Title: Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2)
Author: Amy Lane Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 31st March, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours and 25 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G Blunt
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Mason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love – and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.
The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other. But Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.
As always I loved the depth and skill of Amy’s writing, the realistic dialogue and banter, and the emotions engendered by these characters and their relationship struggles. The secondary characters have important roles too, including Mason’s brother, Dane. It was great to see Skip, Richie, Carpenter, and the other fabulous guys from the soccer team getting involved. They showed their friendship when they gave up their Sundays to help Terry remodel his home, even though Terry’s mum was a piece of work. She was so ungrateful and controlling and Nick’s voice for her embodied that bitchiness. And Mason’s PA was such a wonderful woman, with spot on advice and helpful comments.
I had one main issue with the story—the fact that Mason assumed Terry didn’t want to be his boyfriend after he’d moved out of his mother’s house or to even know what he wanted from their relationship. Before that, despite having set days when they saw each other and no real contact in between, I felt the chemistry and connection between them, so I was surprised when Mason all but walked away from Terry. Yes, Mason wanted to set him free and give him a chance of freedom and independence and, in the long term, it was probably best for their relationship. I still enjoyed the lovely angst during the time they were apart, but I kept thinking surely Terry would want to call Mason or see him by now. What was taking him so long to make his mind up? And Mason, for someone who had no filter and usually said what was on his mind, he didn’t really ever tell Terry how he felt about him. There were lots of lovely feels and tears during this section of the story, so I’m torn over it. They could have continued as they were, but that wouldn’t have had the same impact. Even so, I still feel the break was sort of manufactured.
There was definitely some sizzling chemistry between them, with several hot sex scenes, which were only made sweeter because Mason hadn’t had much success in that department with his previous boyfriends. I’m surprised they barebacked as they weren’t in a committed relationship as such and just agreed not to do it with other people.
The age gap (25/37) caused some conflict and tension at times, but more for Mason than Terry. It was good to witness the growth each character makes over the course of the story, especially Mason. He’s a big-hearted guy and it was great to see him find his place in the world. I was especially cheering for him when he faced his old boss and ex-boyfriend. There were several times where I choked out a gasp and had tears for poor Mason. I was also laughing out loud at some of his hilarious comments at other times, especially the first few scenes when his childhood faux pas are recalled.
This very enjoyable story was brought to life by the fabulous narration from Nick J Russo. Just perfect!