Reviewed by Vicki (Tori)
SERIES: Bluewater Bay #17
AUTHOR: Anne Tenino and E.J. Russell
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 358 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10th, 2017
Thirty-seven-year-old Nate Albano’s second relationship ever ended three years ago, and since he’s grace—gray asexual—he doesn’t anticipate beating the odds to find a third. Still, he’s got his dog, his hobbies, and his job as a special effects technician on Wolf’s Landing, so he can’t complain—much.
Seth Larson, umpteenth generation Bluewater Bay, is the quintessential good-time guy, content with tending bar and being his grandmother’s handyman. The night they meet, Seth’s looking for some recreational sex to escape family drama. But for Nate, romantic attraction comes before sexual attraction, so while Seth thinks they’re hooking up, Nate just wants to talk . . . genealogy?
So they declare a “just friends” truce. Then Seth asks for Nate’s help investigating a sinister Larson family secret, and their feelings start edging way beyond platonic. But Nate may want more than Seth can give him, and Seth may not be able to leave his good-time image behind. Unless they can find a way to merge carefree with commitment, they could miss out on true love—the best time of all.
Nate Albano lives in Bluewater Bay Washington, and works on the set of Wolf’s Landing as a special effect technician. He’s asexual, and has only had two relationships, one ending quite badly. He’s just barely speaking to his mother after a fourteen year estrangement, and has recently reunited with his father. He is an amateur genealogist, and is interested in the history of his new town. He’s been asked by Levi Pritchard, the Wolf’s Landing actor that helped him get his job, to help with a project at the local community theater. This leads to his introduction to Seth Larson, descendent of one of the founding families in Bluewater Bay.
Seth Larson is a local guy, happy with his promotion from server to bartender at the local bar, happy to have a quick fuck now and then, and slightly unhappy with some family drama. He lives over the garage at the family home, assisting his grandmother in her fight to maintain the aging mansion. She’d like to sell the old house and move to a retirement community, but her two sons won’t let her. Seth is all tangled up in the middle of the fight. He’s happy to meet Nate one night at the bar, and very confused when Nate actually wants to talk about the Larson family history. He was expecting a hook up with the hot man! This leads to a misunderstanding between the two men, which eventually leads to an apology dinner.
Nate explains his sexuality to Seth, telling him that he does feel sexual attraction occasionally, but only after an emotional connection has been established. The two appear to settle on a path to friendship, bonding over a knife Seth found in the garage, and the possible historical impact it might have.
Ok. So what I look for in a book are interesting main characters, an interesting plot, an emotional/physical connection between the two main characters, decent writing, and a happy ending. I only got part of what I needed with this book. I liked Seth and Nate a lot, and I was very curious about how their relationship would work. I am not familiar with gray asexuality, and I had do so some googling even after I read the book to see if I could understand it. I wish I had gotten a better understanding of Nate’s needs from the book. Nate was very interesting to me, and I wanted to know more about him, particularly his history. We know he left Hollywood after some big issue, but we are never told what that issue is. I liked Seth as well, he’s sort of a free spirit, and I liked that. I liked how their relationship developed throughout the book, I could see the emotional bond forming, and I could see the attraction that did come eventually. The sex scene did feel reasonable with their situation, and was nice to see.
What I had issues with was the plot. There is waaaay too much going on here. The whole story about Seth’s great great grandfather, the family drama, the house, whether it should be sold, and there was some bizarre plan to make the house look haunted to convince Seth’s dad and uncle to sell it. I totally didn’t get that part. I didn’t understand why the dad and uncle didn’t want the house sold, if they didn’t want to take care of it. They were both horrible to Seth and his grandmother, and Seth’s mom was a bitch too. I totally lost interest in all of it. Then there is a revelation about another character and his potential connection to the family drama that was completely dropped! No resolution at all. Nate is also concerned about his job, and whether he and his coworker Morgan would be replaced with a green screen instead of their physical special effects, but that was not resolved either. I was left very confused and unsatisfied at the end of the book. Although it does have a happy ending.
What I liked was the conflict that came up revolving around Seth’s career choice, Nate is a bit of a snob and the two have a big fight about it all. I liked the interest Nate’s dog brought to the story, and the introduction of the community theater to Nate’s life. I wish that had been expanded upon. Same with Nate’s family, I wish more time had been spent on that. I wish more time had been spent on the relationship between Nate and Seth, and way less time spent on the family drama I didn’t care about.
So mixed feelings about this one. Good characters with a good emotional bond that could have had more time spent on it. Some plot parts I liked and wish had been expanded, but too much time spent on a storyline I didn’t care about. The writing was good, nothing bothered me, but it’s hard to say it was well written when I didn’t like a big part of the plot. This is a long book at 358 pages, and I feel it could have been a lot shorter and more focused on the two main characters. I don’t have to have sex in my books, so I wasn’t disappointed to only have one sex scene, and it fit very well with the type of relationship these two had, so I was happy with that. And I liked the ending, a thing happens between them that is resolved and we assume they live happily ever after. That all worked for me. But I was slightly unsatisfied with this book overall. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Still love the series, but this was not my favorite addition, I’m sorry to say.