Under the Smoke and Thunder, Love Abroad, by Morgan Mason

Emile is a world traveler with itchy feet. His current goal is to visit his 5th natural wonder of the world Mosi Oa Tunya or the Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe. What’s a busy traveler to do though when life smacks him down and he realizes that maybe he doesn’t want to be a lonely but well traveled man anymore? Under the Smoke and Thunder is the next book in the Love Abroad series.

From the blurb:

Find Love Abroad Under the Waterfalls of Zambia

Untethered, Emile travels the world, moving from country to country and city to city, using his presence on social media to share LGBTQ-friendly locations with his followers. His bucket list of places to visit is never ending. When the next stop on his list has him visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Emile knows he’s in for something extraordinary. Waterfalls, wildlife safaris, and world-class rafting, however, pale in comparison to the blushing smile of his captivating host.

Thato uses his talent for languages to help the guests at his small hostel. Travelers come from far and wide to see Victoria Falls, but the only places Thato has seen are the orphanage where he was raised and the tourist town he calls home. He longs for adventure and love, but neither will happen, stuck as he is by his circumstances. Charmed by a new guest and the formation of their quick friendship, Thato can’t help wondering if he's finally found someone with whom he can be his true self.

But what will happen when Emile inevitably moves on?

Can a man on the move find a reason to stay? Can a man who’s been stuck find the motivation to leave?

Under the Smoke and Thunder is a 41k word MM romance that features hurt/comfort, opposites attract, shy smiles, and the wonder of finding love in unexpected places.

Lori C's Review:

Emile makes it to Livingstone and his hostel Jollyboys and meets the lovely Thato after over 24 hours of travel. He is worn out and grateful for Thato’s kindness as he directs him around the hostel. Emile begins his vacation seeing sights like the Victoria Falls and building a friendship with Thato. They talk about African drumming, visiting the local orphanage, and all kinds of things. When Emile’s rafting trip goes horribly wrong, it is Thato that helps him recover. What will happen when it is time for Emile to go back to Johannesburg? Will Thato be brave enough to voice his growing feelings for Emile? 

This is my first time reading a Morgan Mason book. I have to say I was quite intrigued to start this book after reading Jax Stuart’s Under A Greek Twilight. I find books that are part of an interconnected series and yet not connected by characters or storyline are very fun to read. This Love Abroad series is quite interesting to me as a reader because of the travel aspect, but also most of these are new authors to me. Morgan Mason has written quite a sweet romance featuring two strangers finding love in the most unexpected of places. I found that the author was able to draw me in with her descriptions of Africa, of Victoria Falls, and the local markets. My favorite parts of Emile and Thato’s story were towards the end of the book and the epilogue. I don’t want to give too much away here, so I’ll say that the author has a very romantic streak that is lovely to read. I will always be a lover of epilogues and happily ever afters. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Heather's Review:

Under the Smoke and Thunder is another really interesting departure from my usual reads - pairing the worldly Emile with Thato, a man who has only experienced his own small corner of the world, and never even really seen the wonders around him that the tourists embrace.  

The romance builds slowly and thoughtfully and gives us a sweet vacation flirtation until a crisis occurs and they get the chance to further develop their relationship.  I appreciated the world building and stunning vistas, along with the sweet and awkward start to the relationship.  I also loved the epilogue and the family building!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Under the Smoke and Thunder is available to buy as an ebook or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.