Summary review: A most delicious and delightful romance from Cooper Davis.
The man on his arm isn’t nearly as scary as the man in the mirror.
Hunter Willis’s “Guy Town” passport was stamped and in as good working order as his Harley. Like a good Midwestern jock, he’d ride that manly machine to his construction job every day, even throw back a few beers with the boys. Hockey and baseball filled out his single-dude weekends.
Then, summer heat worked its magic, and he fell in love with his best friend, sexy stockbroker Maxwell Daniels. The Harley is still in the garage, but the man is definitely—and lustily—out of the closet. As in tearing the door off its hinges.
Now that Hunter’s in love, he’s in all the way. Even proposed—and Max has accepted. But before their dream wedding in Vermont next spring, they must face the greatest danger to their perfect love.
Meeting the family.
It’s not just enduring the Daniels clan’s magnifying glass. It’s facing the deep, dark fears and secrets that are suddenly brought into sharp focus. Forcing them to decide if theirs is only a summer fling…or a love that can flourish even in the chill of winter.
I read Boys of Summer which I have linked, the prequel to Taking you Home, almost 18 months ago. I loved that story so much and kept hoping that the author would write a sequel about Hunter and Max. Well I got my wish, and what a book! Taking You Home breathes life into Romance with a capital ‘R’. If you think romance is dead or dying you only have to read Cooper Davis’s Taking You Home to drastically revise your opinion.
A brief recap. When we left Hunter and Maxwell in Boys of Summer Hunter, who is the first person narrator, had fallen in love with someone totally unexpected – a man, his best friend of 4 years – Maxwell. Hunter’s ‘voice’ is very distinctive as he narrates their love story, because that’s what it was: a deep and abiding love. Hunter had always been straight and although he may have had a few erotic thoughts about an attractive man or two over the years, he definitely played on the straight side of the fence. Maxwell knew he was gay since he was a teenager and when he fell in love with Hunter there was no one else for him. He had been waiting for Hunter for years as he dated women, including their friend Veronica, and when it looked like he would have to wait forever Max took his co-worker’s advice and invited Hunter out on a date. It was do or die and it turned out to be ‘do.’ Hunter was a goner and that first time with Max smashed every notion he had about love and sex. After realizing that Max was indeed the person with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life, Hunter – the macho, Harley riding, construction worker didn’t care who knew he was in love with a man, (after he found the courage to out himself to their friends.) 🙂 They are now together for 3 months, Hunter moved in to Max’s apartment 3 weeks ago, and they are living an idyllic life. Hunter has just popped the question in romantic fashion as he took Max for a ride on his bike to Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles and gave him a ring.
Two weeks later they’re off to visit Max’s parents and his twin sister in Winchester, Virginia so that they could meet Hunter and be invited to their wedding in a few months. Which is when all hell broke loose. The welcome mat was definitely not out and the atmosphere could not be more frigid if there were icicles hanging from the ceiling of Phillip Daniels’ home. Phillip refused to acknowledge Hunter, did not admit that Max was gay, and the only time he referred to the wedding was to say that it wasn’t going to happen and there wasn’t going to be a civil union either. The crowning touch was when they were put in separate bedrooms, and with one fell swoop Hunter was pushed right back into the closet. Leah, Max’s twin, was no better than her parents in her treatment of Max and Hunter and the visit could have turned even more ugly and the biggest crisis that Hunter and Max had faced since they became engaged, but she realized that she would lose her brother if she didn’t accept his relationship with Hunter so she made overtures to bridge the huge gulf between them.
Returning home, Max and Hunter decided to live their lives the way they wanted, and the love between them was palpable. Max was Hunter’s addiction and he couldn’t be apart from him for any length of time without getting withdrawal symptoms because he loved him so much. A year ago Hunter had never imagined being with a man, now one was his life. All of their friends, including their old girlfriends, were supportive and Leah became the wedding planner for her brother’s nuptials. Seeing Max engrossed in Bride magazines that Leah sent him was really funny but heartwarming.
But Max had a very big secret, one that made his father hate him even more, and it would test his and Hunter’s relationship to the utmost. Could Hunter accept all that Max was, or would he be turned off? The tender way that Hunter treated Max and his secret and accepted all facets of the man he loved was beautifully handled as Hunter showed by the way he cared for Max, how deep were his feelings for him, and how special was their relationship.
This story was everything and more than I expected and the lovemaking between Max and Hunter was moving, tender, intimate and sensual as they became a part of each other. Cooper Davis addressed every issue in their relationship, even the fact that Hunter might still be attracted to women. Since he had only recently switched, even though he was now fully committed to Max and would never even think of being with someone else, this was a realistic possibility. Max was a very beautiful man and I have mentioned many times in my reviews that gorgeous protagonists are not my favourites, however Max was beautiful both inside and out, and you would be hard pressed not to want to hug him. He was sweet, kind, vulnerable and hot for his man and no one, not even his parents, was going to keep him from heading to Vermont for their wedding.
The other characters including the women in the book were wonderfully drawn. Veronica, Hunter’s ex and Louisa, Max’s very good friend were very funny as was Leah once she got over her snit. Boy, can she smoke those Cuban stogies! I loved Hunter’s Aunt Edna who took him in after his parents’ untimely death. Her first visit to Rodeo Drive was with Max who is a shopaholic and they took to each other like two girl friends. John, Leah’s husband, was a great foil for his wife and was the first person in the family to accept Max’s and Hunter’s relationship so of course I thought his character was well drawn.
This book is all about love, commitment, family, Hunter facing his past, Max being validated, reconciliation, wonderful friendships, and above all being true to yourself. I thought that Cooper Davis had written a terrific story when she penned Boys of Summer, but Taking You Home is the first book on my Top 10 Books for 2011, it’s that great. I hope that you will read this book because if you don’t you will miss an incredible romance and love story and above all, two characters who will move you from the opening credits and you will not want to leave them when you come to The End.
Here are a few funny lines from the book:
…..he’s kissed me about a dozen times since we got back from the park. In the powder room. In the hallway. Beside the refrigerator. That’s one thing you discover about being gay—so long as you’re clandestine about it, you can still get some serious ass.
He stares down at the torch, and then back up into my eyes without saying a word. God, he’s gorgeous. The black cashmere turtleneck he’s wearing only makes him look even hotter than usual. I blink, aware that I’m blushing slightly because of how hungry I suddenly feel for him. Just like earlier, when he gave me that faint smile from the kitchen. I’m a goner for him when he wears black, no joke.
“You do it,” he finally says with an offhanded shrug. “You’re good with a tool.”
“Oh, God, I so did not hear that.” Leah steps past us, toward the oven.
“Don’t mind our innuendo.” Max’s gaze never leaves my face. “We’re just two guys in love.”
Okay, so now I’m blushing like a maniac, feeling embarrassed in front of his formerly homophobic twin sister. Except, she seems genuinely amused, and plays right along.
“Wow, Max, I had no idea. Here I was thinking you and Hunter were just having a power tool moment.”
“Have to hit Home Depot for that action,” Ben shouts from the living room, obviously having followed our exchange. “It’s gaydar central over there, guys!”
I adore this book. Taking you Home is not a standalone and you must read Boys of Summer first to really ‘get’ Hunter’s and Max’s romance. Highly Recommended.