Free on KU!
Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.
It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.
When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?
I am a HUGE Cardeno fan. I literally listen and read her books over and over and over because they hit me just right in the feelz. This book is an example of how not every book can be for every person and that we all have our own unique tastes that shape us.
For me, and I know it’s different for everyone, this story rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a May/December romance and I typically really enjoy those. However, I’m a sucker for equality in a relationship (however that balance is achieved) and it’s one of the reasons I shy away from BDSM (I just don’t like that particular shift in power – though I know it really works for some people.)
First, we have Richard who is about 20 years older than Todd – so the age gap is really significant. It’s a fine line to walk between a father figure and a lover and there were too many times when I felt that line waver in a way that was uncomfortable to me. Richard did not treat Todd like an equal and Todd did not act like an equal. That never felt right to me. I can imagine that Todd “needed” the firm hand and Richard “needed” to be in control, but I didn’t see where Todd got to be his own autonomous figure in a way Richard (or himself) respected.
Todd had such a low self esteem throughout most of the story and it was painful to read. I wanted to hug him then shake him! I didn’t understand his bi-polar personality that had him pouting and flirting and sleeping around all the time but then being apparently dependent upon and craving Richard’s approval.
As a plot point, their main source of relationship angst was a matter of miscommunication, and that also made me crazy. Neither saw fit to “define their relationship” and were somehow confused when the relationship never got defined! This made me crazy and I wanted to sit them down and force them to just TALK to one another.
In the end, though they get their happy ending, I didn’t feel good about their relationship nor did I feel like Richard “needed” Todd in the way Todd “needed” Richard and that makes me leery for long term success.
So – though this really bums me out to say – I can’t recommend this book as highly as I do all of Cardeno’s other books because it just didn’t work for me. I always recommend reading other reviews as this is only one view point and I’m sure it will work for other people.
2.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review