Title: Tender with a Twist (Rainbow Cove #2)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Release Date: October 2nd 2017
Page Count: 264
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…
Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.
Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…
But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.
Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.
“He was everything I hadn’t let myself acknowledge missing, let alone needing, but I did. Tightly locked, hidden places inside my soul soaked in his attention, barren soil that had stopped even waiting for rain.”
Tender with a Twist, the second book in the Rainbow Cove series ended up being one of my favorite Annabeth Albert books. Very different than its predecessor, Trust with a Chaser, and very different than what I expected.
What I loved:
–The characters. I really liked both MCs, who were a big “fuck you” to all BDSM stereotypes.
Curtis: Brawny, tattooed, grumpy chainsaw wood carver. Kinky bottom and total pain slut. Widower.
Logan:Baby face chef. Dom wannabe. Seriously underestimated.
–The kink. THE KINK, people. It was done to perfection. Curtis needs, and Logan is up to the challenge. There is a lot of sex, most of it pretty kinky, but it’s integral to the story.
–The chemistry. There is crazy chemistry between the characters. Curtis might be grumpy, or just plain asshole, and Logan is inexperienced, but from the first time they just click. As a reader, I really felt that connection.
-The setting. I’m a sucker for small town settings, and Albert has created something beautiful in Rainbow Cove. Nice to see all the secondary characters we met at Trust with a Chaser, as well.
-The grief. This is a part that can get tricky for me, but here it was done very well. Curtis is grieving very deeply still, but it’s not overwhelming.
What I didn’t love:
-I got pretty frustrated with Logan’s parents towards the end, it kind of affected my enjoyment of the story. Someone needed to give this guy a little more credit. Their interference and luck of trust, drove me nuts.
-I don’t consider Curtis to suffer from the martyr complex because his reasons for being reluctant to be with Logan were valid. But after a while there was a little too much “I don’t deserve you” and “you ‘re better off without me” for my liking.
These niggles, though, were minor, and overall I really liked the story, even more than the first book. I’m definitely sticking with Rainbow Cove and its people.