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The Sheltering Tree

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The heart of Alastair Harding's life is his duty. Becoming the first gay chief of the Metropolitan police has required certain sacrifices, but Alastair made them willingly. If his life now lacks human connections, he can't exactly complain—and it's a little too late for regrets.

Jay Fieldhouse knows all about sacrifice, too. Brought to London for his own safety by witness protection, Jay's grassroots charity works day and night to save vulnerable kids from a life of crime. But getting close to other people is tough when no one really knows who you are.

When he meets Alastair one night at a charity event, Jay is intrigued by his glimpse of a gentle soul beneath the commissioner's uniform. The two men decide to run their lonely paths side by side for a while—after all, life is short and good sex is hard to come by.

Then the shadows of the past begin to stir, and the words which go unsaid might be Jay and Alastair's undoing.

The Sheltering Tree is J.R. Lawrie's first full length novel, following her debut anthology, Let Your Heart Be Light.

507 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 9, 2021

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About the author

J.R. Lawrie

2 books99 followers
J.R. Lawrie was born in Manchester in 1989, received a first-class degree in English Literature from the University of Leeds in 2011, then vanished into the thorny undergrowth of fanfiction and was never seen again.

Their first novel The Sheltering Tree has been described as 'heart wrenchingly beautiful', 'a powerful and passionate story', and '1/5 never delivered'.

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5 stars
244 (55%)
4 stars
126 (28%)
3 stars
58 (13%)
2 stars
9 (2%)
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1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,337 reviews135 followers
June 28, 2021
Have you ever felt as if you’re intruding on a private moment? You know what I mean, right? When the air is thick with raw emotions and if you’re not directly involved with them you feel like you’re stealing moments that don’t belong to you. Yeah, one of those. There’s that fierce electrical charge that pulsates all around you, begging you to close your eyes but you just can’t. That was me and this entire book. As each chapter slipped by I felt more and more like a trespasser. However, nothing could pull me away. It was breathtakingly beautiful and I was willing to risk prosecution. This love story of the most unlikely pair was intense, intimate, and intoxicating.

I’ve always been a fan of a man in a uniform and Sir Alastair does not disappoint. I’m also a sucker for a sexy silver fox. *shivers* Pair this older man of the law with a younger inked firecracker and you’ve got one spicy couple. Jay is a bit of an enigma, one that Alastair wants to unravel and indulge in. I adored his witty spark and frisky dialogue. The British slang was in full effect and I couldn’t get enough. They meet at an event honoring Jay’s charity. Al and Jay are not just from the other side of the tracks or even opposite ends of town, they are from polar worlds. They are too different. They could never last but nothing is stopping them from having some fun. Before long, their arrangement starts to shift. Neither wants to voice their desires, too afraid the chaos of reality will drown them out. Unbeknown to them, everyone around them can see and feel it. The secondary characters are strong and memorable. Al and Jay are a mismatched couple doomed for failure. Not only are they poles apart but heavy baggage weighs them down. Jay’s past haunts him. He’s been shackled to his former life and when he finally felt the taste of freedom and the whisp of clouds on his face, everything comes crashing down. I was anxiously sitting on the edge of my seat, pleading for the happily ever after they both desperately deserved. Oh, the anticipation!

This was my first jaunt with Lawrie and I was impressed with her capacity to create such an authentic atmosphere. As a LEO spouse, I tend to be overcritical of police stories. It’s difficult for me to compare tactics and procedures from across the pond but I would imagine she did well maintaining fair representational details. Lawrie’s style is distinct and her emotional pull was outstanding. Granted there were times I felt some tedious thinning would not go amiss. And honestly, I’m not sure about the cover. At first glance, I did pause and take a closer look but was not bedazzled. Let’s face it, smoking isn’t always a winning look. However, Jay is delightful and charming and quickly won me over. Life hasn’t always been kind to him but he’s determined to pay forward the lifeline that was thrown his way. The artwork on his flesh tell a story. One of triumph and survival and I hope you take a gamble to discover it firsthand. I can promise you one thing, Alastair is thanking his lucky star that he did.

Beware of: Mature men falling into an unforeseen love affair. Off the charts sultry sexual chemistry and knee-wobbling romance. And the harsh reminder that the paths behind us do not define us, for actions do indeed speak louder than words.

This book is for: If you’re on the hunt for a passionate story with some drama and loads of love, why not give these two a chance? The risks are high but they prove the impossible may be possible after all.

Book UNfunk
Profile Image for Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -.
662 reviews43 followers
January 31, 2022
***3.5 Stars***

Holy snail's pace, this must have been a new record for me. The longest read evah! Not that I didn't like it, I did, but...Ialsohadissues.

First things first, though: Congratulations on your stamina, Alistair! For a man in his fifties your recovery time would be something a man is his twenties would be proud of, envious of or whatever. *thumbs up*

Yes, there was a lot of sex, a lot of fade-to-black sex, too, and both guys hit it off like being struck by lightning... and yet, their intimacy fealt real somehow and I sometimes had a dopey grin on my face because... feelings. On the other hand, they both were a bit too imperfectly perfect. Or too perfectly imperfect? Some things were just too good to be true and the whole scenario that everyone and their mother would be in awe of their chemistry and on the verge of melting into a puddle of goo just watching them interact, was a bit too OTT for me.

Also, this book was loooooong, hence me taking forever to finish it. It definitely needed some editing because cutting out some (sex) scenes and inner monologue would have done wonders for the reading flow, not to mention lots of typos.

Good Lord, this really sounds like ranting, but the story overall really entertained me quite a bit. Granted a bit of suspension of disbelief was required, but that's something I usually don't mind. :)
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,431 followers
May 6, 2021
So I definitely have to agree with Renee, while I enjoyed the storyline and the writing was definitely good this one was WAY too long.

That being said, I never got bored or skimmed.

There was a lot of sex - most of the first 50-60% of the book. But it wasn't that many scenes, they were just incredibly LONG drawn out scenes. Sometimes a full chapter long. So I definitely wouldn't call it "smutty".

I did like it and enjoy it so I'll definitely keep this author on my radar!
Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,226 reviews290 followers
April 1, 2021
J.R.'s debut collection of short stories is one of my favourite books of all time and this one has gone right next to it on the shelf.

The relationship between Alastair and Jay is perfectly developed through intense chemistry when they first meet, to a hesitant friends with benefits sexual exploration and then into a deep friendship.

They are studies in opposites, Alastair's high flying job as Commander of the Metropolitan Police puts him in the spotlight but it's something he does under sufferance. Jay's role as CEO of a company helping at risk kids is close to home and he's hiding a painful secret which would have devastating consequences if it comes out.

There's a tension runs through the book because of this secret, which the reader isn't a party to either in full, which makes the narrative pacing a perfect blend of the quieter, intimate moments with the suspense elements.

Sex is inspired between these two. Alastair hasn't had chance to have a relationship for years, Jay is too busy hiding himself to really let go but together, they fly high.

The scenes at Cliveden are among my most favourite romantic encounters in any book, they're so filled with all the feelings the two men are trying to surpress. The speculative added commentary from the hotel staff just pops the cherry on an already delicious cake imho. It made me smile big time.

There's also an excellent set of secondary characters, one of my favourites being Alastair's personal assistant (and general go-to gal) Juliet, who is encouraging and mothering of him even though she's much younger.

I won't go into the details of the suspense element of the plot, only to say that it works perfectly throughout as Jay's past comes back to threaten not only him, but Alastair's position. The build-up to the final quarter of the book will make your heart race as the danger gets closer.

Oh, and the wee little Easter Egg reference to Richard from J.R.'s Let Your Heart Be Light: A Collection of M/M Holiday Romances was brilliant. If you've not read that book yet, I'd definitely suggest you do!

I can't wait to see what other people think of this book, it's one of my absolute favourite reads in any genre.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review
Profile Image for Renée.
1,023 reviews312 followers
April 28, 2021
I liked the story just fine, along with this author’s writing style.

Except.....the pacing was so incredibly slow. I started skimming sex scenes, which isn’t a good sign.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 72 books2,484 followers
April 19, 2021
This book gives us Alastair, the gay chief of the Metropolitan police, a man who worked his way up through the ranks as a gay cop, partly by keeping his sexuality as unobtrusive as possible. He's out, but he never dates and hasn't had a significant other in a decade or more. He considers a kind of monastic existence part of the price he pays for a job he is really good at, and the chance to pave the way for others to follow.

But at a charity dinner, doing the required schmoozing, he is seated next to Jay, the younger, attractive CEO of a youth charity they're honoring. And for the first time in years, he wants someone enough to give up his rectitude and indulge, even if just for one night. He wants Jay's smile, and his tattoos, and his size, and his lightness of being.

Jay has some darker secrets, though. The biggest being that he's in witness protection, and if the man he's running from finds him, his whole life has to vanish in the rearview mirror again. He's very taken with Alastair, but can he really afford to let himself go deeper than one heated night? And if he does, why on earth would a man with class and rank want a guy who worked himself up from the gutter?

This story is written richly and indulgently, with a sensual approach to both description and sex scenes. The men fall for each other hard, but are unwilling to express it. And when they finally do, life is on the verge of falling apart.

I enjoyed this story, although at times it went just a little deep into the sweetness and perfection. In particular, the women in the story swooned over the guys more than felt natural (although I did love having a couple of women characters in important positions.) And the one moment where the characters' imperfections and bad choices led to really interesting psychological conflict was short-circuited by the press of plot drama. The aftermath of that drama slid back into sweetness without the conflict and lingering issues that could have added a bit of edge to the story. (And painful injuries disappear from the narrative.)

Having said that, this is a great story if you want to sink deep into a relationship that really speaks to the word "romance." There is enough outside mystery-ish plot happening for interest. The men are appealing, their chemistry is almost palpable, the developing love story has moments of sweet perfection, the HEA is solid as a rock. One for my comfort reread shelf when I'm in the mood
Profile Image for WhatAStrangeDuck.
474 reviews35 followers
April 17, 2021
Le sigh... I don't really know how to rate this. Too much of a good thing? Too rich for my blood? It might be a "it's me not you" thing but then again that's how people and books break up, right?


There's a lot of "too" in the book. The MCs are just too perfect in their imperfections. There is a lot of fragility and weakness and giggling and lip-biting which is quite frankly just too adorable. But then again they are also too perfect in their perfectness. Everybody and their little sister loves them because they are JUST SO PERFECTLY PERFECT (and adorable) which demands undying respect and loyalty.

And I don't feel it. There, I said it. But I'm a tired, old cynic who doesn't feel it. This book might just be a perfect fit for another reader. Just not me.

Also, and that's really just on me - too many sex scenes. The first third or so of the book is about them trying to pretend that they are just friends with benefits, so that's probably inevitable but really, no. Too much "too".

2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because I finished it. Sorry, little book. So many people love you :-).
Profile Image for BevS.
2,690 reviews2 followers
April 19, 2021
4.25 stars from me.

I absolutely loved Let Your Heart Be Light a couple of years ago, but this gritty, contemporary British thriller from J.R. Lawrie couldn't have been any more different...as alike as chalk and cheese in fact.

I could've done with less sex to be perfectly honest; I didn't think that the story needed so much although the MC's clearly did 😏, and maybe instead we could've delved a little more deeply into both Alastair and Jay's backgrounds, BUT I have to admit that as a couple, they were as sweet as can be [for oldies 🥰🥰, of which I am definitely one].

Really looking forward to more stories in the future.
Profile Image for Paula´s  Brief Review.
951 reviews16 followers
April 20, 2021
Un libro muy difícil de evaluar porque si bien en general me gustó, me resultó muy extraño como desarrolla la historia.
Muy interesante que los dos MC estén rondando los 50 con unos diálogos y una relación acorde a su edad, que esté ambientado en UK es un plus porque, seamos realistas, a los europeos nos resulta todo más familiar que las historias americanas, y una historia de amor súper dulce y bonita sin resultar empalagosa, pero la parte de misterio paralela se queda escasa, yo creo que porque el primer tercio del libro es el enamoramiento, el segundo es el misterio y toda la tercera y última parte es una gran epílogo que acaba resultando largo y cansino.
Resumiendo, 4* los protagonistas y la parte amorosa, 2.5* al desarrollo y el resto de la historia
Profile Image for Sophia Soames.
Author 22 books156 followers
July 22, 2021
Sensational. I am struggling to find the words to talk about this book, but this was perfection for me.
Sensual smut, written so well that you could almost taste it. Gorgeously flawed characters, and the pining was off the charts.
So yes, I am stunned into silence here. Just grab it, read it and enjoy. x
Profile Image for ML.
1,060 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2021
Intense and romantic

I wrote this review as I read the book.. as you do…

This isn’t really a spoiler since it happened in the first 8% of the book.. fade to black FIRST time sex is usually a DNF for me but since I’m only 8% in and everyone and their brother has recommended this book to me I’ll keep going….

I’m at 21% and most of the sex is off page. Reading the reviews.. some people said there was too much sex?!? Where?? Fade to black sex is almost worse than no sex at all. The characters are still interesting enough for me to keep reading. Like Jay runs a charity, I still do not know what that even entails. What is it? What are his charitable works? So far everything has been very shallow and surface only when it comes to Jay. Alastair bears his soul on family and life but Jay is a closed book.
I hope that changes soon….it does eventually…

Smoking in a hotel room. Does that even happen anymore. 😳 is this book set in 2021? Or 1981. Strange.

The book has gotten more interesting. BUT Jay and Alastair are SO clueless when it comes to love. They both have coworkers advising them. It’s painful. They both NEED the BIG conversation but both are so immature they can’t seem to get there. **face palm**

THEN the other shoe drops and boy is it a doozy! I did not see that coming! No spoilers but then this book gets especially intense. We learn Jay’s tragic background.

I did enjoy this book but it was extraordinarily LONG. It needed editing to make certain scenes pop. It languished a bit in parts where I’m like where is this even going exactly. It could have been tighter.
Jay and Alastair get their HEA and it’s sweet and romantic which was lovely but it took a long time to get there.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,294 reviews412 followers
April 14, 2021
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

J.R. Lawrie is a new author to me and The Sheltering Tree is the author’s first full length novel. I liked this book right from the start and, as each chapter revealed itself, I liked it more and more and then some more. With deep character development and sensual scenes, this book is a love story from start to finish.

We know from the beginning that Jay is in witness protection and where Alastair is in his career as police commissioner. There is instant attraction and Jay takes his shot and while he expects to be turned down, he makes a direct hit. Jay cannot believe that someone that he thinks is so far out of his league like Alastair would have a drink with him, let alone spend the night with him, and the way he calls Alastair “posh thing” and “sunshine” unravels them both. The men burn bright and hot right from the start and the chemistry that is flawlessly layered throughout this entire story is mesmerizing.

Read Michelle's review in its entirety here.
Profile Image for Amy Aislin.
Author 27 books582 followers
April 20, 2021
Oh, I just loved this soooooo much! It was almost insta-lovey but not quite. Alastair and Jay had the kind of insta-connection that made everything else that followed once they met so worthwhile. The writing is beautiful, the characters are endearing, the steam is steamy. Alastair and Jay are wonderful together, just so damn lovely and adorable and I could read an entire second book about them.
Profile Image for Rachel.
905 reviews58 followers
April 9, 2021
Everyone else has said it way better than me, this book is wonderful <3
Profile Image for Lauren.
680 reviews24 followers
May 9, 2021
I can’t get over how INSANELY GOOD this book is!!

I used to frequently write reviews on here, but for various reasons I lost the motivation to write them over the past couple of years and instead would give a star rating and leave it at that. I couldn’t do that for this one. I couldn’t just give it the 5 stars it deserves without expressing in words (albeit in my usual chaotic way) just how incredible this story was, and how much I fell madly in love with it.

The Sheltering Tree was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was hooked from the very first page and I never wanted to put my Kindle down. I ended up sitting on the sofa for hours and hours because I was so engrossed in the story and the characters and the incredible love that we see developing between Alastair and Jay. When I did have to put it down and go back to the real world, it was all I could think about. This story consumed my life and I am absolutely okay with that!

I loved these characters with my whole heart. They made my heart ache, made my eyes well up with tears more than once, and I just wanted them to get their HEA so badly that my heart hurt (in the best way!). And to be honest, I could have read about them FOREVER. This isn’t a short story, but I could have quite happily read thousands more words about these two without any complaints.

I loved so many aspects of this book - the sex, the intimacy, the character development, the perfectly paced plot.... it also has older MCs which was refreshing (I don’t feel like this is done enough although that may be just because I don’t seem to see it on my feeds and recs?), and there was a healthy amount of pining and a lovely bit of angst too. I LOVE PINING AND ANGST. The sex was beautiful and emotional, the love was heart-achingly good, and there were plenty of moments that made my heart hurt but it felt SO GOOD.

The story was written SO WELL. I just can’t get over the beautiful writing - there was something so hypnotic and lovely about it. I could picture everything so perfectly in my mind, the descriptions of everything were so wonderfully done, and I just fell madly in love with each word.

This review probably makes no sense and is just a ramble. My point is this - I bloody LOVED it. I’ve read a lot of books in this genre, both good and bad, and I can say with certainty that this is one of the best I’ve ever read. It has become one of my favourite books in this genre, but also a favourite out of all the many books I’ve read in the last few years. Just.... please read this. That’s all I can say. Read it right now, and I really hope you’ll love it as much as I did.
Profile Image for Merissa (Archaeolibrarian).
3,396 reviews90 followers
April 9, 2021
THE SHELTERING TREE is an amazing story of two opposites who start their relationship as friends with benefits before it moves on to become more. With danger, excitement, and plenty of steam, this was a story I didn't want to end!

I loved how they were both older. Don't get me wrong, I like reading about the "young 'uns" 🤣 but I do like a more mature man too. And Alistair was supposed to be an almost silver fox, so count me in! And they both had a history - with past loves and lives the other didn't know about. This made them getting to know each other all the more delicious.

I thought the way I was led in one direction, only to be turned completely around, made this an engrossing read, one that kept me turning the pages. There really is something for everyone here. Mystery, suspense, love, friendship, you name it.

And the best part is I can't differentiate between the main characters as to which one is my favourite! They are both outstanding in their own ways. And they are surrounded by an amazing supporting cast, including Connor and Juliet. Throw in the gorgeous setting of Cliveden and you have a romance to burn your kindle.

This is a good-sized novel, but it still ended too soon for me. I was lost in their world and their relationship. I want more! And yet, I'm so happy with what I got. I adored them both.

The pacing was perfect and the style of writing was smooth. I find it hard to believe this is the author first full-length novel! What I do know is I will be keeping an eye out in future for more books from her. This is definitely one to keep and re-read! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me!

** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Profile Image for Smut Librarian.
1,039 reviews38 followers
April 11, 2021
J.R. Lawrie has written a beautiful marvel in The Sheltering Tree, with descriptive and tender words that made me gasp, swoon and sigh. It’s a powerful and passionate story and the sparks can be felt from the first interactions between the main characters.

In the beginning, the sweet chemistry between Jay and Alastair is like a gently blooming flower – gradual and delicate but also compelling and evocative. Each protagonist endears themselves to the reader in very different ways, Jay with his vulnerability and passion and Alastair with his dedication and protectiveness.

Some books go to sleep in your mind between the periods of reading but some – like this one – stay in your conscious, murmuring at you until you pick the Kindle back up. I eagerly attended to tasks so I could return to Alastair and Jay’s world as quickly as possible!

I very rarely quote from the books I read as I prefer to take the story as a whole and garner my own impression from it as a complete work, but J.R.’s words were often poetic and so completely perfect that I highlighted several passages for myself, which I seldom do. This one is particularly moving: “Outside these woods, every clock had come to a stop. Every person stood frozen in time, an illusion waiting to resume. Only Alastair’s body, pressing him here, against this tree, was really real. Alastair’s pulse, quick and hard against his own, was the only other living pulse.”

The Sheltering Tree is a roller coaster of emotions, which flows between sweet and romantic, to charged, with suspense and tension. Taken all together it makes for a remarkable experience. J.R. Lawrie’s first full-length novel is extremely well written and will be highly sought after by readers looking for an edgy read in a character driven story. I can’t wait to see what J.R. brings out next!
Profile Image for ButtonsMom2003.
2,662 reviews13 followers
April 12, 2021
5 Stars

OMG, this book is so good; it needs 10 stars!

I want to shout it out in capital letters READ THIS BOOK! If you are a fan of romantic suspense, it doesn’t matter if it’s M/F or M/M, you need to read this story. The Sheltering Tree is at the top of my list of favorite romantic suspense books for 2021 and possibly for all time.

I’m not sure I can even describe how this book made me feel. I laughed and I cried and I held my breath more than once while reading this story. Books this long (140,000 words / 507 pages) are not my usual length of book to read because I know I won’t be able to finish in one day. But, OMG, this book!

I really can’t believe that this is J.R. Lawrie’s first full length novel. I read her first book, Let Your Heart Be Light back in December 2019; it’s a collection of three shorter stories and I loved it. I said then that I love discovering new authors like J.R. Lawrie and this second book did not change my opinion of her writing; it confirms what I thought then, that she is a very talented writer.

There are other reviews that have done a better job than I could of describing this story. I just want everyone to read it. Please, please read it!

I did receive an advance copy of this book at my request but I also purchased a copy immediately after I read it. I love supporting talented authors. I can’t wait to read what J.R. Lawrie writes next.
Profile Image for ~nikki the recovering book addict.
1,236 reviews2 followers
May 13, 2021
5 lovely stars!

I was in a book slump. This book and this brilliant author certainly pulled me out of it and gave me lots and lots to fawn over.

Another brilliant British author and a really good book. I have no words to express why I love this book. Perhaps it was the writing style. Perhaps it was the author’s ability to make both men strong yet vulnerable with each other.

I just know I loved it and I wished this author had written more so I could have devoured their back catalogue but alas, there’s only one other book and it seems like this was the author’s first full length novel! I am looking forward to much more of this author’s work 🤩
Profile Image for Shelba.
1,857 reviews34 followers
December 25, 2022
DNF @ 2%.

I don’t know what it is about the writing, but I find it incredibly grating. Maybe it’s the MC’s douchey observations of women. Maybe it’s the fact that everything is decided in two million details. Maybe it’s the chief of police being intrigued by someone drumming their fingers in a tabletop. Regardless, I’m not sticking around to suss this one out.
Profile Image for ✨.
178 reviews13 followers
May 17, 2021
Well, that was quite a long book. I do have mixed feelings on this one.

It felt like it could’ve been two separate books. The getting to know you/relationship building of the first half. Also, the first 30% of that doesn’t really have a plot like at all. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because you could see them starting to like each other. I was a little confused on who was who at first, and I had troubles remembering which was which and their job profession.

The second half was more plot focused because that’s when you start to uncover some of Jay’s backstory. Around 60% is when the plot line officially starts coming in and I wish it came in sooner even if it was just hints. I kind of skimmed the second half, not because it was boring because it was really engaging, but because I had already put it in my mind that it was just strictly a romance because of how the first half was.

Despite these things, it was nicely written and engaging. My main issue (which is why I can’t give it a full 4 or 5 stars) is Jay’s behavior towards Juliet. I understand he was scared and upset, but he was very demeaning and kept calling her “princess” like she was a child and it put me completely off of his character. It was so bad that I really lost interest in the story/characters as a whole and just powered through, so I could see the ending. It felt out of character because I don’t think he treats anyone else like that, and I didn’t see him as someone who would be patronizing, but the repeated nickname just made me disgusted which sucks because I really liked him.
Profile Image for Anabela.M..
959 reviews15 followers
April 8, 2021
Metropolitan Chief of Police met the CO of a charity at a gala, but essentially they were just Alastair  and Jay. Simple men, lonely and hungry for touch, passion and affection. Validation of worth as men, too, maybe, beyond their functions and the masks they had on. The author wrote them and their connection beautifully. It was the quintessential "everything they didn't know they needed ", with a splendidly drawn intimacy and emotional vulnerability.

There hasn't been any emotion in this book that I didn't feel as my own, and I'm in awe with JR Lawrie's ability to write feelings so vividly that they're easily transferred to the reader. In the beginning, when Alastair and Jay would carve themselves special moments together, I could live their contentment, belonging and burning passion. And then, once  they were back to the real world, I was suddenly shaken by doubts, fear, dread and helplessness. The more their connection deepened, the more the sense of foreboding got stronger, with Jay's past threatening everything.

The tension was so thick that I was breathless throughout the book. Alastair and Jay's wonderful connection, the happiness they'd found to almost see it slip through their fingers. I was excited and nervous, I melted with tenderness and I feared. It was brilliant!

This whole book was brilliant, an intense rollercoaster of emotions and I loved it!
Profile Image for Julie.
780 reviews5 followers
June 18, 2021
Incredible love story

Jay is in witness protection and living in London under a new name. It's been ten years since he rebuilt his life and runs a charity for disadvantaged children which he wins an award for and he meets Alastair, police Commissioner, at the awards ceremony.
What develops is a beautiful friendship between these two highly unlikely pair that grows into so much more powerful. The scenery and descriptions are incredible and I felt like I was there with them at times. The love that these men felt was intense and described in such a way that there was never any doubt about it and I thought the intimate moments shared between the two was well written.
There is a lot happening in this book but it’s easy to follow. There is a bit of angst and misunderstandings but it flows smoothly, I especially loved the British humour and the banter between Jay and Al . I just really enjoyed the whole story.
1,232 reviews7 followers
April 9, 2021
Once I started reading The Sheltering Tree by J. R. Lawrie, I couldn't put it down. Alistair is the commissioner of the Metropolitan police of London and loves his job. Jay has a mysterious past and he's keeping a secret from Alistair. The two have a connection the moment they meet. The book is romantic, funny, action-packed, sweet, mysterious and their sexy times are hot and steamy. The characters are likable and the book is easy to read with a great flow to it.
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