As Luke Landon surveys the crowded bar on his 36th birthday, he realizes that is full of his exes. After spending most of his life in the same city, he has pretty much been there, done him with just about everyone. The endless dating has gotten a bit wearying, but Luke hasn’t found a guy who is worth sticking around for. Better to get out early than risk losing your heart when someone else does the leaving. As he laments his loneliness, Luke is shocked to encounter his college boyfriend Owen West. He hasn’t seen Owen in 15 years, ever since they drifted apart from their heated affair. But the attraction immediately comes back and fueled by a few too many margaritas, the guys end up back in bed together.
Owen is in town applying for a new job. His 11-year relationship has fallen apart and he is considering moving back to town to take a position as a professor. Although Luke initially assumes their fling will be a one time thing, the guys can’t get enough of each other, making regular weekend trips and visits and soon falling for one another. The chemistry is still incredibly hot between them and the men both realize how much they still care for one another, even after all of these years. But Owen is not sure about making the move back to Missouri, not to mention that his ex still wants him back. But the biggest risk to their blooming relationship is Luke himself. After his father left him as a child, Luke is forever terrified of loving and losing. He’d rather let something go than take the chance of loving someone who will once again abandon him. But if he wants to have a future with Owen, he is going to need to be willing to fight for the man he loves and make sure Owen knows how much he truly wants them to be together.
I really liked this story filled with Day’s trademark humor as well as real poignancy. First of all, Luke is a total riot. He’s an unapologetic slut who loves sex and has been with just about every guy in town. Luke is also a bit of a brat, loving to goad his uptight mother and enjoying her disapproval (the story of his raucous drunken coming out is a total riot). But he is also an incredibly hard worker, dedicated and caring with his friends and coworkers. Yet Luke’s heart was definitely broken when his father left them after coming out and running off with his hairdresser. Luke has never really gotten over that abandonment and it has led him to guard his heart, afraid of being hurt again. I loved this mix of a guy who is confident and free-spririted, but also vulnerable and caring.
And Owen is the perfect boy scout, good and kind and always trying to take care of others. But he too has a raunchy side, and it was fun to see his straight-laced good boy cut loose when he and Luke are alone. I loved the way the story shows both men with their families and you can see how they shaped them. Owen with his down-to-earth, outdoorsy parents living on their Montana ranch, and Luke with his more uptight society mother who is nursing her own broken heart. The story does such a nice job of showing how these men were shaped by their families and growing up to become the men they are today.
One things I really enjoyed here (and I have noticed in other of Day’s books) is that when the characters have a conflict with one another, it doesn’t become a crazy third act crisis where no one talks to one another and drama ensues. Even when each man makes mistakes, they really stop and try to work out their problems and take care of their relationship. It is nice to see characters that don’t freak out of every problem and really make an effort to work things out. That said, I did feel Owen was a bit heavy handed at times in trying to encourage (well, maybe force) a reconciliation between Luke and his dad. I see why he wants to help and it is clearly coming from a place of love, but a bit too meddling for me.
This story is the second in the Middleton romance series, following Anything For You that I reviewed yesterday. Here Owen is applying for a job with Chad from the previous book and the four main characters share a brief scene together. The books stand alone perfectly well however and can easily be read in any order. (I did appreciate the humor that Jason was one of Luke’s many exes!)
I really enjoyed this book and am a big fan of Day’s writing. His books keep me laughing and I love the way he can fill a book with both humor and substance. Even the most irreverent party boy also has a heart and a vulnerability that makes the reader really feel for him. Once again Day has given us a story that is fun, super hot, very humorous, and with a lot of depth. I really enjoyed this one and would definitely recommend it.