Title: Crest Ridge
Author: A.L. Boyd
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Page Count: 162
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
It was supposed to be their big night! The opening of their movie premier. Robert Owens boyfriend abandoned him, and brought another date. Humiliated, Rob left Los Angeles, and moved to a quiet ranch in rural New Mexico only to face his high school bully Dane Johnson.
Rob never expected his high school tormentor to show up at his new home, but there the man was ordering him to evacuate from an oncoming wildfire. After Rob returned to his ranch, Dane offered an apology, and an explanation of his past actions. Rob has to decide if the bully he once knew has changed his ways. Will they overcome their past and find a new start?
Advanced review copy of Crest Ridge provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Successful film star Rob Owens is having a crappy week. His boyfriend has dumped him without so much as an email and brought a new date to Rob’s big film premiere. Rob is humiliated and the paparazzi are everywhere, smelling blood in the water. Rob had recently purchased a home far from the Hollywood craziness and decides to leave for an extended vacation. More misery abounds.
Dane Johnson, a local sheriff, is performing emergency duty with the National Guard and finds himself knocking on the door of the old Perkins’ home. When Rob answers the door, he is taken aback. Rob and Dane attended the same military academy for their senior years in high school and Dane was anything but kind to Rob.
Rob is shocked to see his high school nemesis at the door of his new home. Dane is all business and tells Rob that he must evacuate his new home because a wildfire is heading his way. Rob is reluctant at first, but Dane won’t take no for an answer. On the drive to the emergency shelter, Dane apologies to Rob for his past behavior and asks for Rob to call him so they can meet and Dane can explain. Meanwhile, Rob has no choice but return to California until the threat of the wildfire passes because of the lack of hotel rooms in the area.
Two weeks later he is back and has not decided if he wants to open those old wounds and call Dane. The choice is taken out of his hands when Dane makes another official visit to his house and finally has a chance to explain his bullying behavior from 10 years ago. From there, these boys become friends and then eventually lovers. We get an epilogue of a year later and we see that the boys are happy and together and get their HEA.
I went ahead and read the 2013 shorter version so I could see what extras A.L. Boyd added to the new version. The old version follows the same story line and events but instead of showing us some of the events, the author merely alludes to them. (A good example is Rob’s break up with his actor boyfriend Adam. In the 2013 version Rob mentions it but in the new version we get to actually see it in real time.)
While I really did enjoy the characters in this book and thought the premise was solid, I found the new version was nothing more than filler for the first book. There were a lot of pages in the book that just weren’t necessary in the progression of the story, including describing mundane tasks in exaggerated detail, and the addition of a not-very-intriguing sub plot of a mysterious stalker.
The conclusion I came to was that while the 2013 story was too short to be a fleshed out short story, the new version was too long because of unnecessary filler moments that didn’t seem to help flesh out the novella. All the key plot points were there, but the delivery just didn’t work.
I can recommended Crest Ridge to folks who are fans of the 2013 version and want to read more about these boys, but if you didn’t enjoy reading the 2013 version, you should probably give this one a pass.
Prompt photo from the Love Has No Boundaries story: