Today I am very excited to share with you guys an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish and glowing reviews from our very own Annie L and Kirk W.
About The Remaking of Corbin Wale
Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.
Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.
When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.
Corbin had wanted to stay crouched behind the counter out of sight until Mac left, but a timer went off in the kitchen, so he stumbled to his feet, pan in hand. Mac’s frown fell on him, and he felt insects under his skin.
“Wale. Do you work here, now?”
Corbin watched as Mac’s outlines shifted at the sight of him. Anger, disgust, revulsion. He hates you.
Corbin shuffled past him and made for the kitchen, the beep of the timer like a friendly voice calling him home. He slid the almond torte out of the oven to cool and waited for Alex to come tell him what to do next.
Just the thought of Alex telling him what to do calmed Corbin.
But his calm evaporated when he saw that Mac was still talking to Alex. Because he knew what Mac would be saying. He would confide in him—from one business owner to another. He would warn him about Corbin. He would tell Alex that Corbin was untrustworthy, a space cadet. A freak.
Sometimes you can call his name for a full minute without him hearing you. Sometimes he doesn’t show up to work at all. And then there’s the way bad things follow him everywhere he goes. Mrs. Edelman’s freezer exploded. Mr. Sakaturi’s shop got broken into. My car caught on fire after he unloaded it. Everyone knows he ruins whatever he touches, so look out.
When Alex walked into the kitchen, Corbin looked up to see that he’d poured two dozen zucchini muffins and sprinkled the tops with pepitas and brown sugar without noticing.
For the next few minutes, Alex worked and Corbin writhed. The world had narrowed to a tunnel. At one end of it was the warmth and comfort of Alex and his kitchen, and at the other end was Corbin and the life he’d had before. He could try to pick his way through the tunnel, but it was long and sloped uphill. Or he could turn away and settle in with what he already had.
He was so tired.
“I should go,” Corbin said finally, as the first tendrils of vanilla and cinnamon snaked to his nose from the muffins in the oven.
Alex glanced at the clock and frowned. “Do you feel okay? You’ve got two hours left on your shift.”
Corbin’s mouth was dry, and he swallowed convulsively. Whatever magic it was that saw, in the bland woodiness of raw zucchini, the potential for the melting sweetness of zucchini muffins, that was the magic Corbin needed.
“No, I feel okay. But I can imagine what Mac said. I thought you wouldn’t want me to work here anymore.”
Alex frowned, and Corbin looked at his shoes.
“What did you imagine he said?”
Corbin longed to have Wolf at his side. He always felt steadier when he could lean into Wolf’s warm fur. “That I’m a freak. A weirdo. A jinx. That I ruin things. Break things. That I’m bad luck to have around, and you don’t need any bad luck.”
Then Alex was right there, closer than he usually came. Corbin shrank away like he always did. The last thing he wanted was to touch Alex’s bare skin and risk tainting him. Risk somehow allowing the curse to rub off on him. But where Alex usually pulled back too, as if he could sense that Corbin was dangerous, this time he took Corbin’s shoulders in his hands.
“I don’t care what Mac says. I don’t care much what most people say. You’re enjoying working here, aren’t you?”
It was difficult to think with Alex touching him, like all the places they touched throbbed with awareness.
“It’s the best thing in my life,” Corbin said, scattered and abstract, and watched the fierceness in Alex’s eyes fall away and his mouth soften.
Then Alex pulled him against his broad chest—slowly, so there was time to get away. But Corbin didn’t want to get away. He wanted to be enfolded, consumed, engulfed. He wanted to be held at the eye of the storm, and let the world rage around him.
In Alex’s arms, time was measured in breaths and distance in the wrinkles of the clothing between them. Though he was held firmly, his breath felt deeper, like his lungs could expand up to his throat and down to his stomach, filling him with all the air he’d need to stay there forever. In Alex’s arms, nothing else could touch him.
What if I could have this. What if this were possible. What if I could keep him.
I absolutely love Roan Parrish and this book embodies exactly why. She writes the most incredible characters, and writes them so well, bringing them to life with her talent for beautiful writing.
The story is broken up into four parts, with Alex and Corbin alternating POV for each part. This was perfect, as it allowed me to fully immerse myself in the character driving the story at the time, unlike dual POV books that switch in the middle of or between chapters. I really appreciated this structure. The prose, as to be expected from this author, is absolutely beautiful. Roan has such an amazing way with words, and each sentence needs to be savored. I absolutely adored the way she wrote Corbin’s character. Roan’s use of words and grammar and imagery, even down to the punctuation of his dialogue, makes him jump off the page, no matter whose POV we’re reading.
This book is a special sort of romance. It is very slow burn, but the way it’s written it didn’t feel as if I was waiting for the romance to commence. This book is incredibly romantic even at the beginning. The connection between Alex and Corbin was inevitable from page one. Alex is immediately drawn to Corbin, and falls in love with him slowly over about 2/3 of the book, but there’s no UST, no waiting, no angst. They aren’t officially together, but in every word and action, they feel together. Corbin’s desperation to rid himself of his family curse so that he can allow himself to fall for Alex was incredibly poignant and I could feel the strength of his emotions in my bones.
The secondary characters are amazing. I loved Alex’s friend Gareth, and his story, at least the bits we see through Alex’s eyes, is compelling. I was fully invested in him, and the author gave him such a complete background and story arc even though he isn’t a main character here. It felt as if she might be building up to a book for him, and if so, I can’t wait. As far as other characters go, I was awed by the way Roan made Corbin’s imaginary friends and his canine companions come to life. These characters bolstered so much of Corbin’s story for me. He’s incredibly lonely, thinks he’s fated to be lonely for the rest of his life, though he found a way to be his own best friends, and he has such an amazing connection with Wolf and Stick and the other dogs that flock to him. It just added to the magic of the story.
I’m really stingy with my five-star reviews; they only go to books that linger with me afterward, and this book did just that. It kept me awake for a while, thinking back on the magic of the characters and the quiet simplicity of the plot. The Remaking of Corbin Wale is incredibly beautiful and easily a favorite of the year for me.
A copy of this book was received through NetGalley for review on OMGReads.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Honestly? I’m not sure where to start with this review. I’ve got so many feelings about this book and each and every one of them is good. This is a book quite unlike any romance I’ve read before and the one word that springs to mind is magical. It is a magical story packed with fairy dust.
It invoked a state of mind that was like watching a favourite movie with a hot chocolate on a rainy day or hearing the uncontrolled giggles of a child. It just gave me an inner glow and a warmth that made me smile.
The relationship that grew between Corbin and Alex was a wonder to behold; it was so innocent in its conception. Alex, coming back home to Michigan to start afresh, taking over his parents business and Corbin, the town loner, with just his animals for company and who most of the town thinks is a freak. But with Alex’s slow coaxing, Corbin starts to open up and they begin to bond over food and cooking and their love of dogs. He was so very patient but it was worth the wait, just to get one of those innocent but glorious smiles from Corbin. Corbin is still holding back though and is reticent to go any further with Alex due to long held beliefs; can they overcome this and move forward? You need to read this book to find out.
“Because love doesn’t live in kisses and flowers and first dates. It lives in your mind, in your heart…”
I swear I could almost smell the bread baking and the fragrant whispers of sugar and vanilla in the air as I was reading it, it was so evocative. I adored all the mentions of cakes and pastries, it was just heavenly and I think I’d love to go sit and watch the world go by in Alex’s bakery, with one of his beautiful pastries and a steaming mug of coffee, just as Corbin does. I love Roan’s writing, she has this knack of making you feel, see and smell what the characters do, almost casting a spell over you so you’re suspended in the story. This book was part fairy tale for me and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. I urge you to go on this spell-binding journey with Corbin and Alex and the supporting cast. I promise, you’ll not be disappointed.
Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMG Reads.
View all my reviews
About the 2017 Holiday Charity Collection
20% of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of the proceeds from this year’s collection will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
The Russian LGBT network was founded in April 2006. It is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal services.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: https://lgbtnet.org/en.
This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories:
- Cecilia Tan, Watch Point
- Roan Parrish, The Remaking of Corbin Wale
- Katie Porter, Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Buy all three in the collection and save!
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.
Connect with Roan:
To celebrate the release of The Remaking of Corbin Wale, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!