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Pride & Protection

Southern Boys
Narrated by: John Solo
Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What happens when an out-and-proud bear moves to a small Tennessee town, and takes a shine to the closeted cop? Fireworks, that’s what.  

When Del Walters agrees to go into business with his brother, he has one condition. Since he’s putting up the lion’s share, they’ll run the bike shop his way - and that means he gets to choose the name. And in a small Tennessee town, a business called Rainbow Racers, complete with a not-so-subtle sign, was always going to attract attention. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind of attention, and after a few incidents, Del is forced to call on the local police to deal with the culprits. 

When Officer Taylor Cox walks into his shop, Del thinks Christmas has come early. An earlier encounter with the younger man left Del with a growing desire to know more about him. There’s only one problem - Taylor is in the closet, and there’s no way Del is going back into his.  

When Taylor lays eyes on the sexy bear who owns the bike shop, he knows he’s walking into trouble. Not that he’s about to let Del know he’s interested: His view from the closet is just fine, thank you very much, and besides, that ship has already sailed, thanks to their first meeting. Now all he wants to do is forget Del even exists. But as time goes by, Taylor realizes how badly he is torn between protecting the persona he’s created, and giving in to his desires. And Del making it obvious that he wants Taylor isn’t helping matters.  

Between an out-and-proud bear and a firmly closeted cop, something has to give. Problem is, it might be their hearts.

©2019 K.C. Wells (P)2019 K.C. Wells

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

As great as the ebook!!

The story is always full stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:


5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening, but not more then twice a year.
it's like a B

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really good!

This was a nice, well thought out story. I really enjoyed Taylor's journey to leaving the closet and falling in love. I hope this small town has more stories!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love these Southern Boys

I just experienced listening to the first book of this series about a month ago, and I was so excited when this book became available on audio so soon after. We first met Taylor when he delivered some bad news to Jake, one of the main characters in Truth & Betrayal. Taylor kept appearing in the book to offer friendship and advice to the closeted younger man, but there were never any sparks between them. Taylor’s interests center around older men. This book overlaps the ending of the first book and Jake’s new relationship only makes Taylor feel more alone in their small town.

LaFolette is appears to be a pretty backwards southern town. There is this feel that the people living there are prejudiced and bigoted towards people of color and LGBTQ+ folks. The theory doesn’t seem to be tested all that much since no one would dream of coming out there and you can count the non-white people on one hand. A lot of controversy is sparked when two men with the same last name open a bike shop called Rainbow Riders, and the Love is Love sign that hung in the window for only a day or two. The two owners are brothers, not a couple, but it still doesn’t end the hate letters and graffiti that ends up on the building as the shop opens.

I was curious about the owner/owners in the first book when the shop was a bit of hope for Jake, and I have to say I really like Del. He is a 40-something bear, and while he wants the shop to do well, especially for his brother, he doesn’t take the harassment lying down. He even steps in when a young black man has his car damaged by some racist townspeople. Del is immediately attracted to Taylor who finds Del’s graying hair and beard a real turn on. But the fact that they live in the same town where Taylor is closeted, puts a halt on his desires to take anything further than looking.

The relationship between the two men starts slowly but then quickly heats up and I feel like some of the feelings that developed between them were skimmed over. It seems to me, the stories of Del and Taylor’s individual experiences with the town are the main feature of this book. As Del adjusts to fit back into small town life after living in San Francisco for years, and how Taylor must decide if his own happiness is worth seeing how open-minded the people who live in LaFolette are. And while the story shows there are definitely some homophobic racists living there, it seems like there are less of them than originally feared. Some people surprise the two men with their support.

I really loved this story and thought it was less angsty than the first book which dealt with the death of a loved one. The relationships these characters had with family was sweet. Del’s brother is really cool. He doesn’t appear to be gay but possibly ace. I found myself intrigued by him. Taylor’s mom was a bit surprised by his coming out but she does it right by accepting and loving him for who he is, immediately. I also liked the police chief and his daughter and their support for the couple. Taylor’s partner was cool, and he had his own story to tell about the mistake of not supporting an LGBT family member. (I do have one complaint about his name. Dale sounds an awful like Del, and at times I got confused who Taylor was talking to.) This book also introduced Chaz who gets kicked out of his parents for being gay and Kendis who was brought to the town to play basketball for the high school, but his skin color keeps him from getting hired full time, and he might be gay. I definitely want to see what happens for them individually or together, however the author likes.

John Solo is a great narrator and I have listened to him many times before and will listen to him again in the near future, I’m sure. His voice is a little gravelly, though not unpleasant. It definitely seemed to suit the character Del. His southern accent was also well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The cop and his bear

Pride and Protection is the second book in the Southern Boys series and I loved it. The first book was very angsty and although the homophobia was central, there were also strong racial undertones (or overt, depending on the scene). This book has less angst but is no less powerful.

Taylor Cox is a police officer and he played an important role in the first book. He was a confidante for young Jake who was dealing with the grief of losing his brother and the guilt of being not just a gay man but a gay man in love with his brother’s former lover. I liked Taylor most of the time but he was by no means a perfect friend. He is a man dealing with his own homosexuality in the only way he knows how – staying as far in the closet as he can get.

Del Walters is a man who knows who he is an makes no apologies for it. He’s come to this backwater Tennessee town to help his brother launch a business. He’s going to make certain the business is viable and sustainable and then he’s heading back to the west/left coast where he can be out and proud without fear of discrimination. He agrees not to hoist a rainbow flag in the window of the shop but he does pick the name – Rainbow Rides. If people infer the pride rainbow as opposed to just a plain rainbow, he’s okay with that. To his brother’s consternation, he refuses to hide who he is. A chance encounter with a much younger man has him salivating and aching for a taste. He’s unsure if he’ll ever see the man again and so is quite surprised when the police officer at his door is none other than that attractive man.

This book is a slow burn. Taylor likes Del but is terrified of expressing that attraction. He has a mother he adores and a job he loves. He fears losing both if it becomes known he’s gay. I had a lot of sympathy for Taylor – yearning to be able to be his true self but believing he won’t be accepted. I also understood Del’s perspective – he refuses to go back in the closet, not for anyone. Needless to say the conflict is clear but the path to a happy ending was a bumpy one for sure.

There are a number of strong secondary characters including the chief of police, his daughter, Taylor’s partner, his mother, as well as Del’s brother. Sometimes secondary characters get short shrift but they played pivotal roles in this book and they were fully-fleshed characters who helped the two men move toward happiness.

I really liked this book. The contrast of the older bear, comfortable with himself, and the naïve younger man who has never expressed himself openly. The juxtaposition of the living out and proud lifestyle and being stuck so far in the closet you’re bound to find Narnia. I found myself rooting for these men to get their happy ending.

John Solo is narrating this series and he’s doing a great job. He can handle the southern accent with authenticity but not making it too strong so as not to be easily understood. I always enjoy his performances and this one ranks up with one of my favorites. I highly recommend this great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

KC Wells brings us back to the Southern Boys with this beautifully written story about Del and Taylor! I had previously read this as an ebook and really enjoyed it but John Solo takes it to a whole new level! Wonderful book!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

Great book. Good storyline and nice plots. Characters with real personalities.
Enjoyable and good listen, well narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spot on Depiction

Outstanding story with a realistic performance! Small town cop living his life in a deep closet meets a “bear” of a business owner.

Recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love it so much!!

I love this book when I was reading and now listening to it I fell in love even more. Del and Taylor's story is just something I love so much. They made me happy with how they are with each other. Then John Solo just brings everything to life. I just couldn't stop listening and I fell in love with this story all over again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

May/December romance set in the Tennessee hills!

I really enjoyed the audible version of this delightful story! I had read the story, but the narration really brought the story to life for me.

May/December romance set in the Tennessee hills. I enjoyed listening this engaging and hopeful story about finding love in a small southern town. There are wonderful people everywhere and i loved some of the characters that we found in this story. There were also a share of the hurtful side of prejudice, but we did see love triumph.

Del and Taylor are truly well developed characters and i enjoyed how they became friends and lovers. Their journey really had me grinning a few times and i liked how they interacted. These are guys you want to know and have live next door to you. Good men with a zest for bikes and having fun. I liked how we got to see both of these men interact with others and that enabled us to really get to know them better. There were several really good supporting characters and the story is richer for them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing!

Great story, wonderful audio performance.

Pride & Protection is the second book in K.C. Wells Southern Boys series and I loved it! I've only recently experienced audio books performed by John Solo. I'd seen where other reviewers raved about him but only listened to my first one a month or so ago. He does an amazing job with this story.

We met one of the main characters for Pride & Protection in book one, Truth & Betrayal, but you can enjoy Pride & Protection just fine if you haven't read it yet.

This is a great story about an out and proud bike shop owner, Del, and a very closeted cop, Taylor. Taylor is mostly happy living in his closet but then he meets Del and they keep running into each other. Attraction is there from the beginning but there's no way that Taylor is going to act on it.

When they run into each other at a gay bar in Atlanta, Del convinces Taylor to let go and have some fun. Nothing sexual happens that first time but their relationship starts and grows from that point on. Del is pretty understanding about Taylor's need to stay closeted but Taylor himself soon begins to realize that staying there may not be what's best for him.

I am having such a hard time writing book reviews lately – even for ones that I love, and trust me, I loved Pride & Protection.

Here are some things I really liked while listening to this audiobook:
Taylor's relationship with his older partner strengthens when Dale opens up to him about his daughter Zoe coming out to him. Taylor at first is terrified that Dale has guess his secret but he still tries to guide Dale into seeing that he needs to change his ways if he is to save his relationship with his daughter.

Taylor's relationship with his momma. While he hasn't come out to her the love, they have for each other comes through loud and clear through K.C. Wells writing.

Secondary character Chaz – a young adult hired by Del and his brother to work at their bike store. He has his own story to tell and I can't wait for K.C. to write the next story in this series.

So, to wrap it up, I loved this book and John Solo's wonderful audio performance made it even better.

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author.

***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com*** (posting on July 3, 2019)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Meph666
  • 06-29-19

Wonderful story of love and acceptance

A wonderful story from K.C. Wells set in a small town in Tennesse where Del has moved to set up a new business with his brother and meets Taylor, a cop very deep in the closet. They get closer over the course of the book and reading Taylor get the chance to experience things he has wanted is great and well written. There's obvious joy for him but also for Del in being the man there for him. However, small town minds are hard to change and there is trouble for Del's business and constant comments from coworkers on the police force.
There is a lot going on for both men, individually and together, throughout the book and a great cast of characters give friendship, support and a reason to fight, along with the ones that we love to hate. The MC's seem to be a perfect match for each other, having a connection from their first meeting and they are both such sweethearts both wanting the best for each other and the town they live in.
Another great book from KC Wells with characters easy to connect with and a story to love. Looking forward to more from this series, hopefully for a few of the men in this story.
John Solo again does a great job in conveying an array of emotions throughout the story. With secrets, new relationships and unknown of how the town will react, the MC's have a lot to think about with regards to themselves, a possible relationship and their future. One point for me is that I struggled with when both men were in a scene and talking, the voices were very similar so I'd have to take a second to work out who was who. John's voice is full of feeling and I really enjoyed the story as he told it and would definitely recommend listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MaryD
  • 06-26-19

Smooth and Sweet with a little spice

I liked this low angst sweet story when I read it. What’s not to love about a closeted cop and a gentle bear finding love. I enjoyed the positivity of the story where things were never as bad as the characters feared. Del is older than Taylor yet seems so much younger that could be because of Taylor’s job as a cop. The sweet romance between them is a joy to read.
John Solo’s narration is excellent. He gets into the spirit of both Del and Taylor building them up to captivating characters. So easy to listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs N
  • 07-09-19

Slow and steady always wins ....

l didn't know how much l needed to listen to this story, it was like a balm to my ruffled feathers...

A rich tale , beautifully written, that takes us on a journey.
Of self denial and intense attraction.
Of ignorance and hatred.
Of overcoming fears and becoming a trailblazer.
But mostly of following your heart whatever the consequences.
In a small town, in the deep south where prejudices are rife, life is never easy...

John Solo did an excellent job at bringing to life so many characters.
l loved his Southern drawl, it gave me goosebumps.
A very enjoyable tale that left my heart warm and fuzzy.