Title: The Color of Summer
Author: Anna Martin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary, Family
Page Count: 230
Reviewed by: Kristin F
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
Tattoo artist Max Marshall races into his hometown of Sweetwater, West Virginia—and is promptly pulled over for speeding. Max’s luck isn’t all bad, though, because he recognizes the deputy, Tyler Reed, Max’s childhood best friend’s older brother.
Reconnecting with Tyler helps Max settle back in, and it also leads to attraction. But when he tries to explore that connection at the grand opening of his tattoo studio—by kissing Tyler—awkwardness ensues. Max wants more, but has he misread Tyler’s signals?
As a single father raising a six-year-old daughter, Tyler doesn’t have much time to date. He’s ignored his attraction to men for years, but he can’t stop thinking about the kiss he shared with Max. If he can handle the complications of dating in a small town and the possible consequences to his career, this romance could blossom with all the colors of summer.
Book blurb is pretty good but left out some key details. Max Marshall is returning home to be closer to his mother after her stroke. The incident left Max nervous and anxious about being far away, and an opportunity in the way of opening his own tattoo studio was a good excuse to move back home.
Tyler is a deputy on the Sweetwater, West Virginia, police force, raising his daughter solo after his ex-wife passed from cancer. While he has the help of his large family, it’s still a daunting task. After he pulled Max over for speeding, the two strike up a friendship and realize there is some mutual attraction. But Tyler’s position on a small town police force, raising his daughter, and the fact that “he’s not gay” bring some added complications to any romance.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book in one sitting and I did with this. I liked the slow romance, I greatly appreciated the first sex scene for the awkwardness and realism, and – I don’t say this very often – I loved all the family dynamics. We had people expressing their concern or support, but no “tell all” besties. There was just enough emotional angst and self-doubt to keep the characters interesting but not annoying. This story hit all my happy romance buttons.
Unfortunately, a handful of items did drop this from a five star to a four star review for me: while the convenience store incident provided a catalyst for Max and Tyler’s relationship, from a medical standpoint, Tyler’s “recovery” from his injury didn’t work for me.
In the same vein, where were his fellow cops when Tyler was at the hospital? Tyler’s boss stopped in, but…no one else? No show of support by his co-workers for what he did?
When Max’s best friend and Tyler’s younger brother Shaun finds out they’re dating, Shaun punches Max in the face. This was a huge detraction for me – numerous times it had been mentioned that while Shaun and Max still kept in touch, they didn’t quite have the close relationship they did as teenagers. I found Shaun’s actions incompatible with their friendship, and inexcusable as Tyler’s younger brother.
To sum up, this story really worked for me. I appreciated the pacing of the romance, I liked the family dynamics, and how our characters had to work that romance around their jobs. The detraction’s did drop this down from a five star, but overall, a very satisfying read.