Reviewed by Tori (Vicki)
SERIES: Accidental Roots
AUTHOR: Elle Keaton
PUBLISHER: Dirty Dog Press
LENGTH: 224 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 31st, 2017
Joey James has given up on his ‘Prince Charming’. There is no such thing, he needs to be realistic about his chances of finding a lasting relationship. A chance encounter with a former school mate at the local grocery store changes everything-maybe.
Before Joey can decide what to do about it, he is swept into a terrifying scheme. Forced into helping a dangerous stranger in exchange for his family’s safety, Joey begins a perilous journey into the criminal underbelly of Skagit. He will do whatever is needed to protect his family.
Buck Swanfeldt had a secret crush on Joey James in high school. Buck’s social anxiety and two-year age difference made it impossible for him to approach Joey then. Life since high school has been challenging, and lonely. Eight years later, fate brings them together and Buck decides to act. He utterly fails. He would have left it at that, except fate seems to be intent on pushing Joey in his direction, and clearly, Joey needs someone at his back.
Dark, sordid secrets hiding in Skagit are bubbling to the surface, danger lurks in unexpected places. Buck has never been anyone’s hero but something about Joey has him throwing caution to the wind. Together the two men take on a dangerous force greater than themselves. But sometimes our worst enemy is ourselves.
*warning may need a tissue!
This book is a work of fiction intended for mature audiences only.
Woohoo! That was a fantastic book! I’m going to start this by confessing something…. I read the first book in this series, and it was ok. I didn’t dislike it, but it was a little long and scattered for me. I had already said I’d take this one, so I was going to read it, but I wasn’t as excited as I could be.
I WAS SO WRONG TO FEEL THAT WAY!!!
Everything I had had issues with in the first book, was not an issue with this one! Tight story, engaging characters, good length, and great writing!
Ok. Now that that is out of the way, let me tell you about this story.
This book is also set in Skagit Washington, just like the first book. I live in Washington, not far from the area this book is set in, although this town doesn’t exist, other towns mentioned do. Elle got the details of the area just right! So anyway, Skagit is a small town, fairly redneck, that seems to have a human trafficking issue. We learned about that in Storm Season, when Adam and Micah are drawn in to the mystery of who is doing what. One other character that got sucked in, thanks to Micah, was Buck. Buck is a great character, he’s big and strong, but shy and reserved. As this story progresses, we find out he has some demons… He had an awful childhood, and that has followed him in to adulthood. So Buck, poor shy, gay Buck, runs in to Joey at the hospital as part of the drama with Micah, but Joey doesn’t notice him. Buck remembers having a crush on Joey in high school, but Joey never knew. Buck then runs in to Joey at the grocery store, and finally gets up the nerve to speak to him. And Joey doesn’t remember that they went to school together. Then they bump in to each other again at the hospital, and eventually connect.
Joey has some serious drama going on. He’s a local boy, like Buck, living on his own and working as a nurse at the local hospital. His mom lives nearby, and he keeps an eye on her. He leaves work one evening to discover a picture of his mother under the windshield wiper of his car. Then another appears. Eventually Joey gets drawn in to a big old mess. He’s being blackmailed in to helping the local bad guys, as they are threatening his mom. He gets a dog, named Xena, and moves back in with his mom, but is continuously forced to help the bad guys. While Joey is dealing with his bad guy issue, his car dies. He calls Buck, who owns the local car repair shop. Buck begins to suspect something is going on with Joey, and calls in Adam and Micah. Which really starts things going.
This story focuses on Joey’s issues with the bad guys, and I won’t say how that all works out! But there is also this very emotional storyline with Buck and Joey. Buck really has some internal drama going on, and Joey struggles to help him, while dealing with his own shit. And trying to keep Buck out of it. Eventually Buck DOES get drawn in, which in some ways helps the two of them bond closer together. There are some great side characters too, Xena the dog was a big part of the story, and a character named Kon was as well. I won’t say who he is, but I loved his contribution! Buck’s employee/friend Miguel plays a huge part in Buck’s healing, and I loved him too. Adam and Micah pop up, as well as a character I won’t mention…
So one of my big issues with the first book was that it was too long and rambled some. I got lost in the characters and the story. This book was not like that! The story was much more focused, and the characters mentioned more involved in the direct storyline. That worked much better for me. Something about the writing in the first book bothered me, but I wasn’t able to specify what it was. Also not and issue with this one! The writing was great!
My only issue this time was some editing problems. One character’s name was spelled with an “s” instead of a “c” a couple of times. Joey became Joe once. And another character’s name did actually change spelling intentionally but it confused me! I had to go find why it changed spelling, I apparently missed that moment in the story. But all of those were minor issues, I just thought I’d mention them though.
There isn’t a lot of sex in this book, which was actually fine. The emotional bond between the two men that slowly develops more than made up for the lack of sex. The growth that Buck goes through for made up for the lack of sex. I loved the story between the two of them, set against the drama of the bigger issue.
So yah! I loved it! I’m so happy I read this one, and I’m really looking forward to the next one! I’d still recommend reading the first one in the series so you know what is happening, but in my opinion this one is so much better! I hope we see more from Elle, I am looking forward to seeing her further develop as and m/m author!