Title: Pipelines in Paradise (States of Love)
Author: Foster Bridget Cassidy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 1, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 116
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.63 stars out of 5
One is trying to heal a broken heart, the other, a broken family.
After separating from his partner of nine years, Palmer Simpson flees to the island of Oahu to pursue a carefree life of surfing. There, he meets Riku Usami, a more skilled surfer—but one with a bad attitude and a boatload of family drama. A contest between the two men leads to friendship and the possibility of something more meaningful. When a tsunami threatens the island, a friend is stranded out on the waters of the deadly Banzai Pipeline. Palmer and Riku must face the dangers of the barrel waves and the looming forces of nature in order to get their friend to safety. If they survive, they’ll have to contemplate what their future together will look like after the storm blows through.
Okay, full disclosure, this story did not do it for me. The Hawaii setting is nicely done, but my intense dislike for Riku (one of the MCs) had me gritting my teeth throughout the book.
After learning his partner of nine years cheated on him, Palmer leaves his teaching job and travels to Hawaii. He rents a crappy little motel room and spends his days surfing with his newfound buddy, Dill.
When Palmer sees surfer Riku Usami from afar, he is immediately captivated. “Skin a dark bronze, noticeable where his wet suit didn’t cover […] his body appeared to be ripped like a Spartan, muscles lean and jagged even through the protective clothing.”
However … Riku is a jerk. He’s continually broody, moody and just plain mean, often described as having a face contorted with anger. Their initial encounters include Riku calling Palmer an idiot and standing by as his friends insult Palmer. Yet when Palmer next sees a drunken Riku (getting thrown out of a gay bar), Palmer helps Riku back to his home … and they sleep together, with Riku lovingly crooning “I don’t need a lecture, grandpa. Just hurry up” and “Hurry,” Usami repeated. “Or else I may fall asleep.” Later Palmer rationalizes that to Riku anger meant affection and tells Riku being an asshole is “… just part of your charm.” Now, I can forgive a bit of asshatery if there is growth in a relationship, but I’m not sure if Riku changes in any fundamental way throughout this story.
Turns out Dill hates Riku, and Riku despises Dill. This plot point grows very thin as there are a few confrontations and lots of angry muttering from each man, but neither of them will tell Palmer why … and Palmer never asks. We finally get the answer, which leads into another round of angst and fighting with Riku’s parents and Dill and Riku. The drama with the tsunami (mentioned in the blurb) happens around 91% and its conclusion and the ending wraps up too quickly.
Ultimately, there were just too many things about this story that didn’t work for me. I give Pipelines in Paradise 2.5 stars and cannot recommend it.