Title: Regret Me Not
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Page Count: 113
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.
Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.
As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.
Recovering from a car accident, Pierce had been staying with his sister’s family but after hearing himself berate his sister in their abusive father’s tone of voice, Pierce borrows a friend’s Florida condo, with plans to rehab and recover in solitary. While doing aqua therapy in the pool, he meets Hal, the hot 23-year-old who is staying in his family’s condo over the holidays. Turns out Hal is a massage therapist, has worked as a personal trainer and wants to be a physical therapist. He’s the perfect person to kick Pierce’s therapy into high gear, and maybe give him a well-deserved kick in his “grumpy old ass” for being so hard on himself for his all-too-human failings (losing his job, divorce).
At just a bit over 100 pages, this book felt very slow to me. Pierce and Hal are “on stage” for most of the book, with no strong secondary characters. The story details their days by the pool, working out, sharing meals, etc. in the weeks before Christmas (when Pierce will return to his sister’s for Christmas, with eventual plans to return to Sacramento). We only get Pierce’s POV so Hal remained pretty much a mystery to me. We know bits and pieces of his family relationship, but little else. I didn’t really feel much sexual chemistry between the two and their relationship feels very unexamined, with lots of dropped conversations and topics they leave undiscussed. The book ends with a HFN but I could not imagine these characters as a couple in the future. 3.5 stars.
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