Title: Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkin #1)
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (3rd Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: 89 pages
Rating: 4.25 stars
Review Summary: Can a 44 year old man and a 22 year old find lasting happiness together? What if the 22 year old is his son’s best friend?
Book One in the Thomas Elkin series.
Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?
A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his fortieth birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thought he knew everything about architecture, about life.
Cooper Jones, twenty-two years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven, and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.
Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.
Thomas Elkin Series
I was pretty skeptical when I started this book and the only reason I read it is because I trust this author. However, I didn’t know how she could make me believe that a HEA romance between a 44 year old and a twenty two year old man was possible. I understood the attraction and the sex but a lasting relationship takes a lot more than hot sex. To add to the daunting prospect of a forever love, Cooper was the best friend of Tom’s son Ryan who had been devastated when his parents divorced due to his father’s sexual orientation which he had hidden all his adult life. Prior to meeting Cooper Tom had mended the rift with Ryan and the tensions caused by the breakup, but now there was a new challenge in trying to hide the fact that he was dating Ryan’s friend.
Tom hired Cooper as an intern and was intrigued by him because not only was he was very talented and dedicated professionally to the discipline of architecture, which he loved, but Cooper was passionate and vibrant and had an energy and presence that Tom found intriguing – qualities that were quite different from those of his previous boyfriend who was the same age (44) but had been too passive for him. However he was conflicted about Cooper as a love interest due to the age difference and the fact that he was working for him. If their relationship were discovered Tom may have been reprimanded but Cooper’s career would be over before it started. That didn’t stop them as the attraction was too strong and they even made light of the age difference most of the time. Cooper was typical of Generation Y, aggressively going for what he wanted. The first personal question he asked Tom was “So? Seeing anyone?” Tom was more conservative in his pursuit, because although he was out at work he didn’t flaunt his sexual orientation and he certainly didn’t want anyone at work to know about him and Cooper.
As their affair progressed I was impressed at how they resolved most of their issues and how Tom changed from a workaholic to someone who had fun and started to LIVE.
One of the reasons I love this story is that there is so much architectural detail, especially about retrofits, as I worked in a related field in one of my careers. The information about retrofits was inserted in the dialogue and the prose in such a way that it wasn’t an info dump, and it was obvious that N.R. Walker had done her homework about New York and architecture.
Tom was the dominant character initially as the story is told from his 1st person POV but things changed in the latter part of the book as Cooper’s personality emerged. Not only did he have a thirst for knowledge but he was likeable and mature, and he had strong principles. There was no doubt that there was a generation of difference between the approach of the two MCs which was evident in the funny dialogue as they tried to meet in the middle – even some of the sex scenes (of which there were a lot) were funny.
N.R. Walker’s secondary characters are always well drawn and I was tickled by Jennifer, Tom’s assistant, who terrified Cooper and the rest of the interns. The interaction between Jennifer and Cooper was priceless. The other secondary character who was also very amusing was Lionel the doorman in Tom’s building who had an ongoing tug of war (in a good way) with Lionel always making a point of “announcing” Cooper’s before allowing him into the building. As for Ryan, he was also three dimensional and his reactions to his father’s and Cooper’s relationship was right on the money and authentic..
Tom and Cooper bonded initially over the technical architectural elements such as drafting but the spark between them was alive and unmistakable. The author was able to show how these two characters from different generations had a lot in common outside of their mutual love of architecture and despite their other differences. It was also obvious that Cooper totally disregarded the age differences that Tom was so hung up on.
I thought that the story was credible and the MCs were obviously in love, but I would have liked an epilogue 10 years in the future to see how their love weathered the many challenges of career, age and lifestyle as their personal relationship was also a retrofit.