Title: Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkin #1)
Author: N.R. Walker and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
Publisher: BlueHeart Press
Release Date: September 6th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 140 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Even the strongest of buildings start out as plans on paper, and every architect knows that sometimes plans need to change. Sometimes, these lessons are learned on the job.
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 industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom a few things about life.
ETA – this review is for the 2015 release copy.
I have really enjoyed this story every time I’ve read it. N.R. Walker takes a storyline that could be trite or well-worn and breathes new life into it. While there is instant attraction here, there’s no insta-love.
When Tom’s son, Ryan, bumps into an old high school buddy and brings him along to dinner with his father, Tom doesn’t think twice about it. When Cooper shows up at his office the following Monday morning as a potential intern, Tom chooses him based on his qualifications and credentials.
I read through the very brief credential lists first, not even looking at names or gender. I just wanted talent.
Academically, they were all relatively evenly matched, but then a name stood out. I risked a glance at the suited man who I hadn’t even recognized as the kid who’d had dinner in my apartment just three nights ago.
He looked different. Gone was the backpacker look, gone was the kid who drank beer and talked about drunken antics with my son. In his place was a professional, serious man, dressed in a well-tailored suit.
Without another thought, without any thought, I looked at Jennifer, handed her the file and said two words that would change my life. “Cooper Jones.”
Tom and Cooper’s story unfolds entirely from Tom’s perspective and his struggle with the fact he’s attracted to his son’s friend, and, if that isn’t bad enough, with Cooper as Tom’s intern, it means that any relationship they have could potentially ruin Cooper’s fledgling career.
I managed to avoid Cooper all day. Mondays were always busy, and I told myself I was imagining the attraction. The thought of me being attracted to him was preposterous. He was twenty-two, and I was forty-four. He was just a kid!
But every day I saw him, and every day I looked for him. I had his schedule jam-packed and he seemed to thrive.
I’d managed to quash any notion that I could have been interested in him. The fact he spoke about my work with a passion like mine was nothing more than a professional admiration. Even in my line of work, it wasn’t every day I met someone who loved architecture like I did, and it had just thrown me, that was all.
At least that was what I told myself.
Even though Tom tries to fight it, his desire for Cooper just won’t go away.
He was just a kid, for fuck’s sake. He was the same age as my son. I shouldn’t be checking him out. I shouldn’t find him attractive. Or smart. Or clever. Or funny. I shouldn’t like the way his eyes sparkled when he learnt something new. I shouldn’t like the way his lips curled when he smiled. I shouldn’t wonder what they felt like, how soft they’d feel against mine.
However, just because Cooper is young, he is not a child and he knows what he wants, he doesn’t play games, and he makes it clear he wants to be with Tom.
“I also want you.”
My heart leaped in my chest.
Then he said, “But you need to stop going on about our ages. The age difference has never been an issue for me, you know that.” Then he added, “And, Tom, there are going to be differences between us. We like different things—different music, different food, different clubs. We have different friends, we have different ideas on a lot of things. There’s going to be things that clash, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
“I know,” I agreed quietly. “I like the differences between us. You’ve opened my eyes to a lot of things I thought I missed.”
“I like the differences too,” he said with a smile. He leaned back in the chair. “We’re like a retrofit project, making the older, classic style integrate with the modern. When everything says we probably shouldn’t gel, we just seem to work.”
I do have one small complaint – there are several “Aussie-isms” sprinkled throughout the story even though it’s set with American characters and in New York City. However this is such a small niggle of frustration, and, truthfully, most probably won’t even notice.
This is an absolutely lovely, easy, angst-free May/December romance with some scorching hot sexy times and a sweet HFN!
Also, for those like me who have read the story before, though the story is mainly told from Tom’s perspective there’s a new bonus chapter told from Cooper’s POV!