Molly Reviews and Interview: Shelter Me by Megan Reddaway (Heven Book 1)

Love and survivalis that too much to ask?

Leo Park is an empath on the run. He’s escaped the secret research facility where he’s been held since he was six years old, but how can he survive without being captured? He has no money, all his ideas come from old movies, and he’s carrying his baby brother, smuggled out in a carton.

Cole Millard lives by his own rules in the Oregon woods, refusing to fear the world war that’s coming closer every day. Now his freedom is threatened by a naive 19-year-old with a baby in tow and a spooky way of knowing what Cole is feeling. But Leo is vulnerable and desperate. What’s a guy to do?

Shelter Me is a dystopian gay romance novel set in a not-too-distant future, with a hot backwoodsman, a desperate fugitive, a six-month-old baby, and the world on the brink of an apocalyptic war.

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This was a fascinating story. I enjoyed Cole and Leo and Jae. Together, Cole and Leo were really good and I enjoyed seeing their relationship progress as the story went on. I liked Ms. Reddaway’s writing style and her voice. I’m hoping she continues this series so we can see more of the world she created and to find out the answers to a few lingering questions at the end of the story.

Leo was so mistreated. He hurt my heart how he was abused and then didn’t have basic knowledge of how his world worked. He was so caring. He just wanted a simple life for himself and Jae. Leo grew so much over the course of the story. He used his empath ability to ensure everyone was safe. It was wonderful to see how his time in The Facility didn’t corrupt him.

Cole was intriguing. He lived off the grid and was wary of the establishment but still managed to know the things going on in the world that are a threat. He fascinated me because he had different aspects to his personality that seemed in contrast at first but really worked for him. Like living off the grid, but having success selling toys throughout the country. I really liked seeing Cole grow to like Jae and care for him in a pseudo fatherly way. His feelings for Leo grew slowly as well but you could tell by the end he wasn’t going to give up on them being together.

The world built here was so interesting. I would love to know more about how the world got to where it is in this book. Plus I’m curious about The Facility and what else is going on there. I so hope there are more books in this series soon. I want to find out what happens to Leo and Cole and see inside this safe haven. I will happily be reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Megan: I don’t. I see other writers saying how they listen to this or that music while they write, and I wish I could too, but for me, music is a distraction. It makes me want to dance round the house or cry at inappropriate moments for the plot.

I tend to get immersed in whatever I’m doing. When I write, I want silence. When I listen to music, I like to be there for it completely and do nothing else. The only thing I will do to music is driving, but even then I’ll turn it off if the route requires all my concentration.
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer?
Megan: I’m a part time fiction writer. My other work involves writing non-fiction website content and site maintenance, so it’s related, but “real” writing for me means fiction writing.
Molly: Do you hope to one day be a full time writer?
Megan: I would love to be a full time fiction writer! I certainly hope to do it someday. I know what I have to do—get more books out there and have more readers find out about them—so it should be just a question of time…
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Megan: I go for 1000 words a day, because I like to have a goal I can always hit. On a good day I will do more.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Megan: When I finish writing something, I will spend at least the same amount of time again on editing and rewriting. Sometimes that takes twice as long as writing the first draft, especially when beta readers are involved. They always have such great ideas for improving a story!

By the time a book is truly finished, I can’t wait to let it go and get started on the next. I always have more plot bunnies than I can handle. They multiply like real bunnies. I guess that’s where the name came from …

Thanks for the welcome and the opportunity to visit your site!

Leo set the bag down and took Jae out of it. Jae’s mind brightened at once, happy to be out. Leo turned around slowly, so Jae could see everything.

“Look, little bro, some of the trees are changing color—the ones that aren’t evergreens. I bet you were never up so close to a tree before. What do you think, shall we explore? You’d like that, wouldn’t you? We’re out free in a real forest, and who knows how much time we have together. We don’t have any special place to go, right?”

Jae waved his arms and said, “Bub-bub-bub.”

“Isn’t it prime? You can see leaves and birds and all kinds of stuff.”

Leo went on, carrying Jae and the bag separately, heading uphill, away from the road. It was good to have no people around, asking questions. He wasn’t used to strangers. But being alone, except for Jae, was weird, too. He caught himself checking for security cameras … in a forest.

He found a thin trickling stream and followed that awhile, then sat beside it and ate two bananas, playing peekaboo with Jae—the regular kind, hiding his face and peeking out. He tried Jae with some squished banana from his own mouth, but Jae spat it out, so Leo gave him more milk from the bottle. He sniffed around Jae’s rear. It didn’t smell, and Jae wasn’t uncomfortable, so the diaper must be okay.

Then he headed back to the highway, or he planned to. He went along the stream, but he couldn’t find the place where he’d come out of the trees.

“I know it’s downhill,” he said to Jae. “We crossed the stream a couple of times, but I think we started out on this side. Hey, here’s a place where someone’s come through. Maybe this was it.”

They went on down, away from the stream, following some kind of path. But it twisted and turned and went back uphill. He figured a path was a path—it must lead somewhere—and he kept on going. Then the way ahead was blocked. Leo stopped.

“The bushes weren’t so thick the way we first came up. I guess maybe we took a wrong turn somewhere?”

He concentrated his mind. If they were close to the road, he should sense people zipping through in their cars. But he only felt the low-level fears and hungers of small animals.

Maybe this was a quiet time for traffic. He waited.

Then he sensed one human. A stealthy, quiet mind, moving slowly, coming closer.


Tracking them.

Leo’s heart pounded. He put Jae in the bag and started to run, crashing through the bushes, one arm over his face for protection against the scratching twigs, the other hugging the bag to his chest.

The hunter came after them, moving faster now, his mind focused, hyped on adrenaline. The guy knew Leo was close, knew he almost had them.

Clumsy with fear, Leo skidded on a patch of dry needles and lost his balance. He twisted so he wouldn’t fall on Jae. His head hit a tree trunk, and pain stabbed at his ankle. Dizzy, he tried to get up and couldn’t.

The hunter came into sight—a bearded, shaggy-haired figure in khaki, half hidden by the pine trunks. A figure carrying a shotgun, pointed right at them. A man whose mind was set on killing.

Leo pushed the bag containing Jae out of range behind a tree. Sorry, little bro, I did the best I could. Maybe you’ll hear about me someday. Then he turned his face away and waited for the bullet.

About Megan:
Megan Reddaway has been entertained by fictional characters acting out their stories in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing them down as soon as she could. Since she grew up, she’s worked as a secretary, driver, waitress, and flower-seller, among other things, but she always has a story bubbling away at the same time.  She lives in England.

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