Title: Typhoon Toby (Forces of Nature Book 2)
Author: R.L. Merrill
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 22nd, 2019
Page Count: 233
Reviewed by: Kirstin
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
On the surface, Toby Griffiths appears to have it all—talent, money, a brilliant mind, and model good looks. With his best friend, Reese, he’s built an empire as a singer/songwriter.
But beneath that glittering exterior, Toby suffers the lasting effects of abuse. To keep his tempestuous past where it belongs, he insists on anonymity with lovers—no names, no personal information. But a vacation fling in Bali changes all that, and he can’t get his recent playmate out of his mind.
Therapist Spencer Hart left Bali with a bad case of pneumonia and a broken heart. Although he’s recovering, he’s shocked to find his secretive partner on TV, and he’s determined to see him again. Spencer arranges to attend one of Toby’s fundraising galas, and their reunion is tense.
Toby tries to stick to his rules… until a New Year’s kiss with Spencer washes away the last of his resistance. But Toby is a man with secrets, and when the storm comes ashore, it could devastate not just his professional life but his fledgling love affair and his longtime partnership with his best friend.
Will Spencer stand by his side and help him weather the storm as Toby faces his worst fears?
This book was definitely a whirlwind, but it was also refreshing and the best kind of hurt/comfort.
Toby is a genius. He started college at 16 and grew up fast. Relying on his advisor, he trusted where he shouldn’t have and ended up very emotionally and physically scarred. He just wants to block out the past and move forward, the more nameless the hookup the better. But when he takes a well needed vacation in Bali, he finds that after spending a week with the same man, he feels lost when they part.
Spencer is a therapist and an advocate for LGBT+ youth. He own his own practice with his friend and he’s been working himself too hard. When he leaves Toby after a week in Bali, he can’t get him out of his head. And when he sees him on TV promoting his new show, he realizes he can’t miss an opportunity to see him again.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get into this story until about halfway, but then I was consumed. Toby started out a reckless, lost and frankly annoying character who finally realized that in order to get past his pain, he had to confront it. It was honestly very gratifying to see Toby take the steps to becoming whole. I had to give him credit for his maturity and willingness to ‘fix’ himself in an effort to have a relationship with Spencer.
At first Spencer annoyed me as well because he acted so victimized and small, but with the promise of love from Toby, he too became more confident and less guarded. Once they found a place where they were grounded the story was so tender and raw.
I really enjoyed all of the friends in this story and their drama as well. It’s fun to see the beginnings of other stories building up in the background to keep the series moving.
The last half of this was done so well. There were so many triggers for Toby that he was able to weather with Spencer at his side and I really felt the relationship as it morphed into a tangible feeling of love. This was definitely a book that I’m thrilled to have read and I’m excited to see the next story in this series, hopefully with Javier.