Title: Moving On
Author: H. J. Holt
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 210 pages
Rating: 3.75 out 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Good organic development of new and important relationship between two bruised men but an excess of sex proved you can have too much of a good thing.
Blurb: Twenty-two-year-old foster care survivor Luke Kearsey got out of his abusive relationship and then got out of the country. Now he lives in England, where he works at a burger bar. Maybe his life is directionless, but at least he’s safe.
When thirty-six-year-old schoolteacher Paul Blackwell meets Luke at a club, neither man expects anything more than some no-strings-attached sex. Paul is still grieving the death of his partner of five years, and he’s not looking for anything serious. Not when it means he could get hurt again.
But despite all their differences, something clicks between them. Though Luke lacks confidence and finds it difficult to believe he can offer Paul much in a relationship, and though Paul is wary about starting a relationship with someone so different, they begin to explore the possibilities that could help them heal. With the love and support they provide each other, Luke and Paul begin to put their pasts behind them—but then Luke’s past shows up in England, and it wants him back. Is Luke really ready to move on?
There were many well managed elements to this book; interesting, far from obvious, main characters and a slowly developed relationship with a realistic array of problems to be dealt with. However…. I’m guessing you can hear the obvious ‘ but ‘ a mile away….unusually I had a problem with the amount of sex filling the pages. To put this into a personal context so you can perhaps judge this for yourselves, I have never found there to be too much sex in K. A. Mitchell’s outstanding books and know other readers have. Also Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox, which is very much a sexual development of a relationship is one of my forever, never fails, books. So that gives a base line of where I am coming from. So just to be clear, the relationship here is based originally on a hook up and it is the heated sexual connection that drives both Paul and Luke to keep meeting. Moreover there is some well written very hot top dominant sex going on between them. There is just far too much of it, my reaction started to be, ‘ oh no not again ‘ and that is clearly not how it should be.
In spite of this unexpected flaw, as previously mentioned I enjoyed a lot about this thoughtfully developed relationship. Luke’s miserable life growing up within the American care system has left him very uncertain, lacking self confidence in anything other than an instinct to please people sexually. His self defence mechanism’s are well developed and it was lovely to see Paul, older, wiser and careful help him overcome his problems, without it being a white horse rescue job. Likewise Paul’s situation while fuelling his occasional doubts felt realistic. Indeed I generally found the thought processes of both guys to be believable. The connection between Paul and Luke was grown at a nice organic pace.
Although set in the UK I liked that the background wasn’t obtrusive being without the slightly self conscious Brit references that often seem over cooked to me.
A couple of things in the plot took me out of the story, Luke truly does seem to be very unlucky, life goes out of it’s way to batter him and a situation that arises out of his job, seemed a little unnecessary. He already had all my sympathy. Likewise that his abusive ex followed him to the UK seemed over the top, especially given the tone of the conversation between them. We also had Paul’s protective friend to add to the general atmosphere of kicking a guy when he’s down. However eventually when Luke’s life started to turn round it was a nicely satisfying outcome.
The gradual building of trust, love and a new life for both of the guys made, in the main, for a rewarding read.