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Hard Tail

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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,622 ratings  ·  214 reviews
"Finding love can be a bumpy ride. "

His job: downsized out of existence. His marriage: on the rocks. It doesn't take a lot of arm twisting for Tim Knight to agree to get out of London and take over his injured brother's mountain bike shop for a while. A few weeks in Southampton is a welcome break from the wreck his life has become, even though he feels like a fish out of w
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ebook, 248 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
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Shattered Glass by Dani AlexanderArmed & Dangerous by Abigail RouxStars & Stripes by Abigail RouxChase in Shadow by Amy LaneWho We Are by T.J. Klune
Best M/M Romance Published in 2012
23rd out of 606 books — 1,406 voters
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Best Gay For You Romance
63rd out of 494 books — 1,156 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,507)
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MandyM
Wonderful story with all the qualities I love in an m/m romance. When we meet Tim he is newly separated, lost his job and about to move to a small English town to take over his injured brother's bicycle shop. The only other employee is Matt, a lovable bike-repairer with a frightening secret. Gradually, small town life and Matt's charms set Tim on a new path, albeit with a few obstacles on the way.

Engaging characters, intelligent and funny dialogue, great sense of place, and a very satisfying slo
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Feliz
Tim Knight used to be an ordinary middle-class accountant for a Mill Hill, London firm. He had a wife, a BMW, a mortgage on his house, and his most daring activity consisted in winning a black belt in karate. His life may be a bit unexciting, but Tim is contented with keeping a low profile. He never caused his family any sorrow. Very unlikely his older brother Jay, who from his earliest years broke his bones on a regular basis and went on a self-discovery trip to Goa before opening a bike shop i ...more
Td
EDIT
There's been a debate going on since last night between 3 and 4 Stars. Neither side is willing to give in, stubborn stars! I'm going to let them continue to battle it out and see who comes out on top.
UPDATE
Well, it seems after two days of getting nowhere, Wolverine became impatient and irritated and decided to take matters into his own paws. 3 Stars has been stomped on and flicked into the corner to keep 5 Stars company, they are now tending each others wounds. It wasn't pretty but 4 Stars w
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Simsala
4,5 stars

Fabulous review from Feliz here.
There`s not much left to be said...

Loved this funny coming-out-late story with likeable MCs and a lively cast of secondary characters with two and four legs.
I especially liked that the funniness wasn`t overbearing and slapstick-y but left enough breathing space for more serious undertones.
The romance was a slow burner thanks to Tim`s indecisive sandbag-personality and that made me itchy to the point I went searching for a needle to speed things up but it
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Cole Riann
4.5 stars

Stunning Cover!!

I'm not up to a full review right now, but I really enjoyed this story that was smooth reading. The characters were great, the antagonist in all his glory didn't spin over the top into incredulity (unlike many books I've read lately, where somehow a skirmish always becomes a war and a feminine man is always the flamiest flaming queen ever seen). It's really a simple story about coming to terms with your sexuality and domestic abuse, but what makes it special are the char
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*3.5 stars*

Fluffy, British cuteness alert!

What a nice easy read. This was just what I needed. A closeted, gangly gay-virgin with a crush on a bike-loving boy... sounds like heaven!

Though this story was for sure on the lighter side, there were some more serious plot points surrounding Matt's asshat boyfriend, Steve. I wanted to pull out my old field hockey stick and bang Steve in the nads, he was that big of a suckfest. Despite the Steve issue, this book managed to stay humorous, light, and fully
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EXHIBIT A
Good-hearted, and very, very Anglo.

Lenore's review sums up my thoughts perfectly, especially as relates to the dodgy particulars of the MC's sexuality, and the timidity of the sex scenes.

I had my doubts about this one, no mistake. But before long artfully juxtaposed characters grew on me, even if the plot didn't, and by the end I found myself smirking and tut-tutting like an old lady.

This was my first Merrow book. Her ability to craft a credible and appealing narrative voice is really very spec
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Vio
4.5 stars.

Great reviews from Sims and Feliz not much more I can add.....

Wolverine is the best feline character ever! Tim's personal bodyguard with claws ready at the most opportune moment what perfect timing, I was cheering Wolverine on to victory with that most brilliant and hilarious act it was pure gold! Wonderful, lovable lead characters in Tim and Matt who were both endearing and sweet I was desperate for them to admit their feelings for each other and get on with the loving. It has a slow
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Laura

Sometimes we need to completely step out of our comfortable surroundings and day to day routines to really see ourselves again. To see what we are missing in life.

Confession time. It was the accent that got me. Haha…That ‘ole British charm swept me right off my feet! The language, country side, foods, and more yanked me right into this world from page one. Every lad, silly sod or bloke who was rubbish at this or that, went arse over tit, or had a bit of a barney with his mate brought a smile to
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Gennie Gee
4.5


I wasn’t sure what to expect of Hard Tail by J.L. Merrow, but as I like several other books by this author, I decided to give it a shot. I am very happy I did! As always with this English author, the main characters are lovable and quirky and the secondary characters are compelling and push the story forward.

This story is told from Tim’s point of view. For most of his life Tim’s been in the closet because it was just easier to be “normal” than make waves. Tim’s world collapses around him at t
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Lenore
Ye gods and little fishes! This was so refreshing!

It's first person POV but I loved Tim's voice. It was funny and witty with the right amount of self-sarcasm. And so damn British. He had me literally at fist page; when he said Matt went "well-shaped arse over tit".

Matt was an OK character. A little thin on substance but OK. Adam though? What a show-stealer! I caught myself wanting to read more about him and less about Tim and Matt.
The remaining characters, Kate, Jay, Olivia (I liked her!), Tim
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Ami
3.5 stars
Many have said their piece about this story, so I don't have a lot to add.

Written from Tim's perspective, it is his "journey" from a guy whose job just made redundant and a wife who left him for another man, to accepting his "gay" nature and finding love along the way. The romance is (very) slowly built, because Tim's love interest, Matt, is in a relationship when this story starts, and Tim still struggles to acknowledge his feeling for Matt. In fact, their first approach doesn't happe
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Nikyta *Miss Forgetful*
This was a cute, funny read. I enjoyed it a lot.

Tim is the type of guy that is so deeply in the closet people think he's homophobic because he gets flustered and snappish over the simplest of words hinting at homosexuals. It's cute in a way. I enjoyed the struggle Tim went through after his life gets pretty much turned upside down and he starts to get uncontrollable feelings for a friend of his brother's. I loved, loved, loved how much of an adorable klutz Matt was. Every time Matt was in a sce
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Kaje Harper
4.5 stars. A very engaging story about a man whose marriage has come to an end and who finds he feels mostly relief. Then he encounters the bike-mechanic at his brother's shop, and realizes that he has found a reason to acknowledge his sexuality and maybe come out of his closet. The fact that the mechanic already has a boyfriend with whom he lives complicates the process.

I enjoyed following the narrator, Tim, as he describes his tentative journey towards the man he was meant to be, and Matt is a
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Shelley
3.5 Stars! J.L Merrow always makes me smile; her stories are fun, witty, credible and very British.

She is one of only a handful of author's I know that can get away the first person present tense POV, and that says a lot because I usually toss this format over my shoulder and run for the hills. Somehow she makes it work every time.

Tim Knight is the very English voice of the story and he’s a likable guy; he is middle class, passive, kind of vulnerable (?), witty and pretty chilled out really, e
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Jenre
The story centres around Tim, who, after his wife leaves him for another man, moves temporarily from London to Totton, a small town on the edge of the New Forest to look after his brother's bike shop whilst his brother is in hospital with a broken leg. The other worker in the shop is Matt, who assembles and mends bikes. Matt's a nice guy but awfully clumsy and Tim finds himself attracted to Matt. Unfortunately Matt's already taken and, besides, Tim isn't sure he's ready to tell everyone that he' ...more
Monika

With a few exceptions I loved this story. It was cute and funny with just a hint of angst. The development of Matt and Tim’s relationship was slow which made it perfect. While the story is told with Tim’s POV it was Matt that had me enthralled, right from his first klutzy entrance into the bike shop I knew he would be the character I would end up loving the most. I figured out early on what the drama in his life was I couldn’t help but want to be there for him. I liked Tim’s character when he wa
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Heller
I enjoyed this book. It was a sweet romance and I really like those. I've always enjoyed Merrow's voice, really natural and great characterizations.

I liked Tim's journey a lot and how he found his place full circle.

He has an interesting family and a kickass cat in Wolverine. I love, love, loved Matt. Sweet, klutzy, vegetarian Matt. How could he not fall for this guy?

If I could say anything it would be that I wish we could see more of them as a couple. There was sweet tension throughout the boo
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Candice
May 12, 2012 Candice rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Candice by: Simsala
Shelves: contemporary, furball
While I thought that the story started out slow in the beginning, it seemed to pick up the pace later on for me. I found the characters in this story quirky in their own way, but with a uniqueness that made me enjoy them for the most part. Especially loved Wolverine and strangely look forward to wanting to read more about him. While I did find the story a bit predictable, it was still an enjoyable read.
Mercedes
Great page turner that had me staying up super late so I could finish it all in one sitting sleep be damned.

This book gets 5 stars not only for its entertaining story and characters but also for the great reference to the show "Sherlock" and the "purple shirt of sex." Really, if you want me to love your book just let me know that the main character resembles Sherlock in this hot outfit.

Told for 1st person POV, Tim's voice is witty, funny and adorably self-deprecating. You will love Matt from the
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Deeze
Another winner from J L Merrow.

Tim is such a wonderful character, both entertaining with a hint of vunerability. His thought process kept me chuckling out loud.

Matt was wonderfully insecure at times but totally adorable and as for Wolverine, he deserves every scrap of tuna LOL.

Definitely going on my favorites. A well rounded story with great characters, and humour.
Mandy*reads obsessively*
3.5*
Enjoyable story that started off slow and stayed that way for a while. I was glad when it finally moved along a bit.
I liked the mother/Olivia turnaround, and Wolverine is the best!
Matt and Tim are nice guys and despite the storyline it wasn't too angsty or drama infested, thank goodness.
All in all I enjoyed this nicely flowing story.
Emma Sea
An enjoyable, if predictable, piece of fluff. Nothing like as good as Muscling Through or even Pricks and Pragmatism
R.B.
Interesting and humorous journey out of the closet.
Elizabetta

It was the lovely cover and suggestive title that initially drew me to this story. Two very good bits of marketing. However, ‘Hard Tail’ turned out to be just an ok read for me. While some would call this a gently unfolding romance, it was too slow moving, especially in the first half which felt a bit like watching paint dry.

There were some funny moments and the British colloquialisms and bike talk added color:

“Oh, it was just bad luck. I was trying to do an Ollie over a park bench, and it went
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Anke
Beautiful cover, interesting blurb - I was quite eager to start reading. The first pages were promising, but then it got rather predictable. The getting-on-my-nerves-mother, the accident-prone-Matt storyline, which I thought was dragged out too long, and then the 'surprise' that really wasn't one - the longer I read on the more it felt as if this story won't ever end. Nevertheless during the final chapters the story moved along quite nicely and resulted in a fitting HEA.
Chris
4.5 stars. Very good m/m romance about an accountant, freshly laid off and from his job and newly left by his wife, who ends up running his brother's bike shop while his brother is in the hospital. Since he's not gay, why does he spend so much time staring at the bike mechanic's arse?
Purplegirl
I just couldn't bring myself to finish. I was more amused and interested with the cat than the MCs.
Elspeth
I loved it.
This was just what I was in the mood for, and the cat was great fun!
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JL Merrow is a very English writer of (mainly) m/m fiction who finds writing the only way to stay sane, except of course when a plot is driving her crazy. Having grown up on an island, she can’t remember a time before she could swim and prefers to remain close to water at all times. Luckily, the weather in her native land being as it generally is, this is not difficult.

She enjoys reading, martial
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“I gave the wretched beast a look that said plainly I’ll deal with you later.
He flicked his tail at me, cat-speak for Do I look like I’m bothered?”
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“Feeling inspired, I grabbed one of Jay’s cookbooks from the kitchen shelf and flicked through until I found a recipe for something I recognised. Lasagna. That was just pasta, and pasta was easy, right? Trying not to be put off by the list of ingredients longer than my small intestine, I scanned the instructions. Chop onions… I could do that. Brown mince…trickier but manageable. Probably. Make a roux in the usual way… I sighed, shut the book with a snap and went off to make dinner in my usual way: pierce film; bung in microwave; wait for bell.” 5 likes
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