Desert Heat: Their love is forbidden by rules, religion, and risk. Yet, still they can't resist. Captain Hugh Wilkes is on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. The British Army is withdrawing, and Wilkes expects his posting to be event-free. That is, until he meets his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, who awakens desires in Wilkes that he'd almost forgotten about, and that won't be ignored.
Native Tongue: They may be back on British soil, but the battle isn't over. When Captain Hugh Wilkes fell for his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, he always knew things would never be easy. After months of complete secrecy, their return to England should have spelt an end to the sneaking around and the insane risks. But it seems there are many obstacles for them to overcome before they can truly be happy together. Can they get past those obstacles, or is this one battle too many for their fledgling relationship?
©2015 Lucy Felthouse (P)2016 Lucy Felthouse
Loved listening to the story, I felt I was listening to real conversations. Joel Leslie is a great performer. I was totally immersed in the book.
Say something about yourself!
Superb narration enhances this romantic and steamy gay love story. What an impressive narrator! Joel Leslie is going on my list of my favorite narrators ever. The Birmingham, England, and Afghan accents of the main characters were perfect and sexy. Evidently, Birmingham is only 80 miles away from Liverpool and this accent sounded like he was Beatle, which I think is very sexy. He was also very good at pacing, conveying emotion, and love scenes. In addition, Joel Leslie was really good at woman's voices. Hugh's mother's voice was perfectly adorable.
I love this romance! It was both sweet in the emotional department and spicy in the bedroom, while still being a realistic contemporary love story. Captain Hugh Wilkes in the British Army has been deployed with his team to a remote part of Afghanistan for 6 months at a time when the British Army is slowly leaving the country. Wilkes' new Afghan interpreter is a pleasant, competent fellow named Ruston Balki. Over the next few months, a friendship slowly grows between them, and these two closeted gay men eventually reveal that they are very attracted to each other. The scene where this happens is so wonderful; it makes me smile just thinking of it.
"Desert Heat" and "Native Tongue" are a pair of either long short stories or short novellas. I am so glad that they were placed together for this audiobook because listening to these two stories together feels like a complete, satisfying romance. The entire audiobook is told in third person perspective only from the view of Captain Wilkes. I think that this perspective choice turned out well because Balki was very vocal with his feelings, and I did not feel like I missed out on what he was thinking. This pair of wonderful guys had great dialogue and just the right amount of it. I love how they were sometimes scared to tell their feelings but they did it anyway. Before they ever had sex the first time they professed that they really liked each other, so the love scenes in this audiobook were not just sex but also filled with intimacy and respect. It was really sweet. Although Hugh and Balki had obstacles with their relationship with both work and society, they forged through their obstacles and grew as people as they grew closer to each other. Aside from having a lot of great steamy sex, this was a fulfilling, beautiful romance with a lovely ending. This is the first book that I have read by Lucy Felthouse, and I was highly impressed by the high quality of the writing and by the expert narration. I will definitely buy books from Lucy Felthouse very soon.
I received a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not paid for my review.
I have to say I really enjoyed this double feature. The first book (Desert Heat) gave us the story of how the two men meet and get to know each other and the start of their relationship. It could've ended there with a Happy For Now ending. But I really liked that we got the continuation of the story (Native Tongue) and got to see the two men further their relationship as it leaves the military and enters normal day to day life.
The story had a lovely plot and a few super sexy parts. I love the way Lucy Felthouse writes her stories. They are so easy to sink into and fall in love with.
The narrator did a great job adding to the story and making it even more interesting than the written story would've been.
I received a free copy of this book to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not sure of the timeline, but I’m assuming that given the degree to which these guys hid their feelings, it was a bit earlier in time. That combined with the location and the ethnicity of where they were stationed forced Balkhi and Hugh to hide their burgeoning love for one another for most of the time they’re stationed together. It’s only near the end of their tour that they were able to give in to their feelings and only once they moved back to England were they able to be out in public.
Once in England the trouble between them becomes how to organize their lives so they actually get to spend time together, but they find that their love is enough to overcome any obstacle.
Despite it’s length, this was a very slow burn romance. Almost all of book one was taken up with getting these guys to admit their feelings. Surprisingly, they took some amazing risks to be together that I thought were going to back fire – but amazingly – didn’t.
I really liked how deep their feelings for one another grew and how unafraid they were of speaking of them. Especially Balkhi.
I enjoyed watching these guys learning about being together and being "out". It was sweet, sexy and fun.
I really enjoyed these books and would look for more from this author in the future. I found the look at the British army as well as the conundrum for the interpreters to be fascinating.
I really enjoyed it and would look for more from this author in the future. I found the look at the British army as well as the conundrum for the interpreters to be fascinating.
Story 4.5 of 5 stars
Joel Leslie did a SUPERB job with his narration. He gave Hugh and all the various folks from the UK unique and believable accents as well as Balkhi’s more stilted English. I really enjoyed listening to this and found it made me feel more immersed in the story.
Narration 5 of 5 stars
For both the story and the narration 4.75 of 5 stars
Joel's voice. His characters came to life for me through his voice.
I liked the whole story. But maybe the visit to Hugh's parents house was the funniest.
Hugh. I loved his compassion.
Hugh of course. His compassion and caring. Having to hide how you feel about someone in a hostile environment where your life could be ended just for who you love.
Definitely one of the best books I've listened to this year. Would recommend to any MM reader or listener. Joel did an outstanding job, again. Will listen to this one again. I was gifted this audiobook in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This book falls in the top third of the audio books I've listened to. I will go back and listen to it again since I always pick up new perspectives the second and third time through.
Balki definitely became my favorite. You saw him completely adapted to both a new culture as well as perfect acceptance of bein gay.
His variations of the different characters voices was amazing. You never had to think about who was talking. You knew which character was talking and it flowed so easily. Even the secondary characters voices where well defined.
There was no extreme reaction, more of the story slowly drawing you in and holding your attention all the way through. You follow Wilkes as he decides that the man he has found is worth the chances of telling his secret. That what he has is more important than what he might lose. It's well handled and flows without overdoing the angst.
I passed up this book in print, just didn't peak my reading interest at the time. I'm glad I had the opportunity to listen to it, as it completely came alive for me with how well Joel Leslie did all of the voices. There are just some books that completely come alive for you when you listen to it.
This is two books in one. The MCs are a British soldier and an Afghan translator. Felthouse does a magnificent job with the characters and the story. You can feel the heat between the MCs as they admit their attraction to each other. Totally HEA.
Joel Leslie does such a good job with the character dialiect. I expected him to be a middle-aged large British gentleman. When I met him at a conference, he's a young, attractive, all-
American guy. He nailed the accents, and brought both characters to life. Magnificent narration!
I've not read a cross-cultural M/M romance, so wasn't sure how I would react. The tenderness between the two MCs totally throws differences out the window. The only clue is the accents expertly spoken by Joel Leslie. This is a love story that made me sigh with happiness.
This is a quick listen. Great diversion for a road-trip or to listen to while jogging. You'll want more from Lucy Felthouse and more narrations by Joel Leslie.
Reviewed on Love Bytes
I had reviewed Native Tongue a while back for the blog, so when the author asked if we might like to have a copy of the series on audio I was certainly intrigued. I remember one of my biggest problems when I read Native Tongue was that I had not read Desert Heat, and felt like I had missed out on some of the chemistry between the two characters because of it. With this audio book, where both books are together as a set, I was able to experience their whole story and get a better feel for both the books and the characters.
The first thing I have to say about this audiobook is that Joel Leslie, the narrator, was fantastic. I loved his voice so much. The growliness of Wilkes’ voice was a perfect complement to Balkhi’s more lilting style. I could easily distinguish between all the characters when he was talking, and even Wilkes’ voice was distinguishable from the plain narration which made knowing when Wilkes was talking pretty easy. My only problem with it is that Wilkes sounded a lot older than I would have pegged him for. This is probably a result of the regional accent that the narrator used, but it kinda threw me the first time I heard it.
For the most part I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The way I listened to it, in short 20-30 minutes sessions (while doing dishes, mostly) kinda threw off the pacing a bit in my head, but that can’t really be blamed on the book. And the sex scenes were damn delicious in this narrator’s voice. While the story itself doesn’t have much conflict (and as a result can get a bit flat) with Joel Leslie whispering in my ear I can’t deny that I would happily listen to it all over again. Leslie does a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life and as a result helps give this book that bit of oomph that is sorely needed. I liked the story, don’t get me wrong. But without much conflict, there isn’t really a lot to keep you coming back desperately needing to know more. The narration definitely serves that purpose in this audio format, though.
The narrator sounded smooch older th a n the young lovers that it was inappropriate. A bit too much sex. The whole other was coming out and coming out and they w worried so much it was like they were hopeless while they came out to family over a weekend and family already knew the son was gay. So it was much ado about nothing. A cute story but while soldiering in Afghanistan not a shot was fired and essentially there was no war in this alleged war story.
"I love this book!"
I read them in ebook format. Loved them. Ans grabbed the audiobook as soon as it became available. The narration is spot on and brought this beautiful story alive again for me. Fabulous.
"Brilliant Military Romance"
I had previously read Desert Heat in ebook format but I hadn't read Native tongue so when this came as a double audiobook I just had to have it. The narrator Joel Leslie has done an amazing job with distinguishing the accents in this book. This is an amazing story of forbidden love between captain and his interpreter. Hugh Wilkes was happy to go through life without anyone because being gay in the military just isn't that easy, that is until he meets his afghan interpreter Rustsam Balkhi. In Native Tongue they are back in Britain and trying to make the most of there relationship but both are still in the closet until Hugh's dad's birthday when they decided it's time to come out. I love this light hearted story of love. And I would totally recommend it to lovers of the m/m genre.
"Terrific story of love in the military"
I have not read the print version but some books are made for audio and this is one. Although I would definitely read it as well.
I think Hugh Wilkes was my favourite. The author has portrayed him as such a likeable character and Joel Leslie made him come alive with his wonderful brummie accent. I could tell he was a Midlands lad as soon as the character came into the story. Joel's characterisation of Rustam Balkhi was very good as well. Hugh has to go through so much soul searching and finally choosing to be with Rustam.
In fact Joel Leslie shows he is excellent at accents and giving characters their own distinct features.
In the two Stories my favourite scenes were; in Desert Heat, when Rustam was given the news of a friend's death and subsequently when Wiles and Balkhi come together for the first time in Camp Bastion. In Native Tongue it was the scene in Soho. I loved the line High said 'is there a problem here with mixed race couples' turning the tables on another gay couples preconceptions.
In Desert Heat it was again the scene Rustam was told of his friends death and all the implications it would have for him if he ever wanted to see his family again.
In Native Tongue it was when Hugh took Rustam to meet his family, so well written and narrated.
I would recommend this audiobook to anyone wanting a wonderful love story.
I was given a copy of this audiobook by the narrator in exchange for a fair and honest review.
very enjoyable story touching on the forbidden love.
the narrators voice was OK I just didn't love him.
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