Book Reviews

Special Delivery (Special Delivery 1) by Heidi Cullinan

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Multiple Partners / BDSM / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 06-December-2017

Book Blurb

When your deepest, darkest fantasy shows up, get on board.

Sam Keller knows he’ll never find the excitement he craves in Middleton, Iowa—not while he’s busting his ass in nursing school and paying rent by slaving away in a pharmacy stockroom. Then Sam meets Mitch Tedsoe, an independent, long-haul trucker who makes a delivery to a shop across the alley. Innocent flirting quickly leads to a fling, and when Mitch offers to take him on a road trip west, Sam jumps at the chance for adventure. Mitch is sexy, funny and friendly, but once they embark on their journey, something changes. One minute he’s the star of Sam’s every x-rated fantasy, the next he’s almost too much a perfect gentleman. And when they hit the Las Vegas city limit, Sam has a name to pin on Mitch’s malady: Randy.

For better or for worse, Sam grapples with the meaning of friendship, letting go, growing up—even the meaning of love—because no matter how far he travels, eventually all roads lead home.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

Second Edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2014.

Book Review

I have read the original version of this story but when the opportunity came to read and review the updated and newly edited version, I was all over it. 'Special Delivery' is a favorite of mine by Heidi Cullinan and I figured this edition could only be better. I'm glad to know I was right. Sam and Mitch were already favorites of mine, and the beautiful new cover shows them off to perfection.

Somehow I had this picture in my head of the type of young man that Sam was before I opened the book. Maybe it was based on the description, or perhaps I just assumed (bad me) that Sam would be the shy, vulnerable twink who hooks up with a slightly older man. Some of that is true. However, there's a whole lot more to Sam than meets the eye. "He wanted to get married. But he wanted hot sex, too. Hot sex. He wanted to try it all, every position, every fetish. Well, not every fetish - a lot of them though. He wanted an orgy, or at least a threesome. All the things about sex his mother had said were bad, all the objectification, all the cold, meaningless encounters - that was what he was after. He didn't know why. He only knew he wanted it." Sam's mother died four years prior, leaving him in the care of an aunt and uncle who weren't exactly pleased to have to care for him. Think Harry Potter's aunt and uncle. When a chance meeting with gorgeous Mitch turns into an opportunity to leave Iowa and his hateful relatives and his lonely life to ride along in Mitch's eighteen-wheeler, I didn't blame Sam for jumping on that. Pun totally intended.

At twenty-one, Sam has no experience with a man like Mitch. Growing up gay in northern Iowa hasn't given him a lot of opportunities to "play" with strong, confident, and sexy men. Even so, Sam wants what Mitch is offering - uninhibited sex with a stranger, making Sam feel deliciously used and dirty. No wonder he jumps in the cab to experience more of that. "He thought of all the shit Delia gave him, of her constant criticisms, and lists of his sins. You want sins, Aunt? I'll show you sinning. I'll make the devil weep, I'll sin so bad." I need to say this right now before anyone reads further in this review. I love Sam, and I'm hoping I'm not showing him in the wrong light, because I think it might be easy to view this story as seedy when in reality it isn't—due to the sensitivity the author maintains to the subject matter. Is Sam a submissive who doesn't really understand that yet? Yes. Does he enjoy a little humiliation with his sex? Yes, sometimes. Has he allowed others to take advantage of his wants and needs because he wants to be loved so desperately? Oh, yes. And that's part of the secret, in my opinion, of Sam. Sam has an innate sweetness and sunniness to his personality and it works as such a foil for Mitch's thirty-three year old grouchy and laconic nature.

To touch on the kink in this story, yes, there is quite a bit of it. Mitch stretches Sam's boundaries often and gives him the opportunity to discover more and more of himself. He also, however, shows Sam that wanting what Sam wants, as long as it's consensual and no one gets hurt, is not wrong and Sam needs to embrace his desires. When Mitch introduces Sam to his best friend, Randy, with whom Mitch has shared many things throughout the years and not always stuff Mitch is proud of, Sam's experiences grow. What's even more amazing, however, is that Sam's sweet, gentle, mischievous, laughing personality helps to repair some old hurts in Randy and Mitch's friendship, and guides them to healing their relationship.

There's a beauty to watching Sam and Mitch's relationship grow. I'm not even sure whether I can really describe it, except to say there were times when Sam was the mature one and others when Mitch was. They both are so vulnerable and tiptoeing in total fear about not ruining this one chance they have been given for love. On that note let me mention Randy. Randy is Mitch's best friend, but they've been more and less than that for many years. Mitch and Randy used to cruise for twinks together while trucking and it gave them a reputation. The fact that it's difficult to get a bead on Randy's personality and his character makes it all the more interesting. The respect and trust that Mitch and Sam develop is very inspirational, particularly with Randy's positive and sometimes negative influence, and throughout the story I just wanted more of everything. I never wanted this story to end. Alas, it was not to be.

I loved the first edition of this story and I love this re-edited edition. I am madly in love with Sam and Mitch, and even fell for Randy by the end of the book. Sam and Mitch are such a good match, evidenced by Sam being able to unnerve Randy a bit which is practically unheard of. This is a love story from beginning to end. It's not, however, your run of the mill love story. It's definitely something different and that's part of the reason I love it so much. Thank you, Heidi, for gifting me with 'Special Delivery' a second wonderful time!





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 306 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 23-May-2017
Price $4.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback,
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