Title: The Pick Up (Up Red Creek #1)
Author: Allison Temple
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 5th 2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 337 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.
Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.
Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.
After the death of Kyle Fenton’s best friend Olivia in an accident he finds himself raising their six year old daughter Caroline alone. Not really able to make ends meet, when his father extends an offer of help, Kyle moves from Seattle back home to Red Creek – a place he’d much sooner have never returned to.
Adam Hathaway teaches grade school and keeps his private life very private, especially after a relationship gone bad cost him his job at private Newcastle Academy.
After clashing with Kyle several times, the two find themselves gravitating to one another, which isn’t optimal to either of them. Adam, because of his past relationship mistakes, and Kyle because Olivia has been dead less than a year and his father doesn’t seem that keen on Kyle’s bisexuality.
After a very slow start the two finally gain a groove and work their way through some miscommunication to open up to one another and embrace a relationship.
This is a slow burn with a lot of false starts. Since both Adam and Kyle have their own pasts and challenges to overcome they basically fight their attraction to one another, and later any kind of relationship, the pacing of the story was particularly slow going, and I didn’t feel like the HFN was an adequate pay off for getting through it all.
There were some things I liked about the story, like the way Kyle and Adam were with their families, and the depiction of small town life, but I wanted more romance between Kyle and Adam. I wanted a better connection, more chemistry, and better relationship arc.
I also wanted to know more about Kyle’s relationship with Olivia, which wasn’t really explained, because while I’m calling Kyle bisexual here, the word wasn’t used once in the whole book, and his “relationship” with Olivia was a bit mysterious.
But, mostly, I just wanted them to stop being jerks to each other long before they actually did and get on with the romancing.