I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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I first encountered Blue McCoy in book 2 of the Seasons Of Love series by this author, when he was unwittingly and unwillingly involved in a terrible act committed by Howard, who was Wyatt's "husband" at the time.
I've been waiting for some time for Blue to tell me his own story and delighted when it was finally available.
There may be some slight spoilers below...
Unfortunately, this book didn't quite meet my expectations. Oh, don't get me wrong - Blue is a beautiful soul, kind and humble, optimistic, a glass-half-full kinda guy, perfectly happy to give people the benefit of the doubt, and so very forgiving. He's lonely, but hopeful that there's someone somewhere out there for him.
He's gotten himself a dog, a stray, and he lives in a dilapidated building, where he has a small room, without heat, sleeping on an old, stained mattress with only a ratty blanket for covers. He works whatever jobs he can find to make ends meet.
When his dog darts into traffic and is injured, Blue carries him to the closest vet to get him taken care of, with little thought to how much this may cost - as long as they save his dog.
John Williams is a successful banker who's wife has recently left him, because he's "boring". He has no real relationship with his grown son who split as soon as he finished high school. Lonely in his big house, he decides to get a dog and visits the local shelter, where he encounters Blue and is immediately smitten. And perhaps finally ready to admit a truth to himself that he's kept hidden for far too long.
This is a sweet and very low-angst romance with a quite an age gap between the MCs. In fact, Blue is about the same age as John's son, but they don't let that deter them from their chance at lasting love. I agree with them there - age shouldn't be a factor at all when love comes a-knocking.
The romance is very insta-love, with both John and Blue falling head over heels, and John offering to keep Blue at his house, since Blue's dog needs care, and what better place to do that than John's big, empty house. If that keeps Blue close to John, that's perfectly fine with John.
The characters are nicely fleshed out, and even John's ex-wife Vivian is not merely given the villain position. Once it becomes clear that John has basically been lying to himself and everyone else about his sexuality, it's understandable why Vivian left her repressed husband after many years of marriage, and why their marriage failed.
It was also nice to revisit with HD and Bean, and some more of the characters from previous books. Even the Fabulous Four are making an appearance here. Of course, Wyatt has something to tell Blue, something that causes a bit of a crisis for Blue.
There were some things that niggled. For one, I'd like to know what happened to Indigo. He was brought up as someone important to Blue, but for some reason, this part of the story was not fully pursued. Secondly, John's reunion with Alistair - I would have liked to see that happen. It wasn't crucial to John falling for Blue, or their continued happiness, but considering that John's relationship with his son was non-existent for reasons brought up in the book, that reunion would have been nice to see on page. Thirdly, while we get a HFN that will surely become a HEA for Blue and John, I was left disappointed to some extent because at the end of the book, Blue didn't feel like John's equal. While I didn't expect him to suddenly have beaucoup bucks, it felt slightly weird that Blue depended so much on John for money, and could be considered a "kept boy". I'm sure that wasn't the author's intention, and this is perhaps where the reader needs to fully suspend any expectations of realism.
My biggest niggle is how the dub-con issue was dealt with here. Actually, let's call it what it was - rape of a young and small man by two huge and intimidating beasts, who took advantage of their larger size and took what they wanted, without any thought to the young man they used. Thankfully, the incident doesn't take place in this book. It happens before Blue meets John, and is told in a bit of a flashback, but almost glossed over, instead of being dealt with realistically.
One of the reasons I waited for this book was to get Blue's side of that story, and see how he dealt with the aftermath of that. While the author touches on this subject, I didn't think it was handled in a manner that really brought across how traumatic the experience was. I also thought that Blue didn't seem to suffer the after-effects as much as I expected. We're told how he feels about that time, but we're not really shown how it impacted him. I was pretty certain that he blames himself to some extent for what happened, but seems to think that he to some extent asked for it.
I loved that Blue got to find someone who loved him for who he is, who didn't try to change him, and who didn't take him for granted, so there's that.
The writing is in the author's usual, breathless style, something I myself enjoy, but one that may not work for everyone. Told in the first person POV, switching between Blue and John, this is a sweet and very romantic story, no doubt about that, and if you've enjoyed previous books by this author, you'll likely enjoy this one too.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **