Title: Saving Sean (Seattle Stories #2)
Author: Con Riley
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (280 pages)
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by jeayci
Review Summary: A decent book that fell far short of the standard set by the first.
Blurb: A Seattle Stories novel
Nearly a year after being rejected for another man, Seattle paramedic Peter Morse is still pining, so when the one that got away asks him for a favor, he agrees. His mission: track down Sean Reid, the runaway brother of a mutual friend. Peter isn’t thrilled about it—until he finds Sean injured by the side of the road.
Everything about Sean stirs Peter’s protective instincts—saving people is what he lives for—but he never anticipated falling for someone so hell-bent on running away. On top of his physical wounds, Sean struggles with grief and guilt, and the mess his estranged father left when he died threatens to overwhelm him.
Saving Sean means Peter must let go of his pride and turn to friends and family. Asking for help is a bitter pill for Peter to swallow, but if he can’t, how can he expect Sean to accept his help—and his love—in turn?
Review: Though I got engrossed in this one faster than After Ben, my enthusiasm waned around the middle and by the end I was frustrated. Insta-love, a main couple planning HEA for reasons that weren’t clear to me, gratuitous sex once the heroes got together, and formerly likeable characters who were now obnoxious did not result in a sequel that lived up to the standard set by the first book.
Given my pet peeve about insta-love, having these guys saying “I love you” and planning to live together after knowing each other only a week was just too much too soon for me. Granted, people do it. And I found it plausible that Ben had done it with Theo. It just takes… more… to get me to believe it, and this book didn’t quite get there. That was an especially striking (and disappointing) contrast after the wonderfully slow build of the first book. When it ended with everything so neatly wrapped up and the two guys ready to live HEA after just a week, I finished with an urge to throw my ereader across the room.
Which is not to say this wasn’t a good book. It was, just not a great one. I adored the relationship between Peter and his father, and how it was explored and healed in the course of the book. I think that was my favorite part of the book, and Peter’s dad was one of my favorite characters. I was delighted to see he had an incipient romance of his own by the end. And I still loved Joel and Evan, and Theo and Morgan. The other characters, however, were disappointing in various ways.
Peter didn’t seem quite the same man whose story I had so eagerly anticipated. He was more insecure, which could be a result of being in his POV; many people come across as more confident than they really are. But I also didn’t remember him having logorrhea in the first book, so I had to adjust my perception of him as he blurted out every thought that crossed his mind. And I can’t imagine that someone who’s spent as much time alone as Sean wouldn’t want to shove a sock in his mouth at some point. Maybe it works for them because Sean shoves something much more fun into Peter’s mouth? 😉 They did seem to have an awful lot of sex once they started, more than I really wanted to read.
As for Sean, I never quite made up my mind about him. He appeared a weak victim when Peter first met him, then quickly demonstrated himself to be self-reliant and pretty darn good at it. But then he had these odd moments of childishness which came seemingly out of nowhere. Given his isolated childhood, I guess I could find it plausible, but it definitely wasn’t appealing. And I felt I had even less sense of him than I had of Morgan in After Ben.
Given Peter’s need to help people and Sean’s obvious immediate need for assistance, I could see what drew them together in the first place. That’s a great recipe for a short fling, but not necessarily sufficient long term. I never really figured out what connected them beyond that enough to make HEA likely, or even desirable. Especially not when we got so few details about how, realistically, it might work. After the first book, I wished for better for Peter. Or at least the Peter from the first book, who wasn’t necessarily the same guy in this one.
I also liked other characters from the first book much less in this one. I adored Maggie in After Ben, but was very frustrated with her in this one. She’s described as having issues that would make anyone cranky (to put it mildly), so I decided to excuse the radical changes in her personality as being due to those factors. But having to consciously decide that meant I was pulled out of the story to think about it. And it was disappointing to see a favorite character become barely likable.
I had liked both Marco and Aiden in the first book, but I liked them much less in Saving Sean. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I disliked Marco in this one, which makes me nervous about the third book since I’m 99% sure it will be about the two of them becoming a couple. I’m hoping that this book was a case of sophomore slump and that the next book(s) will be better.
This one wasn’t bad, it just didn’t live up to the standard set by the first and I’m nervous now that I’ll like the third book even less. I’m almost tempted to skip that one and just wait for the fourth book I hope will follow and focus on Joel and Evan. I still adore them, individually and together. Then, if I love that one, I could see going back and giving Book 3 a try. What I’ll probably do, though, is go into Book 3 with much lower expectations.
Expectations can make all the difference, and I might have liked Saving Sean more if mine hadn’t been set so high by After Ben. I used the word ‘disappointing’ a lot in this review, and I think that was the key. If you go into it expecting ‘decent’ rather than ‘great’ (especially if you like insta-love), you’ll probably enjoy it.