Title: Best Vacation that Never Was
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
When Troy Hastings’ plans for the vacation of his dreams literally goes up in smoke, he’s left homeless, alone, and wearing only a hospital gown. Jason Cooper, the firefighter who rescues him, can only think of what he’d like to do to Troy. Troy’s lost everything and Jason wants to help him get his life back. With each passing day, Jason wants that life to include him. But he only has seven days until Troy’s friends return from the trip to make Troy see that Jason is the man he’s been looking for all along.
Jason spends that time giving Troy the best vacation he’s ever had, and in the process, wooing the man who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Troy’s having the time of his life, enjoying stepping out of his comfort zone, trying new things: like a little bondage, the hottest sex he’s ever had, and parasailing, and he’s game for more.
When the week is up, Troy will find himself a new apartment…unless Jason can convince him to stay.
Best Vacation that Never Was is the second book from this author that I’ve read (I gobbled up and loved Edward Unconditionally, reviewed by Wave here). I had mixed feelings about this well-written and evenly-paced story, which I’ll try to explain in just a bit.
Set in Houston and told in alternating POVs, BVTNW opens with Troy getting ready for a cruise with the majority of his friends and most importantly Douglas, the man with whom Troy is desperate to take their “friends with benefits” relationship to the next level. Little does he know that a fire will destroy not only his chances with Douglas, but his apartment and everything he owns, leaving him to barely escape with his life and the towel around his waist. Rescued by firefighter Jason and taken to the hospital to be checked over, he has nowhere to turn as his support system is now all out of town. Jason, feeling an inexplicable connection with and responsibility for Troy, takes the temporarily homeless man back to his place. Giving in to the strong attraction, Jason realizes that he wants more from and with Troy, though they have just one week before Troy’s friends return and reality resumes. Taking advantage of his graveyard shift and Troy’s ruined vacation plans, he offers Troy a week of both getting back on his feet and great, local fun, and with it, the hope that he can make Troy see that they can have a future together before it’s too late.
At thirty-four Troy sees what happened as a reason to makes some changes in his life, even if he hadn’t expected wanting to make those changes. I liked how he rolled with the punches, though honestly, Jason never really gave him a chance to wallow. He attributes his new attitudes to Jason, who is a firecracker; Jason is different than anyone else Troy knows and he’s incredibly attracted to his sense of humor and adventure, his generosity, his sexiness. Alhough he thought Douglas was the man for him, it’s immediately obvious that it was a mistake, that Jason is the right one for him.
More important, he liked the way he felt about himself when he was with Jason. As if there were no boundaries to his life, nothing holding him back, only his own preconceived notions about himself. This week he’d stretched those boundaries, explored his limits, and amazed himself at what he’d done.
Again, all because of Jason.
I like Troy, but I loved Jason. I admit to having a little thing for firemen. They are often thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, and twenty-nine-year-old Jason definitely is “hooked on the rush.” From public sex — including strangers — to the outdoor recreation he arranges for Troy’s “vacation” to the bondage he indulges in to the speed at which he drives, he seems open to just about anything at any time. And Jason is blown away from the feelings he has for Troy, for wanting a relationship and settling down, as these are not feelings he has ever had before.
There are few secondary characters (we meet a couple of folks as Troy and Jason go on their adventures), but in the first chapter, we’re privy to the fire in a way that makes it a secondary character itself.
I really liked the idea of this story and how it started; the emotions Troy feels upon losing everything, how he physically felt during and after the fire, how Jason didn’t hesitate to take him in. I was good with Jason’s wooing of Troy and how he wanted to make Troy happy and give him some fun in a really bad time. I was fine with the smexxin — of which there a lot — some of it bordering on kinky with bondage, ropeplay and a little D/s.
Where I started having problems was when it seemed that there was an almost constant series of “mis”es: miscommunication, misunderstanding and misreading the words of the other, keeping feelings and thoughts hidden about wanting to stay with each other but expecting the opposite. I get that they barely knew each other, that they were tentative around each other, that they were both scared of getting hurt, but it made me a bit bonkers and it felt somewhat contrived to me.
Lastly, the constant (over)use of the words “man” and “dude” wore on me, and I expect it will do the same with some others, too.
Best Vacation that Never Was is a story that I think LL fans will like, as will others who read the genre. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, it was somewhere in the middle, though I’ve definitely read better from her.