Guest review by Lily
Ricky Talbot, fresh from his first year at university, is looking to have a perfect summer. He gets to work for the man he’s had a crush on for years and spend the rest of his days in the pool, training for the swim team. Jack Corson, on the other hand, is a suburban hermit with a tangled past. Jack’s a lot more experienced than Ricky, cantankerous and more than a little anti-social.
When an unexpected one-time encounter between the two of them turns into more, Ricky and Jack must see if they have what it takes for love to bloom despite all of their differences, the distance between them while Ricky’s away school, Jack’s past and Ricky’s parents. Can their slow-blooming love come to fruition?
Eighteen year old Ricky Talbot has just finished his first year of college and is home for the summer break. When his Dad suggests taking a job cutting the lawn for their neighbor Ricky grabs the chance to spend time at the home of the man he’s had a crush on since he was fifteen. Jack Corson is a writer with an often grumpy disposition and Ricky has had numerous fantasies involving the older man over the years. Ricky’s first day on the job doesn’t go so well when Jack’s lawnmower starts acting up and then breaks on him. But things get a whole lot better when he has to go to Jack looking for tools and instead of fixing the lawnmower he ends up in Jack’s bed.
Three weeks later Ricky’s out for a night on the town when he’s gay bashed and ends up in the emergency room. Not wanting to call his parents he decides even though he hasn’t seen Jack since the afternoon they spent together to call him for help. Surprised by the call but willing to help Jack picks him up and offers him a place to spend the night. With their attraction burning hot and Ricky needing reassurance after what happened to him they soon end up in Jack’s bed again.
As the summer goes on the two men, one older and very experienced and the other young and just starting out in life, begin an affair that will change them both. Jack has lived through and done much more than Ricky could ever imagine but he soon finds himself learning to enjoy life again with his young lover. All too quickly summer ends and they part as Ricky heads back to college. But their affair has meant more than just sex to Ricky and although they never discussed it continuing on Ricky comes back for Jack’s annual Halloween party.
This starts the second phase of their relationship as they decide to keep in touch through emails, phone calls and occasional visits. As Ricky’s school year continues their feelings grow and deepen and both men continue on their journey of discovery. Ricky is able to explore his sexuality in a safe and loving way and as much as he learns from Jack he also is able to give back to him. By the time the school year is over and summer once again rolls around Ricky and Jack have both grown and changed and their relationship, at first a purely sexual one based on their mutual attraction has now become a loving partnership that is strong and based on love while still maintaining a highly sexual and erotic tone.
I really liked both main characters and I found their relationship to be well written and interesting. Ricky is young yet also quite mature for his age. He’s fun loving and friendly, a good son, does well in school and is dedicated to his swimming which plays a big part in his life and his future. I really liked how his growth and development throughout the story, both personally as well as sexually, was shown. I also really liked Jack. He’s a complicated and fascinating character. A one time Dom he left that scene when he found the people in his life were not willing to accept him growing and changing. It’s been years since then and only a couple of people from his past are in his life now. As his relationship with Ricky grows Jack is finally able to come to terms with his past especially when he realizes that Ricky accepts not only who he is now but also who he was in the past.
The supporting characters, of which there are quite a few, are also well written and are good additions to the story. Since Ricky and Jack don’t spend all of the book together we get to see them as separate individuals which made them all the more likable and believable. There are some cute and fun scenes of Ricky with his housemates at college and of Jack with his best friend and former lover as well as with a former sub that show a different side of Jack than is normally seen when he’s with Ricky.
The sex scenes in this book are very well written and are incredibly erotic yet they were also quite tender at times. While not hardcore there are aspects of BDSM as well as a particular fetish that Ricky explores for himself and Jack’s enjoyment.
There were a couple of little things that kept this from being a 5 star book for me. The first is the age gap between Ricky and Jack. I enjoy reading stories that feature May/December romances but I just felt the difference in age was a lot. I couldn’t help losing my focus on the story sometimes, especially when Ricky was thinking about Jack’s silver haired chest, and all of a sudden I’m thinking about their life together in 10, 20 or 30 years in the future and how the age difference would affect them at that time.
The other thing that bothered me was the outcome when Ricky at last tells his parents of his relationship with Jack. It was both more and less than I had expected and although it led to some really good scenes between Ricky and Jack it still bothered me a bit. At the same time though it was an interesting scene that left me thinking how I, as a parent, might react in that same situation. Is there a chance I might have felt or said the same things as Ricky’s disapproving parent or would I really have been as calm and accepting as his other parent?
Overall I really enjoyed this very well written book. Ricky and Jack are well developed, real and multi-faceted characters and they drew me in and kept me interested throughout the story. There are also wonderful supporting characters, intensely erotic yet also sweetly tender sex scenes and a very nice ending that all together make this a wonderfully compelling story that I won’t soon forget. Anah Crow and Dianne Fox are excellent writers and have created a memorable, entertaining and engaging story that I enjoyed reading very much. Highly recommended.