Good morning, everyone! Today is Release Day for the newest story from Andrew Grey!!! Want to know what a $20 bill, Mr. Grey, and romance inspiration all have in common?
Below you will find not only the answer to that question but a 5 Drops Review, and an excerpt. Don’t forget to leave Andrew some love (also known as comments, lol) below, and go grab yourself a copy!
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Title: The Fight Within
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Series: Good Fight, #2
Release Date: March 4th 2013
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Western, Romance
Length: 206 pages
Source: Author in exchange for honest review
Buy: Dreamspinner | ARe | Rainbow eBooks
Bryce Morton needs a change of scenery. Since his partner’s death a year ago, he’s become withdrawn and quiet, so his friends, Jerry Lincoln and Akecheta (John) Black Raven, convince him to go camping with them on a Sioux reservation. Though he’s not immediately sure he’s done the right thing, Bryce becomes more interested when he meets Paytah, the man who owns the reservation’s trading post.
Paytah Stillwater’s life is filled with hurt, and sometimes the only thing he has left is pride. After being abused as a child and disbelieved when he spoke up, he has withdrawn into himself—but he can never truly put his past behind him, because the source of his pain still lives on the reservation. Paytah is proud of his heritage and careful with his heart, but when Bryce commits a selfless act of kindness for one of the reservation’s children, the walls around Paytah’s heart begin to melt.
Bryce and Paytah each fight the pain within them. When Paytah’s abuser sets his sights on one of the reservation youngsters, Bryce and Paytah must set their individual fights aside. Finding a way to stop the abuser unites them to fight their way forward—together.
The character of Paytah was inspired in an extremely unusual way. I was watching a documentary on Andrew Jackson and one of the guests was a Native American who explained how many tribes still hated Andrew Jackson to the point where they refuse to accept twenty dollar bills because Andrew Jackson’s portrait is on them. That single comment got me thinking and the character of Paytah took shape. He runs the trading post/general store on the reservation. He wraps himself in his pride because it’s all he has left and that pride manifests itself in a number of ways, one of them being a distrust of white people and the other is a refusal to accept twenty dollar bills. That single character trait may seem like a strange way to build a character, but it worked and Paytah is one of my favorites.
I’m often asked which of my characters I would like to meet and I think Paytah would be one of them. It would probably be a quiet afternoon because Paytah isn’t much of a talker, but he’d be fascinating and an amazing guide through his people’s land and culture. I would love to be able to meet him on the reservation, standing tall, looking out over the land, with Bryce at his side, eyes shining like the sun.
The Fight Within starts with a look back at how Bryce lost his partner and the flash-forwards to now. You will need a box of Kleenex nearby! This story had me at page one and didn’t quit for days after I read the last word. The Fight Within is a gripping journey of loss, love, learning to both let go of the past and stand up for yourself in the now and future.
Paytah is such a multifaceted character that I truly wish I could go meet him in RL! His emotions run deep, his heart is huge but has been so abused that he can’t let anyone near for fear that his past will destroy him.
Bryce is a moody sweetie, but then loosing your partner seems like a good reason for the attitude to me. But after being bullied by Jerry Lincoln and Akecheta (John) Black Raven’s kids (their story is in The Good Fight) into going on a road trip to the reservation John’s family lives on, his heart and world are rocked and spun on end.
What do you get when you mix two proud men, a past of abuse and pain, and a love that won’t be denied—no matter how many insults or miles lay in the way? A world rich in textures; characters so vibrant you laugh, cry, and swoon with them; and a story that not only touches you deeply, but is one that truly needs to be told.
I can not say enough good about Andrew Grey’s The Fight Within! In my opinion this is Mr. Grey’s best story to date. It touched me deeply and will be one I read again and again both for it’s love and for it’s power. There will be a 3rd in this series, The Fight for Identity, in May. . . I can’t wait!
“Dang,” Jerry said from next to him, turning toward John. “I forgot to pick up hot dog buns for the campout.”
“I can run to the trading post in a few minutes,” John said, tapping Jerry’s hand. “They’ll probably have some, and if not, I brought a loaf of bread.” Both Mato and Ichante groaned together. Obviously eating hot dogs on bread was not popular.
Bryce pushed back his chair. “I’ll go in to pick them up if someone can give me directions,” he offered. He was anxious to get away for a little while.
“I can go,” John said, but Bryce was already asking for the keys, and Jerry handed them to him.
“Turn right out of the driveway and go to the end of the road. Turn left, and just before you reach the reservation center, the trading post is on the left,” Jerry told him, and John pressed some bills into his hand. Bryce tried to give them back, but a stern look from his friend stopped him.
“I’ll be back soon,” Bryce said, shoving the bills into his pocket. He heard the kids ask to come with him, but Jerry quietly hushed them as Bryce left the house. He walked to the van and climbed into the driver’s seat.
The directions Jerry had given him were easy to follow, and soon he was parked in front of what looked like a small, rustic grocery store. There was no one else in the lot, which Bryce thought a bit strange, but he slammed the van door, then walked to the front door and pulled it open.
Inside, the first thing he noticed was a complete lack of air-conditioning, though a number of ceiling fans stirred the air. Bryce looked around and realized this was much more than just a grocery store. It also appeared to act as post office, lending library, tackle and bait shop, as well as hardware store. And judging by the scent, a bakery.
The man behind the counter with long black hair and a stern expression that made him initially appear much older looked up from the magazine he was reading and met Bryce’s gaze. Bryce shivered in response. Never in his life had he seen such a hard look from a complete stranger. “Afternoon,” Bryce said, his mouth a little dry.
The man nodded but said nothing. However, his gaze never left Bryce. Figuring the best course of action was to get what he needed and get out, Bryce walked up and down the aisles, picking up hot dog buns, a case of the soda he liked, and some fruit snacks for the kids. He also couldn’t help following his nose to the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts he’d been smelling since he entered. “What do you want?” the man said, the look in his eyes not softening one bit. “You some tourist here to see the injuns?” he asked mockingly.
“No. I’m a guest of the Black Ravens,” Bryce said, and the man’s look softened slightly. “I’m also helping to teach computer classes this weekend at the community center.” Bryce forced a smile, because, after all, there was no need to meet rudeness with rudeness. He placed his purchases on the counter. “I’d also like a dozen of the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts.”
The man got out a bag and counted out twelve doughnuts for him before ringing everything up. “That’ll be $19.90,” he said.
Bryce pulled out his wallet and handed the man a twenty. He didn’t make any move to take it, and Bryce moved the bill closer. “Is something wrong?” Bryce asked, looking at the bill to make sure it was okay.
“We don’t take those here,” the man said.
“Take what?” Bryce asked in complete confusion.
“Bills with the Indian Hater on them. If you don’t have something else, you can go.” He actually sat down, so Bryce fished around in his wallet, but all he had were twenties. Then he remembered the money John had given him and pulled two tens from his pocket and placed them on the counter.
“Is that better?” Bryce asked, and the man took the bills and handed Bryce a dime without touching his hand. He bagged up the groceries and gave them to Bryce without a word. Then he sat back down and started reading his magazine again.
“You’re welcome,” Bryce said, turning away from the counter, as pissed off as he could ever remember being.
Bryce carried his purchases out of the store. As he opened the door, he turned back to the man and saw him staring at him. Bryce met his gaze as sort of a challenge, and then stepped outside. After placing the bag on the seat, Bryce retraced his route and drove back to Kiya’s. Leaving the bag in the van for later, he went inside. It appeared that no one had moved in the time he’d been gone. Though more food had been devoured, the din of overlapping conversations hadn’t lessened one bit.
“How did it go?” Jerry asked, and Bryce shrugged and rolled his eyes.
“You met Paytah Stillwater, didn’t you?” John asked.
“If you mean the surliest, crankiest person on earth, then yeah,” Bryce said sitting back down. “He made me pay with tens,” Bryce said.
“That’s why I gave them to you,” John said as he shifted his gaze to his mother.
“There are many in the Native American communities who hate Andrew Jackson. They consider him the devil and a killer of our people. He stole land from native groups, including the ones that had helped him win his famous battles, and he was also responsible for the Trail of Tears, so many of our people avoid using twenty-dollar bills. The ATMs on the reservation generally only dispense tens.”
“I didn’t know. He looked at me like I’d killed his relatives,” Bryce said, still a bit shaken up.
Kiya shook her head. “Paytah is a different sort of man. He’s fiercely protective of our heritage and he tends to be a little militant about it.”
ANDREW GREY grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.