• The Druid Next Door

  • Fae Out of Water, Book 2
  • By: E.J. Russell
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (300 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: He’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him - after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101. 

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse. 

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost - for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever. 

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway. 

The Fae Out of Water stories can be enjoyed in series order, or enjoyed on their own. Word count: 91,200.

©2017 E.J. Russell (P)2021 E.J. Russell

What listeners say about The Druid Next Door

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not what I was expecting :(

I read the first book in this series, (Cutie and the Beast) and I really, really enjoyed it, so I was waiting for the second with a lot of expectations.

Sadly, I really found this story very disturbing. The whole consent issue was troublesome and it was never resolved; add to that the forced D/s relationship, justified with 'it's a psychological thing!' and... well... seriously, not my thing.

And Mal!!! He is nothing like we see in book one.

A sad disappointment :(

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not what I was expecting

First of all let me say Joel’s performance as always was wonderful, if it hadn’t been for him I would not have made it as far in this story as I did. I was really saddened by this story line. I couldn’t get behind Mals character he was nothing like we see on book one and I was so looking forward to this book too! Poor Bryce keeps being picked on lied to and attacked one way or another by Mal and I had just couldn't feel that this was a romantic story. I am sorry since I really loved the first book.

6 people found this helpful

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So funny 🤣 😆 😄

This book so funny, it was like me and my husband we argue and fight but we love each other and come together when needed. Can't wait for book 3

1 person found this helpful

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where it all started

This is the second in the trio of books that created such a fun world that it less to myriad spin offs. Just this past weekend I listened again to the first book in this series and wished this one was released. imagine my happiness when it had been by the time I was done listening.

Joel Leslie wields his incredible range of accents well, and the story is an original twist on fae meets human.

I am looking forward to seeing the rest of E.J. Russell's books make it to audio. Her books are a perfect antidote to the reality of a 2020s world.

1 person found this helpful

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Highly Entertaining

This was a very enjoyable story as Mal (Allen's brother) and his next-door neighbor, Bryce, a druid, go to battle--first with each other as bickering neighbors and then with the Seelies and Unseelies of the Fae underworld. On one level it's a push/pull, love/hate, sexual attraction/denial romp to romance. But on the other hand it's a highly complex visit to a different world filled with amazing creatures who live by completely different standards.

Mal and David are charged with certain tasks which Mal hopes will restore his hand (lost in a battle in book one) and David hopes will help him restore the deteriorating environment in their neighborhood. Along the way their bond is strengthened and ultimately they fall in love and have their HEA. This is, of course, much more complex than my simple sentences indicate. EJ Russell has built a well-thought out world here and I can't wait to revisit. Gareth's story is next. Yay.

Oh, and PS: Joel Leslie was outstanding as usual. In fact, he exceeded my expectations by being able to pronounce all the accents, male and female voices, and those tongue-twisters. :-)

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Very fun series!!

I am loving this series of books! This book is Mal and Bryce's story. I love that Bryce has no idea the power he has and figures it out as he goes. I really like seeing characters from the first book in the series as well. I think this book is best enjoyed as part of the series as there are storylines that continue in this book. So far it's a very fun series, and I am eager to start the next book!

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Getting better

Mal's back and this time Bryce joins him. This series is still not worth 3 credits, more relationship, more world building, more holes showing in. Not a ton of sex, but more is certainly implied.

Since you were introduced to Mal in the last one, you're allowed to get to know him and Bryce in this one. There's more story, and Mal and Bryce have character development to go through. You get to know more about the world, and get to less of a conclusion than the last one. You also spend a TON of time wanting to strangle Mal and a bit on Bryce - the story isn't moving fast enough for the amount of time they don't spend talking to one another or asking questions of anyone.

There's a lot of - I need an answer to this extremely important question! I can't tell you that now, we'll talking about it later. Why, well... cause the plot said so? Extremely important question still hasn't been answered 6 chapters later. Don't worry, everything gets wrapped up nicely with a bow in time for the finale.

You get to know David better and you still won't learn anything more about Alan, other than he spent a lot of time stuck in the past. You also learn more about the Faerie world - which other than the inhabitants seems rather interesting. You also get the impression that the world was created to keep all of the moronic seelie/unseelie inhabitants away from humans.

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a fun next romp into faery...but not a perfect one

this picks up not long after the first book, and is centered around Mal the middle fae Kendrick brother and his neighbor Bryce, the unknowingly-a-druid ecoactivist professor. Mal doesn't like or trust druids as a whole, since there is always a catch with their spells... and Bryce cares a lot about his wetland project and ends up apprenticed to David's aunt Cassy. and bound to Mal with a 10 foot barbed energy tether (yeah it's weird) so Mal has to teach him all about supernaturals.

Enter a weird plague in the swamp that reaches into faery, and the mysterious Steve who implies he can break Mal's useless cursed hand if he helps with three tasks. So Mal has to drag Bryce along on the adventure.
there are more than a few consent questions brought up in this relationship, which was concerning, but they Eventually work themselves out. it causes them both pain to find out their relationship was not what it first appeared, and it got a little old to hear the same thing thrown at each other even when they had gotten past it, but they prove that relationships sometimes look different inside them than out.

the consent questions and power dynamic arguments (where they dont argue fair... like the dynamic is fine. one partner submitting to the other? hawt. but the anger and "magic made us" fighting was meh after a point) are what tipped this from 5 stars to 4 for me.
nonetheless it was a fun and enjoyable read, and I love this series.

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Even better than the first. And that's saying alot

Near Perfection in its wit and creativity of plot. it should be a bloody HBO series!

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Love love love this series

This is a love story to the earth we inhabit, and the understanding that when we disregard it we are slowly killing ourselves like the blight that invaded the One Tree. It’s book 2 of 3 in the Fae out of water series and continues with the story of the 2nd Kendrick sibling. I love the fantasy, Celtic mythology and fairy tale influences and especially the shout out to Star Wars. I Look forward to reading about Gareth in book 3 as this author continues to deconstruct the human psyche and what it means to love and be loved.
Finally Joe Leslie is the master 😊

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  • HMM
  • 03-19-21

Tedious

I had high hopes but could not get into the story. The characters annoyed me, I wanted to stop listening just to get away from them.
On top of that, this is the first Joel Leslie narration I disliked. He really got on my nerves with his similar intonation for every sentence. Then again, it is hard to make a boring story compelling, but Joel managed it before.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Danielle Maria
  • 03-13-21

I am head over heels in love with Mal and Bryce

I’m not sure if I can convey how much I love this book.

This is the second in the Fae Out of Water and the overall Mythmatched series. I will quickly list the series here as it is not obvious on Audible, Amazon or Goodreads that they are all related:

Fae Out of Water (Kendrick brothers)
1. Cutie and the Beast (also available on Audible)
2. The Druid Next Door
3. Bad Boy's Bard

Supernatural Selection
4. Single White Incubus
5. Vampire with Benefits
6. Demon on the Low-Down

7. Howling on Hold (also available on Audible)
8. Possession in Session (a free ebook download from the author's website when you subscribe to the mailing list)
9. Witch Under Wraps

This series, particularly the Fae out of water trilogy, is very strong on worldbuilding, with substantial lore and a lot of celtic terminology. I would strongly recommend that the books are read in the above order for complete understanding and enjoyment.

I fell in love with this series while listening to Cutie and the Beast, and proceeded to read or listen to all nine books in eleven days. I read The Druid Next Door on my kindle, and the audiobook came out towards the end of my Mythmatched binge. I was very happy to double back when I’d finished and listen to the audiobook.

We met Mal in Cutie and the Beast, as Alun’s lighthearted, flirty brother. He saved the day - twice - by rescuing David and Alun, and has ended up with a functionless hand, and barred from Faerie for his trouble. We find him morose and directionless, and winding up his next door neighbour Bryce. This book beautifully balances the paranormal and the action elements with the romance. The development of the relationship between Mal and Bryce is central to the story.

In the first book, Mal was a bit devil-may-care for my liking, and I didn’t think I would end up adoring him as I do. He is absolutely my favourite of the Kendrick brothers. This book delves much more into his character, and we see behind the veneer of charm and wit to the guy who has worked hard to protect his brothers and keep the family somewhat together over the last 200 years. With both Alun and Gareth drowning in sorrow and self-recrimination over their doomed love affairs, it has not been an easy task. His brothers really don’t appreciate the strain they have put Mal under, and are not similarly supportive of him. I was really angry with the way they treated Mal in this book. They were quick to accuse him without hearing him out, and I was delighted when Bryce told them to “back the fuck off” and leave him alone. This is just the type of back-up and protection that Mal has not had before.

David is still the wonderful darling we met in Cutie and the Beast, and is a wonderful support for both Mal and Bryce.

I just love the pairing of Mal and Bryce. They are the most unique pairing in the Mythmatched universe. That complete understanding, acceptance and support is exactly what Mal needs, and is heart-meltingly beautiful. I think that they are the most recurring characters throughout the series, so I'm obviously not the only one who loves them. Between them they appear in all of the books save the last two. We see them get engaged in Vampire with Benefits and Howling on Hold (same scene, different perspectives) and their bachelor party and wedding in Demon on the Low-Down.

I found this series by falling in love with Joel Leslie’s narration of another book, and searching out his other works. He has not let me down, in fact he seems to get better and better. I was feeling rather stressed when I first put this book on, but I instantly felt myself start to relax. Leslie’s narration of Mal is absolute perfection. Mal is constantly funny, albeit more of a dark humour in this book compared to the first, and that is conveyed from the very first words “A jar of pickles. A fecking jar of fecking pickles, gods damn it to all the hells.” I challenge you to listen without a big goofy smile on your face.

Leslie’s delivery is exquisitely sensitive to the emotions of the characters, so that there’s never a single second when you’re not sure what’s happening. His pacing, pronunciation, ACCENTS and comic timing are to die for. There are few narrators who truly approach audiobook narration as an art in itself. Leslie is one of those who makes a book greater by adding his own sprinkle of magic. I can - and do - listen to him all day.

I’m assuming we can expect the third book Bad Boy’s Bard in the next few months, and I desperately hope that the rest of the Mythmatched series will also be recorded. My next favourite is Vampire with Benefits, and it would be wonderful to listen to Joel Leslie read it.

If you are just discovering this series, E. J. Russell or Joel Leslie, I congratulate you. You have many hours of joy ahead.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 02-21-22

Enjoyable Story

The concept is interesting and well written. The characters are likeable and the narration is good.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 06-30-21

No saggy middle here

This book picks up a couple of months from where the first one left off. David and Alun are settling into their lives as a couple, Gareth – the younger brother – is still performing with his band and moping – and Lord Malwin is…well, he’s not coping well. While saving his brother from the vile Rodderick, he severed the man’s hand. As the horrible man was the Queen’s consort, he had certain protections. What was done to him would be wrought back to the doer. Mal severed the hand, his becomes useless. Now, he’d do it over again because otherwise his brother would have died, but he’s descended into a pit of self-pity where being drunk is…acceptable.

Mal lives in a special sub-division where environmentalism isn’t a token, it’s an expectation. His neighbor is the self-proclaimed head of this area, and Bryce’s work on maintaining the wetlands is admirable. In today’s day and age, though, sometimes those battles are uphill or even unwinnable. Pristine ecosystems are laudable, but humans have a tendency to leave their mark. When Bryce sees Mal essentially littering, he loses his, uh, stuff. Bryce doesn’t want to hear Mal’s excuses, but when the man gets injured, Bryce is there to help. Or, force help upon Mal. Mal figures this is more baggage from the Fae world, but does call in David, his brother-in-law, to tend to him. David brings his Aunt Cassie the druid. Aunt Cassie meets Bryce and all of a sudden Bryce’s life takes a sharp turn with no warning.

Turns out Bryce is a druid. His affinity to the natural world comes, well, naturally. From there, the story moves at quite a clip as Mal continues to try to regain sensation in his hand. He even makes a deal with a shady character, not really reasoning out the consequences. I adored Mal, but he didn’t always make solid decisions. I also liked that he, uh, wound up taking the subservient role in the bedroom. I love turnabout in this way, and it was cute the distress it caused in both men as they’d seen themselves as set in their ways.

I did not see the ending coming and the book has set up the finale of the trilogy beautifully. While I’m waxing poetic, I’ll mention Joel Leslie and what a great job he did narrating these books. He has the perfect voice for each character and made the stories come alive. I can’t wait for the next book.

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  • roisin mc menamin
  • 05-27-21

Happy book

Liked humour in book. Short sweet story, happy ever after story. May have preferred as kindle unlimited title not worth audio price. Though characters well read by narrator

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  • choccygrl
  • 03-30-21

Excellent sequel

I enjoyed this even more than the first book in the series. Druids and fae, a curse and a magical blight. Mal's surly nature compared with Bryce's sanctimonious eco warrior. Coupled with unwanted (?) bonds, issues surrounding consent and a task with a time limit made this a riveting audio.
Joel Leslie's performance was as on point as ever (kudos on all the Welsh).
Highly recommended.

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  • Randall J
  • 03-24-21

Sparks fly when fae and druid must join forces

His right hand rendered useless due to a curse, fae Mal ends up in a confrontation with his neighbor, Bryce, who turns out to be unaware of his own druid nature. In short order, however, they are magically tethered together and involved in tasks put to them by a mysterious third party, with the fates of Faerie, and Mal, in the balance. This was a very enjoyable tale of two men who struggle to understand what their true natures are when they are together, and the sexual and emotional pull they feel toward each other, while attempting to stay alive. The plot is a bit involved, but I was on board for all the twists and turns. The narration by Joel Leslie is nothing short of brilliant. Recommended!

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  • OldLadyStauffer
  • 03-23-21

Fun Followup to the Series w/GREAT Narration

If I had read the book first, it would have gotten a 4 rating, just as I gave the story in the rating system. I enjoyed it, but I loved book one. This audiobook gets an overall rating of 5 stars because of the narration. Joel Leslie shows his range of voices in this audiobook. With the vast number of side characters, JL couldn’t just use two. I mean...I guess he could, but he didn’t. He used a unique voice for each one and kept them all in character. I was in awe of his performance. He truly is a very talented voice actor/narrator. He did a beautiful job bringing this book to life.

This time we get Mal’s story, and it picks up right after, or not long after, he is cursed and banished. He’s still struggling with not being able to use or feel his right hand. I really enjoyed the scene where he meets Bryce for the first time. I am weird and find the give and take between ‘enemies’ kinda fun to watch. They are like oil and water, p!ss and vinegar, and even when they have moments of peace, there’s more barbs and words exchanged. While Bryce is a mc in this book, the story is more about Mal than it is Bryce. I feel like that is why Bryce’s apprenticeship isn’t finished at the end of the book. He has soooo much more to learn. I’m sure we will be seeing more of it in the background of the next book.

This story was a lot of fun and full of excitement. As with book one, this one is full of surprises and twists, along with a bevy of great characters. I would absolutely recommend this audiobook.

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  • Gwen
  • 03-23-21

The Druid and the Enforcer

I enjoyed this second book. I loved the meet cute between Bryce and Mal. They get stuck together to succeed on their mission. That forced proximity made them act on their attraction but frankly they seemed made for each other. There are misunderstandings and many obstacles but love wins in the end. Mr Leslie rocked the narration.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susie Umphers
  • 03-22-21

Interesting world building

This was ok in terms of the world building, but on the whole neither the characters nor the plot were a home run for me. The enemies to lovers made me a bit uncomfortable in the way it was carried out and for me there were consent issues I couldn't quite get past. Joel Leslie's performance was exceptional as always.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 05-26-22

Amusing, magical enemies-to-lovers romance!

Having saved the day, Mal Kendrick was rewarded by the Fae Queen with banishment and the curse of a dead right hand, his sword hand. He spends his time moping, getting drunk, and annoying his cute neighbour, Professor Bryce MacLeod, a committed, if self-righteous, environmentalist. When he confronts Mal, little does Bryce know he’s about to be caught up in the supernatural world of the Fae and the Druids. I thoroughly enjoyed this enemies-to-lovers romance, especially all the quests, action, and their magically forced proximity. It was a busy and amusing plot with lots of romance, arguing, and the keeping and exposing of secrets. My only wish was for Bryce to use more of the powers that were hinted at. Audio narrator Joel Leslie rolled out the different Celtic accents with ease and humour.