Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

After the Scrum

Friday, July 22, 2022

After the Scrum (2016) Dahlia Donovan

After the ScrumAlthough there are occasional issues with this series that could have been solved with stronger editing, this remains a series that has lodged itself in my brain and keeps popping up at random times.

Francis is an interior designer who lives with his grandmother. He’d gone away to college but returned home to recover, and has been slowly rebuilding his confidence.

A few drunks outside of a gay club in Vauxhall had taught him a rather bitter lesson about the dangers of alcohol and being out of the closet. They’d cornered him in an alley and beaten him rather badly.

Caddock lost his career and his brother in a very short time frame, and is now the guardian to his young nephew.

Taking on his nephew had forced him to take a crash course in cooking. Before now, the best he could manage would be toast with eggs that slightly resembled scrambled.

So after many, many long nights of reading cookbooks and burning his way through a few pots and pans, Caddock could manage most of the basic recipes. He’d never be a brilliant chef. Devlin didn’t need him to be a gourmet. Avoiding poisoning the both of them would be sufficient.

Sometimes in books the way kids are written ranges anywhere from problematic to awful. This story actually does a fantastic job having a four year-old sound like a four year old, and the relationship between uncle and nephew is lovely.


“It’s waffles, you deranged child.”

The thing about this story is that it’s got huge, dark themes running underneath: death of a sibling, a child dealing with the death of a parent, homophobia. But it does such a good job dealing with this topics that it never becomes too much. Too dark. Too depressing.

Yes, Devlin is shown struggling with the loss of his father, but it’s not written to be sensational, but instead as a recognition of something that happens and that can be worked through. Most of the other stories also have dark themes, but the focus is on the healing rather than the pain.

But the relationship and interactions between Caddock and Francis are also lovely.

“I plan on kissing you.” Caddock towered over him by a few inches. His eyes glinted with what could only be desire. “Now would be the time to punch me for being such a forward bastard.”

It’s just a lovely story, and I enjoyed this reread possibly more than I did the first time through.

Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing

Rating: 8/10


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