It has been a while since I visited the Tucker Springs universe. I enjoyed this series and only had one niggle and that was the bit about me never getting around to reading book one. Imagine my excitement when the audio for the first book came out and I had the opportunity to not only get this one last story in the series, but also try a new to me narrator. This series is set in a small mountain town in Colorado and a pool of authors write the series about romances that each have their own flavor and bit of conflict.
In this one, poor Jason Davis is near a nervous breakdown with all the stress in his life that is aggravated even more by a painful shoulder injury that hasn’t healed. Jason falls for his gorgeous acupuncturist, but there are complications because for one, Michael isn’t gay and now he is Jason’s roommate to help both of them with their financial burdens. Talk about added complications.
Each book in the series works well as a standalone as evidenced by the fact that I started with book three, went forward with a few others, then went back for book two, read the last book and now went back for book one. Haha! Yep, totally works fine out of order. There is the fact that the characters pop in and out of each other’s books, but not in a confusing or spoilerish way.
So the story begins with Jason weighted down by the dual burden of a failing business and a heavy mortgage on his home. In both instances, he was to have a partner. He lost his business partner and now bears all the expenses of the nightclub and on the home front, his ex walked out taking more than half and leaving a hefty mortgage payment because he found a sugar daddy. Jason feels the pain of being abandoned by both, but what really distracts him and keeps him awake at night is the pain in his shoulder. Finally, he gives in to Seth’s insistence that his friend who is an acupuncturist can help his shoulder.
And that is when he encounters the drop dead gorgeous Michael. Jason gets relief from his shoulder pain, but now has a whole twinge after Seth tells him that his old buddy Michael is straight with an ex-wife and kid to boot. As things go along and they discover that they are both barely getting by financially, Jason decides to torture himself by asking Michael to be his roommate and go halves on the bill to help them both out. Why did Michael have to be straight, or was he?
This one doesn’t have much external conflict and is fairly slow paced. Jason has been wounded physically, but it is the emotional pain that really hurt. He just can’t seem to catch a break. Then there is Michael. Michael is as confused as a man in his thirties can be when his encounters with Jason bring startling revelations. To say it’s complicated would be to put it mildly.
I both enjoyed the story because I wanted to see where things went, but I also felt the torture of these two guys not being able to go straight from point A to point B. Attraction and liking and wanting weren’t ever in question. There is some hot and cold and frustration, but the angst was definitely at an appropriate level for what was going on. Jason was amazingly understanding of Michael even as he was frustrated to again, not be able to catch a break when he wasn’t really asking for the moon or anything.
Two things could have made it better and they weren’t awful so much as little niggles for me. Others probably won’t care because these are mild concerns. First, it was all from Jason’s POV, but I would have liked to get Michael’s side, too, especially since he is going through so much internal stuff. The other was the fact that I felt there was some soapboxing going on particularly in the last half and it was repetitive. I get it. I really do. Folks need to be open-minded and accepting of differences, but it’s a preaching to the choir thing (most people reading the book already get it) and I really just want to focus on a story and not an agenda when I’m reading a romance.
The romance was secret crush type so it advanced slowly. Michael seems oblivious while Jason is tortured by temptation which lent a little humor to it. But, the passion when it came, was nice and spicy. I found the home acupuncture sessions so sensual. I think those were hotter than the actual sex scenes.
The narrator, Iggy Toma, was new to me as I mentioned. I thought his voice and style were a good match for this story. I chuckled at the wry way he told Jason’s story. I think he nailed the tone, pace, and voice of the characters particularly Jason.
In summary, this was an enjoyable story that was a good reminder of why I loved this series. Complicated relationships, but easy going in pace and a relaxing small town setting. I can recommend this book/series to other M/M Contemporary Romance fans.
My thanks to Riptide for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.