4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book Contemporary Fade to black/No Steam Gay Geek/Jock Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Purchased Sports Sports

After the Scrum by Dahlia Donovan


Caddock ‘The Brute’ Stanford lost his brother and rugby career within the same year. The once man-about-town is now a has-been and guardian to his young nephew. Not sure where life will go after the scrum, he decides to purchase a pub in the Cornwall village of Looe. He never expects to fall in lust—and then love.

Francis Keen hides his crippling anxiety behind his eccentric habits, lush interior design, and beloved dog, Sherlock. Alone by choice after an attack in college left him emotionally scarred, he lives by the sea with his gran, resigned to working small jobs for local businesses. Revamping the pub for the new owner is right up his alley—especially when he realizes who the owner is.

Two men, so different, on track for a romantic collision. Can they survive the impact?


This is a super sweet, very British, shortish story about two guys who shouldn’t have fit together but do.

Caddock is an ex professional rugby player who now has sole custody of his little nephew after both his parents have died. He has just lost his ability to play rugby due to an injury and is forced into early retirement.

With the money he’s made he decides to open a pub in a small town on the shore, Looe. There he meets Francis, an interior designer with social anxiety after a brutal attack in London.

The two have an instant connection but dance around things briefly and let the tension mount but they can’t avoid it forever.

Caddock’s nephew is wonderful but ends up causing some troubles as his grandparents don’t think a gay man should be raising him.

Eventually, everything works out quite nicely and we get a very, very heart warming HEA.


This is a new to me author, but I will absolutely be looking for more in the future. The smexy times are fairly low steam, but the emotion is very sweet and the dialog witty.

I enjoyed the ending the best – so sweet! – and highly recommend this.

4.5 of 5 stars


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