Title: Take Me Home
Author: Sloan Parker
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: 91K words
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: What could have been a wonderful story about two long-time friends falling in love got muddled down in two not very believable subplots that dragged the book down.
Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner.
Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he’s staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he’s a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan’s ass—to get much done.
The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan’s new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle’s grandfather.
When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train’s windows and must finally face their true desires.
Kyle and Evan have been friends since high school. Evan is a screenwriter whose dream job comes with a string: get his hands on Kyle’s grandfather’s journal or his new boss will fire him and blackball him in the industry. Evan is torn, he wants the job, but he wants Kyle more. Kyle, on the other hand, is a mystery writer who is writing the finishing touches on his latest book, one that could make or break his career depending on the ending. The guys decide to take the train back to their hometown to recharge. On the trip there, many mysterious things happen putting Kyle and Evan smack dab in the middle of danger, drama and their feelings for one another. Once they get home, will their new relationship weather the coming storm?
First up, I wanted to like this book. At the core of its plot it has one of my favorite tropes: best friends become lovers. But unfortunately Take Me Home suffers from having too many subplots and not focusing enough on the two main characters, which in my estimation was a mis-step on the author’s part. The first subplot was Kyle’s grandfather’s journal. A reality TV show (and Evan’s new boss) wants it really bad. In fact, some people might be willing to hurt others to get their hands on it. While I found the contents of the journal interesting (Kyle’s grandfather was gay and involved with another man he served with in the military), the subplot within the subplot (why people wanted the journal) really stretched reality. And the surprise ‘bad guy’ at the conclusion of the book seemingly came out of nowhere. In fact, I was more interested in Kyle and Evan’s growing relationship then I was with the bank robbery, the money and the journal.
Second, the angst level between Kyle and Evan annoyed me. Neither man could decide what they wanted, even after they had each other. The push and pull, should we be together or shouldn’t we be together question went on for more than 50% of the book. Normally I really like angst, so I am not sure exactly why this brand of drama just did not work for me this time. Perhaps Kyle’s lack of desire to commit, yet wanting Evan to basically get married after their first kiss seemed contradictory. Then, some plot points just plain did not make sense. For instance when the train the men are travelling is stuck during a blizzard, Kyle and Evan go searching for a little girl who ran off. One of them gets lost in the blizzard, so then the other one leaves the safety of the train to go find them — in a blizzard in the middle of nowhere! They are saved when they find a cabin in the woods. (That was too convenient for me). Other such instances continue to happen throughout the novel and weren’t believable to me.
However, what did work for me in Take Me Home was the friendship and genuine love between the two main protagonists. Take away the subplots and it was the romance that drew me in and kept me reading. I liked that Evan had to make an ethical choice between two things he wanted: Kyle and his career. In the end he makes the right choice, but that interesting dilemma was different and original for me.
Now I am not sure I would re-read this novel, but I did enjoy the author’s command of the love story and her characterizations. So while I can not give Take Me Home a ringing endorsement, I will certainly check out her other books to see how they add up against this one.