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Summary

An eye-opening exploration of small-town life and adversity through an LGBT lens, best-selling author, Lydia Michaels, delivers a masterpiece of emotion in an unforgettable male-male romance that all listeners will love.

When Luke McCullough’s athletic potential is diminished by a field injury, his pride pays the price. Returning to his small town a broken man, the long road to recovery seems dreary and overshadowed by lost opportunities until he meets Tristan Hughes.

Tristan came to Center County to escape his past and start anew, but nothing prepared him for Luke. Intrigued, Tristan cautiously gets to know this formidable man and falls head over heels for the vulnerable soul hiding behind all that muscled intensity and drive.

Luke has never been interested in men. When he can’t get Tristan out of his head, he fights the inevitable. Stolen glances lead to heated encounters, followed by punishing regret, but Luke’s inability to face the truth of who he really is could cost him the only happiness he’s ever known.

Best-selling author, Lydia Michaels, has created an unforgettable family saga bursting with sizzling secrets and scandalous moments in this award-winning series, McCullough Mountain, where each story can be listened to as a stand-alone!

©2015 Lydia Michaels (P)2022 Lydia Michaels Books

What listeners say about Broken Man

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

For me it was the first book by the author Lydia Michaels. It is the 5th volume in a series, but it is the first book with MM main protagonist. It's good to read as a standalone or listen to.
The story started out pretty well. Luke and Tristan are torn on the one hand, and confused about their coming out on the other. It's not always easy in love and not everyone is perfect. You also make bad decisions in your life sometimes. But the more I listened to the story, the less Luke could convince me.
But overall, the book entertained me well.
This was also due to David Allen Vargo, who delivered a great narration. I could always tell the difference between the various characters and he has a pleasant pace of narration.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Time To Face The Truth.

MM, Sexual Awakening, Contemporary, Romance. Book five in the series and the only MM themed book in the series. The story covers some difficult themes i.e. homophobia and has some dramatic and angsty emotional moments. A book with depth and lots of detail, although part of a series it can be read as a stand-alone with no loss of enjoyment or understanding. An eventual HEA.

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Acceptance!

It’s a very angsty story, with lovely scenes as well as frustrating ones. Luke is straight until he meets Tristan. It’s a close proximity kind of thing but then Luke is not sure. Tristan hangs on to his values and love, but his mate doesn’t make it any easier. They go through heartache to finally be, to feel free to love each other. I enjoyed the book and the narration.

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Heart wrenching

Whew! This was a much tougher listen than I expected it to be. Not from the quality of the writing or,the performance, both were superb but for the depth of the pain these men had to go through. Considering the time period this is set and the small town it is totally believable that these characters would encounter the responses from outside and feel the internal conflicts they experienced. Not an easy listen but an amazing one if you want to be taken inside the lives of characters and feel everything they feel.

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Angst and drama for days. Get your tissues

Story = 4.5 stars
Narration = 5 stars

By the middle point I was sure I was just going to rate this 3 stars. I didn't particularly like either of the MCs and their behaviors and the angst was getting to me. Then all of a sudden the drama hit and it just put everything into perspective and the ending was just so perfect that I had to give it the rating I did. Even though the characters weren't perfect the plot def succeeded in keeping me on the edge of my seat and reading this story in one read in order to find out what happened next. This story was tragic and heartwrenching but had a great ending.

The story was well written and the author did a great job tackling such a hard topic. I have never read this author before but I would again if they wrote more M4M.
The book did have great world building and it definitely got my intrigued about the other brothers but not enough to make me want to go back to reading m/f.

The narrator did a fantastic job. His reading voice was pleasant. He expressed the emotions really well and brought the story to life. He added special affects when the MC was thinking and even sang a line. He gave each character a voice that was both distinct and suiting of them. It was a wonderful listening experience.

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Great

A great story by Lydia Michaels. Luke and Tristan where fantastic characters to follow on their journey. Got very invested into them and the family. David Allen Vargo did a super job bringing the characters to life.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

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A good book

I’ll quickly start with what I didn’t like. Mainly the way Luke treated Tristan. And his ‘attempts’ to put Tristan out of his mind. Which also leads to the treatment of women in the story – pretty disrespectful at times. Finally, there’s a violent scene that caught me off guard. I supposed the groundwork was laid, but I wasn’t prepared, and it hit me hard. Just offering a warning.

Okay, what I did like. Gay for You stories always intrigue me. How a guy can not be interested in men until he meets a man who captures his attention and suddenly he’s fixated on that man. And he’s not sure how it’s all supposed to work, but he’s willing to try. What I enjoy less is when that guy turns into a jerk. I didn’t always like Luke in the story, and Tristan came off as much more sympathetic.

Now, this story takes place over many years – and how the men thought they were fooling everyone was beyond me. McCullough Mountain is a series and, if I had to guess, Luke and Tristan’s love story has been in the backdrop of all the books that’ve come before – and those love stories intrigued me. Enough I might go back and check out the entire series. This book is a stand-alone, but I think it would’ve been richer had I had the entire context.

Still, a book I can recommend. David Allen Vargo was a good narrator and I’ll definitely listen to more stories narrated by him.

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Broken Man

Broken Man is the 5th book in a series of MF books written by Lydia Michaels but is the first MM in the series. I haven’t read any of the previous books and found I was able to listen to this as a stand-alone quite easily.
The family saga is quite dated now as it was written about 8-10 years ago but with that in mind I still found the story engaging. It might have been improved with some up to date editing though.
I have come across the narrator David Allen Vargo once before and was very impressed with his narration skills and once again he was excellent. I would love to hear much more from him in the MM genre.

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new to me author

this author is new to me. I enjoyed the story. I'm intrigued and may grab the rest of the series to listen to.

I grabbed this audio as I enjoy the narrator and received a code for my honest thoughts and opinions.

I did find some places just dragged as they didn't really move the story forward. Tristan was a character that I liked but also wanted to slap across the head for the way he allowed himself to be treated. everyone has their own story about coming out but Luke ....ugh I just wanted to see someone just call him out on his behavior. overall a good listen and like I said before I would listen to the other books in this series since I do mm and mf books

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New to me, author.

I'm not sure where to start on this audiobook, the story started well, and the narration was great, but then during the character development and the story started to get more involved, I fell out with the main character Luke. Keeping his boyfriend quiet for 6/7 years even though you knew the family would be good.

Tristan and Sheila's relationship was also weird for me, pretty unhealthy. But apart from that, I did enjoy the book and finished it. I read the book as a stand-alone.

David Allen Vargo did an excellent job as usual of the audio, and he was clear, precise, and easy to listen to. However, I did speed him up to 1.50 on audible, which is usual for me.


Broken Man
McCullough Mountain, Book 5
By: Lydia Michaels
Narrated by: David Allen Vargo
Series: McCullough Mountain, Book 5
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins

❤❤❤❤ Overall
🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration
📚📚📚📚 Story
Read at 1.50 speed on Audible

I received this audiobook for free from GRR at my request. My review is my opinion and an honest review - neither the author nor GRR influenced my opinion.

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  • Sharon
  • 10-05-22

Pick this up, you won't be disappointed!!!

This audio book was by a 'new to me' author, Lydia Michaels and a 'new to me' narrator, David Allen Vargo. This is book 5 in the series of 8 books, called McCullough Mountain. Broken Man is the only M/M book in an otherwise M/F series.

When I looked up the author, I noticed that there were no other M/M books written by her, at least none that I found. I was a bit leary after that discovery but boy was I surprised at what a great job she did. All I can say is wow!!! I will definitely read any other M/M books written by Lydia.

The narration was spot on with unique voices for the characters. I especially liked when the thought was in the characters head and the voice sounded like it was in an echo chamber... There was no mistaking that it was a thought and not spoken words.

Luke, former college football star with career ending injury, straight maybe not so straight, home town boy.

Tristan, college graduate, friend/former roommate to Luke's cousin. Tristan left his Texas home, after his father gave him a beating after being found with his high school sweetheart.

This relationship formed by these two men was both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. This book contains all the feels. I cried ugly tears with this one, but don't despair there is a hard won HEA.

Something I found interesting is this series came out in 2015 but wasn't released in audio format until May 2022. I'd like to think that in the last 7 years that people's views of the LGBTQ+ community have changed and that we, as a society, are more accepting of people that are different from ourselves but I'm not so sure we are that enlightened. I think this book and the events within it are just as relevant today as they were 7 years ago. Love is love!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Frank Benns
  • 09-05-22

Not a fantasy of M/M Romance....This is REAL!

So I had to do some research on this author about half way through the book. Although she is a prolific and award winning author, M/M Romance is not her focus. In fact, it didn't appear to me that she had any other M/M romances in her arsenal. So it was surprising, to say the least, that she even attempted it and even more surprising that she has such a firm handle on it. I kept thinking as I was reading, "Someone close to her must be gay. There's just no other way she could tap into the gay mindset so well." Here's what I loved about this book: It was real. Not a fantasy of M/M Romance. These were real people in real-life situations. Not a made-up phony idealized world that simply doesn't exist - which happens in a lot of gay romance novels. This is Book 5 of an 8-part family saga, and this one focuses on the gay son (a serious athlete and full-fledged hunk) and his struggles to understand who and what he is in a world he fears will reject him. I don't want to give anything away, because the story is too rich for me to try and retell. I think it's well worth listening to. It's perfectly fine as a standalone, but now I'm kind of interested in the other books in the saga too. The McCullough family really grew on me. I actually liked these people, cheered for them, cried with them, laughed loudly at them (some of them are crazy fun). They're solid people with good hearts and that's all I'll give away. The narrator, David Allen Vargo, gives a tour-de-force performance with his many character voices, smooth and clear diction, and great acting. He's very easy on the ear. I could listen to him all day. A fine book and a fine performance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • PATRICIA
  • 25-06-22

Amazing story

McCullough Mountain is the new small town I want to visit! This is the 5th book in this phenomenal series and features Luke. He has come home to the mountain after a devastating, career ending injury that no longer allows him to continue to play football. Now a little lost, trying to get used to his new normal, he is find his way through each woman in town. Tristan was rejected by his family when he came out, and has now settled on the mountain. Taken into the McCullough family, he has an attraction to Luke and when they share a kiss, Luke's world is turned upside down. He is not interested in men, so why is taken with Tristan? The best way is to ignore it, right? But when that doesn't happen, the biggest secret that extends for years is created. What will come of their relationship? Will it stand the test of time? Michaels brings in all the siblings, some we have heard their story, others we are looking forward to. Some are coinciding and it makes the family interactions fun and exciting. This story is full of emotion, turmoil and love. It is frustrating and passionate and drove all of my emotions to the brink and back. Grab this series, it's is one that should not be missed.

David Allen Vargo tells this story with all of the emotions, bringing it to life. Luke is stubborn and confused, and Vargo tunes into his psyche, creating a voice that is realistic. Tristan is much more comfortable in who he is, but carries a hurt that is felt with each inflection Vargo uses. The effects used make the inner voices believable and feels like we are there with the characters. It's a fantastic listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lady M
  • 12-06-22

loved this story

I read the book first, and it's such a heartbreaking story. it's so well done, spanning over the course of the whole series, overlapping scenes, which I enjoyed. the narration was good. I don't care for his female voices as much as some other male narrators. but since this was a MM story, it wasn't a factor as much. his mrs McCullough made her sound older than I pictured her being. not sure how I feel about the sound effects either. some will like it, but for me sometimes it felt a bit distracting.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Leah Brock
  • 12-06-22

Luke and Tristan Get a Well-Won Happy Ending

I, like most readers, love M/M romance, fully cognizant of the idealized depiction of a perfectly inclusive environment for its LGBTQ+ characters. A world where all men, women, and other-gendered persons are comfortable with their sexuality and have no worry about others not agreoing with how they’ve decided to live. ‘Broken Man’ tells an equally important story–one of internalized homophobia, homophobic violence, and toxic masculinity–along with the HEA of a romance novel.

Gritty and realistic, ‘Broken Man’ tells the story of a hard-fought happy ending between Luke and Tristan. Luke has such insecurity and low self-esteem that he is incapable of giving Tristan what he’s dreamed of his whole life–an open relationship with the man he loves. It takes several years and a near tragedy for Luke to finally vocalize his love for Tristan. There’s plenty of angst throughout the book, but ends on a satisfying note.

I’ve listened to a few David Allen Vargo narrations in the past. In ‘Broken Man’ some of his voices seem a bit strained, but overall his performance conveys the emotional nature of Michaels’ story well.

This review is posted voluntarily after receipt of a requested ARC.

Recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie D (Audio and Book Jewels)
  • 08-06-22

What a sad world we live in…

This book hit me. My children have a friend who was raised in the church, who came out after he graduated college and had been, basically disowned by his family… he felt like until then, he couldn’t be himself. The McCullough family is an amazing group… and Luke fights the battle in himself because he has difficulty with who he is.

I love the way Lydia Michael’s write this. Love how this family loves regardless.. and how accepting they are. It’s not a genre I would always choose to read, but it’s so well done and full of… well real… that I couldn’t stop listening.

David Allen Vargo did a great job with the narration.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pedsrn1988
  • 01-06-22

Profound and Emotional

I found myself angry, heartbroken and emotional for Luke & Tristan.The hidden love from the world was necessary to protect themselves from the cruelty in the world. Tristan accepted being gay from a young boy. For Luke it was some never allowed himself to think about. He had a reputation as a womanizer, so the thought of being gay he could not admit to himself. The obstacles and opinions of others forced them to hide their love.
Narrator David Allen Vargo brought so much depth, compassion, and expressiveness warranted to cherish this storyline and characters. I adored this book and highly recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bette
  • 30-05-22

Exceptional Story & Listen🎧 Riveting & Heartfelt!

Lydia Michaels penned another winner of a novel, one that not only captivated my attention the entire time, but tugged on my heartstrings as well. I am loving this series, the characters are realistic, easy to relate to and connect with, a family that deals with everyday issues like we all do. Each book is written to stand on its own, each one features a different McCullough, they crossover in each other’s book and seeing them again is like seeing an old friend. The timelines may overlap and run concurrently, so you will see some events that may have already occurred in one of the other books, like a brief glimpse in time and from another person's point of view. The writing is fantastic and there are many layers to each story. This book is Luke McCullough’s story, his dream of making it big in pro football came crashing down when an injury left him unable to play again. He came home with is tail between his legs and a chip on his shoulder, he never wanted the small town life or to work for the family business. But his life takes an unexpected turn when a newcomer arrives in town and starts working for his family business. Tristan Hughes’ family broke his heart when they could not accept him for who he was and he needed to get as far from them as he could. After landing in Center County, he found a job with the McCulloughs. He and Luke hit it off right from the start and it did not take long for Tristan to make a move on Luke, but Luke is a straight man, has never been with or even looked at another guy. He does not know what to make of it even after he realized he enjoyed kissing Tristan. Afterwards, Luke is confused and winds up going on a bender, not a drinking bender but a womanizing bender. Tristan has always been into boys and has accepted that and he understands Luke is not there and may never get there. Is he gay, is he bisexual or is it just a “gay for you” type of relationship? Either way, he is not ready to come out to his family, he is also not ready to give Tristen up. The author makes these two work for their love and understanding, she puts their hearts through the wringer and the reader’s hearts too. Other challenges and obstacles come in their way, some close to home, another from a coworker and his hater’s cohorts. The emotions pour off the pages of this beautifully plotted story and straight into your heart. There is plenty of drama, some angst, heartfelt emotions, and some hot loving. I loved how supportive and accepting the McCullough’s are, also love the camaraderie amongst the family members, their Mom is a hoot too. Lydia Michaels, thank you for another wonderful story and emotional rollercoaster ride.

🎧 📚🎧 And for the fabulous narration, David Allen Vargo is an entertaining storyteller and a versatile voice artist. This is only my second book of his and I am looking forward to listening to more of his book. His talent knows no bounds, he does an amazing job bringing the characters to life, humanizing them with their emotions and their personality. He has a complete understanding of the characters he portrays, gives each a voice that is a perfect fit for that character and sounds believable in every role he plays. He sets the perfect tone for the story, captures all the character’s emotions and has you feeling every single one. Thank you for another amazing listen and for enhancing this exceptional story to another level.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • greyblu
  • 28-05-22

Rollercoaster of emotions for this story

This story put me through so many emotions. I listened to the audiobook and had not read or listened to any of the stories in the series. It works as a standalone, but there are many family members and friends in the story that are talked about. By the end of the book, I think I had the connections straight. This story is about Luke McCullough and Tristan Hughes,

The story and characters had so much depth that you couldn't help but feel for what they had gone through. Luke had always been attracted to females. He meets Tristan and tries to fight what he is feeling, but then eventually gives into the inevitable. Luke is so torn about his feelings towards Tristan that he doesn't want anyone to know that they are together, including his family. He feels ashamed and will only be with Tristan in private.

Tristan has always been gay. Just for being gay, Tristan was horrendously beaten by his own father while his mother looked the other way from this abuse. Tristan is understandably upset that Luke wants to hide their relationship, but would rather have a private relationship with Tristan rather than no relationship with him.

The story spans several years. It was so sad and frustrating that Luke continued to deny the relationship with Tristan and continued to hurt him because of that denial. It takes a drastic wake up call where Luke almost loses him completely for Luke to finally acknowledge him in public. There was an absolutely brutal scene in the book that is forever etched in my mind. It was gut wrenching. It takes a lot for the two to finally have an HEA. Even through all those ups and downs with the story, I did not want to quit until they had their happy ending. They definitely deserved one.

The narrator David Allen Vargo did a good job with the narration. He used a kind of echo feature when the character had an inner monologue. I did not really like his interpretation of Tristan's voice, but that is a personal preference. Each character had it's own different voice, which was appreciated.

Overall, I am glad I listened to this book. It was a story that will stay with me for a long time.

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  • JKS
  • 24-05-22

Luke and Tristan

Broken Man is Book 5 in the McCullough Mountain series and can be enjoyed on its own. This is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, powerful, love story about Luke and Tristan. Have tissues handy you might need them. I really enjoyed this book as Luke and Tristan figure out how they fit into each others' lives. Luke has a hard time accepting himself, but he loves Tristan and doesn't want to let him go. Tristan is tired of being Luke's dirty secret and knows Luke's family will accept him and their relationship. It was a long journey for Luke and Tristan to find their happy ending and discover that their love for each other was enough. I definitely recommend this book.
Narrator David Allen Vargo does an amazing job. He has the perfect voice for Luke and Tristan and really brings out the emotion of their story.