In Over Our Heads (Crabbypatty’s review)

review masterTitle: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2)
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 216 pages
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Cautious, contained and stoic Walter Elkins has a hero complex of sorts. Being able to protect those he loves is key, and his protective streak is a mile wide. And Anthony Vallen? “Even though emotions were my friends […] I didn’t have a stoic bone in my body.” Anthony is out and proud and loud. He’s the life of the party, he’s the hurricane that hits land and everyone has to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm.

Walter and Anthony were unlikely high-school boyfriends (“I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.”) until Anthony almost drowns and Walter, hating he couldn’t keep Anthony safe, was unable to face him after that. Twelve years later, they meet again in Key West (where Walter now owns Back Bay Dive & Sail) when Anthony, Jonny, Marco and Marco’s sister Sophie go on a scuba-driving vacation.

What follows is a story of second chances, a hurricane, and some seriously hot sex because, hello, Walter for all his stoicism is hawt. Personally, I liked the Anthony and Walter’s dynamic. They just plain fit each other:

It had felt safe being around Walter. He’d taken care of everything, slowly and patiently. I could be my fluttery self—a butterfly flitting all over—because I knew he would be there when I needed to land.

I liked the idea, as Jonny says, “the universe brought you two together again for a reason. And I don’t believe it’s so you guys can screw it up a second time” and while declaring their love is easy, getting the rest of it right is a bit more of a struggle.

In Over Our Heads is a fun read, and I liked Walter and Anthony, as well as the secondary characters and I’m hoping we get another installment of the series featuring Walter’s brother Miles.

“Sometimes all you need is a second chance to get things right.”

Stories from the Shore Series

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Galley copy of In Over Our Heads provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

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