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Worth Waiting For

(Heart of the South #1)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A small-town in the Deep South isn’t where most gay men would choose to go looking for love. But open hearts will find a way…

Growing up in the Bible Belt, Paul Dunham learned from a young age to hide his sexuality. Now he’s teaching psychology at a conservative college in Georgia—and still hiding who he really is. If Paul hopes to get tenure, he needs to keep his desi
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by Lyrical Shine
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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BWT (Belen)
1.5 Stars

I was really keen on reading this from the blurb. I was hoping for a great "Out For You" story about a second chance love and reconnecting with first love...and I sort of got it?

Told from the single POV of deeply closeted Paul, his very carefully ordered life is thrown upside down when his college freshman crush, Brandon, is hired as an IT Security consultant for the college and Paul is ordered to work with him. Brandon immediately comes on to Paul and offers a no-strings-attached affai
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
I enjoyed Save the Date, Wendy Qualls' collaboration with Annabeth Albert. Unfortunately, sans Albert, Qualls' writing sinks into the trite and awkward.

Worth Waiting For is told from the perspective of Paul, a professor at a Christian college who's in the closet and wants to stay there. When his college crush, Brandon, arrives in town to work as an IT consultant on campus, Paul can't stop thinking about him.

Brandon suggests they get together, for dinner and more. But Paul is scared and gives o
Jun 19, 2017 added it
Shelves: mm-romance, dnf
I've made a very conscious effort this year to DNF books instead of pushing myself to finish something when I'm clearly not having an enjoyable reading experience.

I made it to 10% of this book. And while I wouldn't say the story and writing is bad, it's definitely not good.

The writing is really jarring. If it's not the word choices, it's the sentence structure, and it's multiple times on each page.



The barista at the campus coffee shop when he fi
h o l l i s
This is technically my second read by Qualls but as my first exposure to her was a co-written effort -- with one of my favourite m/m authors -- I'm going to count this as my first true Qualls' experience. And honestly, in all probability, it's likely going to be my last.

I don't know if it's because I now associate Qualls with Albert but this read more or less like the discarded plot to one of Albert's books. And definitely echoed some of the backstory of one of her #gaymers characters (STATUS UP
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, m-m
A highly enjoyable story about Paul, a closeted professor working at a very conservative Christian college who, after ten years, accidentally reconnects with Brandon, the man who made him realize he was gay.

I noticed "Worth Waiting For" mostly because of the cover, which I like even more now that I have read the book because it captures the story and its atmosphere perfectly. Despite the subject matter and while there were some angsty moments, overall it had a lighter feel than I had expected,
This story left me feeling so dissatisfied. Paul as a character makes no sense. He's deeply deeply closeted yet jumps right in to a sexual relationship with Brandon like it's his every day norm. They go away for a weekend and he's holding Brandon's hand in public, meeting Brandon's family as his boyfriend, participating in PDA - it just doesn't make sense for how his character is written.

And don't get me started on Brandon. He totally admits he's never been in a relationship and doesn't want on
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for the ARC.

There were formatting problems which I hope will be sorted out before publication. I eventually read mine downloaded via Adobe Digital Editions which was relatively error free.

However, I had other issues with this novel.

The premise looked good- Paul and Brandon renew their friendship after a ten year gap and with unfinished business hanging in the air. Brandon has avoided commitment and Paul has had one failed relationship. Unfortunat
Joyfully Jay
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kenna
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.75 stars

I liked this book. I wanted to love it, but it felt a bit off to me. Paul and Brandon were ok, but that’s as far as I’ll go. They were sweet and said/did all the right things, but I didn’t feel any real bond with them. Paul was standoffish. I suppose he probably had to be because he was hiding his true self. However, I found myself wanting to give him a slap on the face and yell, “Snap out of it!” It was as if he were a bit lazy. As a psychology professor, he cou
Paul and Brandon's story is a blend of sad angst and near-perfect romance. I have many questions about characters' actions and authenticity, and when I find myself second guessing like that I know I am thrown out of the story.

Paul's boss, for example. Why does he dislike Paul so much? How does the mystery stalker get away with as much as he does? And Paul's parents? Are they believable?

I did like Brandon, but he was a saint for putting up with as much hot and cold from Paul as he does.

Sep 13, 2017 marked it as 00-mm-horrible-disaster-fail-dnf
I received this as a gift from a friend and I figured I'd crack it open. Reviews don't encourage a lot of faith, but I always (always) like to decide for myself! Also, I want to clear this from my "currently reading" queue. So here we go ... ...more
HEChapter -Tina J
✩ ✩ ✩ THREE-STAR ✩ REVIEW ✩ ✩ ✩
> > Judging a Book by it's Cover < <
Two men holding hands in an awkward position while sitting on a bench. Nothing overly eye-catching. Weak title font for the room provided. Nice placement of Author name. The synopsis was not something that would normally draw me in either, however, I'd read a book by this author when she paired up with Annabeth Albert and really enjoyed that book, so I was intrigued how well this author would do on her Solo Debut!

> > Looking D
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie

3 Stars

Paul and Brandon met their freshman year at Saint Benedict, a strict Christian college both were attending. They skirted around their attraction for one another for quite some time, until eventually they shared a night together. When Brandon leaves for another school afterward without a word, Paul locks himself securely back in the closet. Now, ten years later, the two meet again when Brandon returns to Saint Benedict for a short time as an IT consultant. Brandon runs into Paul, who is wo
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I’ll get straight to the point with this review. Dr. Paul Dunham is one of the most tediously boring protagonists I have ever attempted to engage with. Even after finishing Paul’s story, I still have no idea why a gay man would spend more than ten years of his life studying then working at a conservative Christian college.

Paul admits several times in this book that he has no interests, hobbies or friends. He lives for his work and his closest relationship is with his twin sister who lives on an
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review**

1.5 stars

DNF AT 12%

I was quite excited about this after reading the blurb as it is my type of book. However I am disappointed to say that the expectation didn't meet the reality.

Firstly I found, what I did manage to read, incredibly difficult due to the formatting issues within the kindle edition. For example the end of the first page read as follows:

"There have been some complaints
about you," Dr Kirshner announced. "Sorry?"
he slid a stapl
I was introduced to this author via Save The Date, which was cowritten with Annabeth Albert.
I was looking forward to this story as the blurb sounded interesting.
Unfortunately, the book fell short of good for me. There was so much promise from the blurb with a closeted Paul who works at a conservative, Christian college when he reconnects with an old flame who happens to be at the same college for a consulting job.
The book as a whole was banal. Cliched. I feel like I have read this story before
Jennifer Shanahan
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-giveaways
I received an ARC from NetGalley. Not a big fan of this book or writer who I've not heard of before. The writing was really boring and awkward. I did not feel a real connection between the two main characters like ever throughout the book which was sad because I think it could be a better book, maybe ion first person? Not sure. The plot was really blatantly apparent to me and easy to figure out, the more I read. Paul and Brandon had no chemistry which, along with the fact that I figured out the ...more
JD Crittendon
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The Professor and the Cutie!

A forever closet, the one that got away and Christian values are pieces of Paul & Brandon romantic puzzle 🧩 Good story, well worn trope but good writing. I thought the characters were well developed, even though I’m not fond of grown men unable to complete sentences. Overall, a good read....on to the next installment!
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Got a galley of this. Yay!
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren loves llamas
Content warning: homophobia (religiously motivated)

Wow, this was an angsty, all-the-feels read! I cried angry tears, sad tears, and happy tears, all in the course of 300 pages!

“How did you …” Brandon seemed to be picking his words carefully. “How was it for you? Staying?”
“It wasn’t anything, really.” Confusing and frustrating, but that was nothing new. “I just went back to not doing that. Nobody thought anything of it. Plenty of students here don’t really date.”

Paul is securely in the closet. Wh
Isabella ~Mikku-chan~
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*

Normally when it comes to books I avoid other reader's reviews until I've read the book by myself - mostly not to spoiler myself with details or opinions. This time though I took a look and was a bit biased by the reviews and the general ranking on Goodreads. Still, because I judge books and be able to value things by my own and maybe differently I started this book with ignoring/blind out the other reviews.

Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A new author for me and I liked this a lot.

Worth Waiting For is the first book I've read by Wendy Qualls where she didn't have a co-author. I liked this story very much and I'm a bit frustrated by the negative comments I've read in other reviews. Specifically, where people complained about formatting errors in the copy they got from NetGalley. Here's what NetGalley has to say about formatting errors:
Formatting errors are highly dependent on the formatting of the PDF - the fonts, margins, graphi
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good debut from a new author. Her prose is very clear and her characterizations are solid. It's obvious she knows her stuff (she gets details correct for different flavors of geeks, different flavors of gay men, different flavors of Southerner) and that she's actively thought about what she's writing (the detail of how annoying shower spray is in your face during, er, fun times, made me smile). The two leads are delightful; I sympathized with Paul and fell in love with Brandon. (Who is an IT guy ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
3 - 3 1/2 stars

Worth Waiting For is the first book in the new Heart of the South series by Wendy Qualls. It's a sweet, sexy M/M romance with a touch of mystery and suspense. With the interesting storyline, complex characters, sexy intimate scenes, intense situations, and surprise twists, it's a really good beginning to this new series.

There was a lot that I liked about this story, as well as the characters. It had a good plot, the characters were interesting and developed, and the mystery/suspe
Veronica of V's Reads
3.5 Stars.

Paul and Brandon connected in their freshman year of college. It was a conservative school, and Paul was scared into the closet, lest his secret attraction for another man cause him to be expelled for indecency and out him to his family–who he expected would disown him. He’s had one pseudo-relationship sicne, with a self-loathing man who was deeper int he closet than himself. Brandon moved on to a different college–one that was more open to diversity, and he’s been an out-gay man since
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, mm-bi
This was a touching story of two men who were given a second chance to find happiness after a long time apart. Neither knew they'd find one another again and thought their past was just a great memory and also a great secret. With a lot to lose, they take a chance. Unfortunately, other people do whatever they can to tear them apart.

The way they find resolution was a bit over-the-top as well as the big forced reveal, but their chemistry was there. Something that was not so awesome was the lack of
Christi Snow
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
My Review:
The hard thing about writing book reviews is figuring out why sometimes a book works for you and sometimes it doesn't. This was a book that didn't work for me. I'll be honest...I almost DNF'ed it several times in the last 25% of the book, but by that time, I'd already put in so much time to reading it.

But the question is...why didn't it work for me. I think the answer is this...the main hero, Paul. This book is told entirely from Paul's point of view and Paul is really not that great
Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog)

Oh God, I just can't with this book. It's so bad, so very, very bad. Bad as in boring, so boring! And that is why I had to FORCE MYSELF TO FINISH IT. I wanted to like it, and the blurb was good. It's just that its execution was sorely lacking. Lacking interesting, vibrant characters. Lacking entertainment. Lacking everything. Ugh. Just ugh.

Paul is a deeply closeted professor of psychology in the Bible belt. His boss constantly is on him about his morals clause and Paul knows he could be fired at
Thomas Hooker
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Worth Waiting For was a very well-written story of two men who spent time together in college, one of them becomes a Psychology Professor at the college and the other moves on to work in computer problems. The professor gets picked by the president of the school to be the liaison for the technical difficulties in the universities whole computer network. In this the professor finds someone he really was reluctant to get close to after their one-time experience, then things change between them and ...more
Mae Hanley
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
I'm not sure how long I've been sitting on reading this, but I probably waited because it looks like a 'sweet' romance and I'm not really into those. That said, I enjoyed this take on romance. The staunch Christian upbringing of Paul, his continuing to work at a religious institution with a strict moral code in spite of knowing he's gay. Meeting back up with his first crush Brandon (who left the college upon realizing he was gay and didn't belong there) and fighting to stay away. The mystery was ...more
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Wendy Qualls was a small ­town librarian until she finished reading everything her library had to offer. At that point she put her expensive and totally unrelated college degree to use by writing smutty romance novels and wasting time on the internet. She lives in Northern Alabama with her husband, two girls, two dogs, and a seasonally fluctuating swarm of unwanted ladybugs. Wendy can be found on ...more

Other books in the series

Heart of the South (3 books)
  • Worth Searching For (Heart of the South, #2)
  • Worth Fighting For (Heart of the South #3)

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