a menage, with a girl in it!! Eeep! 
You can get the goodness here.
AND if you join her yahoo group you get an epilogue! Check it all out at her blog here.


14 thoughts on “Strongman by Denise Rossetti.

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  1. Wow that sounds really, really good. Okay I will check her out it’s through Ellora or can I get it on Amazon? Or ebook??? How many are in the series?

    Oh by and by love the review!!!

    Have you bought Cursed by Rhianne Aile yet? If so was it good?

  2. OMG. THe book pimp emailed me about a week back and said: I think I have a book you’ll like. Great Minds.

    OK so I’m downloading this asap and, because my wip version 3.0 is done…I’m READING this TONIGHT.

    Yay you.

  3. Hey, cool. This looks really weird! I think I may have to go check it out. Great review! 🙂

    And the word “roustabout” always reminds me of the Elvis movie of the same name.

  4. Oh hai!!!!!!!!
    Sari, it is the 3rd in the series. The 1st is a m/f. The 2nd has mens with wings and is m/m/f and this is the 3rd book. It is in ebook and am not sure if you can get it in print yet. It only has the 1st at Amazon so ebook only at the mo I am afraid.

    I have read about 4-5 chapters of Cursed and kinda got side tracked and have not got back to it. Will read it asap and let you know. I swear I have attention deficit.

    LB I am so glad you’re finished!! You must be stoked! Happy reading and let me know if you like it… and ma left last night. After much toing and froing and forgetting phones and crap. She should be nearly in Canada. I did not fit in her case. Sea turtles are still looking hopeful at this stage.

    Jen, roustabout, makes me think of rousies and shearing sheep. heh. It was kind of an odd premise but I thought she did a really good job and I liked it. Just something a little different and I really want to read the 2nd one now. I know she said her inspiration was BBM, which made me nervous as I did not want to read about Jack and Enis. But there was not a whiff of mens wishing they wanted to quit each other and no sheep… maybe a goat though??

  5. Heh. Goat romance.

    I linked to this review on today’s blog post.

    BTW, you are now “Kiwi Sarah” to me, whether you like it or not. At least I didn’t call you an Aussie, right? 😛

  6. Hah! Ta for link.

    God, that was supposed to be Ennis not enis.. penis??? I am not reading/looking at pron in teh other window. I swears! BTW you’re so bad, do you know how much time I spent on yesterday. Square and squinty eyes I tells you!

    Kiwi Sarah indeed, heh…. there is a HEEUGE rivalry between us and those kangaroo loving loosers. Kinda like calling a scotsman english??? Not to mention, they talk funny.

  7. Did you like BBM? I thought it was incredibly boring, and I couldn’t get over Heath’s horrible accent. Loved Jake though. 🙂

    Deviantart is a dangerous site. One page leads to another, and before you know it your eyes are burning and you’ve been online for three hours.

    Speaking of sheep…. 😉 I’m glad you don’t mind being called Kiwi Sarah. I figured that was a lot nicer than some of the other NZ nicknames. o_O

    Are the two accents extremely different? I must admit I’ve not known many kiwis, but lots of Aussies, and I’ve certainly never heard one of each talking side by side. Hmm. This calls for research.

    I’m from Texas. I really have no right to call anyone else’s accent “funny”. LOL

  8. I liked it until it made me incredibly sad. Meh. There is enough sadness out there as it is.

    Don’t mind much, better than Sarah the big footed, or Sarah the short… I sound like a hobbit.

    As for the accent here is an aussie one

    Bloody funny.

    As for us…

    We are obviously fat cooler…

    Yeah… whAT?

  9. I think I might like the NZ accent better. The Aussie accent is cool, but it can get obnoxious after a while (again, as a Texan, I understand that I have no right to call anyone else’s accent obnoxious…but I still do).

    I found this video quite helpful:

  10. Yeah, that is the one I posted on lb’s blog a while ago, 🙂 That is pretty much what it is like.

    I found one that had a texan accent. Sounds like Jodie Foster???

  11. Hi Sarah, what a totally wonderful review! I so love it when someone “gets” what I’m trying to do and you totally did. Sock rockingly good, huh? *bwg* What I wanted to do was a write a love story, pure and simple. So I did.

    And as a reader I know I don’t like to be treated like I’m stupid, so as a writer I don’t explain every tiny weeny detail.

    Just a couple of minor things – BOTH of my earlier books with Ellora’s Cave are m/f/m menages. The first was GIFT OF THE GODDESS, which has some really hawt m/m action and the second was TAILSPIN, which, incidentally, is up for a Passionate Plume Award. (Very excited!) In Tailspin the two men belong to a winged and tailed race and they are both ultra-alpha. I had such fun with them. *wg* though the co-ordination was a bit of a challenge.

    GIFT OF THE GODDESS is available as an ebook and in print (from EC and Amazon and elsewhere), but TAILSPIN is still only out in ebook. *sigh*

    And finally, Kiwis and Aussies do definitely sound different. “Fish and chips” is the test. If you’re curious, there’s a podcast of me on this page, reading an excerpt, one with an Aussie hero.

    I’ll catch up with the videos later. Presently in San Francisco and about to hit the streets. (In a good way.)

    Thanks again, Sarah.

  12. No no NO. No. Not like that. Well, at least not where I live. LOL

    I don’t actually have much of an accent…my accent is more “general American”.

    I’ll see if I can find a good Texan accent for you. 🙂

  13. Okay, here you go:

    Kelly Clarkson talks like me. We’re from the same area of Texas (we even have some of the same friends and sang in some of the same performing circles).

    Hers isn’t the “typical” Texas accent. It’s more neutral like mine.

    Good grief, what a boring conversation this has turned into. 😛

  14. Denise, thanks for posting. I did totally get the book and throughly enjoyed it. I will definitely have a nosey at tailspin. They were so cool to read in Strongman, loved it!! Have fun in San Francisco and srsly, it was my pleasure.

    Haha. She sounds very cute… totally boring indeed. I think we should discuss my serious addition to deviant art site. I have lost a few hours… heh. No time on internets today. Visitors from out of town.

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