Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: All Romance
Jason Davis is having a tough time lately. His live in boyfriend left him, sticking him with a mortgage he can’t afford. The night club he owns is draining him financially and he is barely making ends meet at work or at home. And to make things worse, Jason suffers from regular bouts of debilitating shoulder pain as a result of a bike injury that makes moving incredibly and nauseatingly painful. Jason’s close friend Seth encourages him to give acupuncture a try, recommending a doctor who is also a good friend. Jason is not only skeptical, but also so short on cash he can’t really afford the appointments. But his pain gets bad enough that he finally figures it is worth giving it a shot.
When Jason meets his handsome doctor Michael Whitman, he is immediately attracted to the gorgeous man. And he is shocked to find that the treatments actually help quite a bit. Jason also learns that Michael is as financially strapped as he is between owning his practice and trying to maintain his own home after his divorce. Realizing they might be able to help each other out, Jason suggests they become roommates to save on living expenses. Michael is a bit wary at first, particularly because he has a 7-year-old son over whom he has joint custody. But ultimately he decides that this is the ideal solution to both their financial concerns.
Living together brings on a whole new set of problems of the sexual frustration variety. Jason is totally hot for Michael and living together is making him crazy. Seth confirmed that Michael is straight, so Jason has no expectations of anything happening between them, only fantasies. So he is pleasantly surprised when Michael admits a shared attraction. But just as things are getting started between them, Michael calls it off, worrying about the impact on his son, their doctor/patient relationship, and the fact that he isn’t out to anyone but Jason. The attraction is there between them, but there might just be too many hurdles to make things work.
First off, I will say that I found the focus on Michael’s practice and the acupuncture fascinating and really well done. I have been undergoing acupuncture treatments for a while due to some chronic neck pain, and I thought the descriptions of the process were really spot on. Either Witt has had some experience in this area or she has done extensive research. Everything from the description of the office, to the feeling of the needles, to the burning herbs really evoked my own experiences and I found it quite interesting to read.
I also really liked Jason and found I could really empathize with how he is just trying to hang on as everything is crumbling around him. Any one or two things might have been manageable, but he is struggling in so many areas and just trying to keep afloat. I enjoyed his inner voice and appreciated his determination to work things out rather than giving up.
I do wish we got a bit more of Michael, however. The story is told only from Jason’s POV and I didn’t quite feel I ever got to know Michael or feel a connection with him as well as I wanted. Michael is struggling with his own challenges, dealing with his divorce and shared custody of his son and running his business. Up until meeting Jason, he wasn’t ready to accept he was gay, and suddenly he is facing this whole shift in his life as he accepts his feelings and begins to come out. So I found him to be a really interesting character, but I felt a little removed from him because so much of his struggle happens internally and we don’t really get to see it. As a result, a lot of his behavior seemed at bit randomly timed – one day he is interested in Jason, then he thinks they shouldn’t be together, then he wants to be with him again. I think if we had a bit more insight into his POV this would have helped me understand his behavior and his decisions more easily.
I also wished for more of a sense of what was drawing Michael and Jason together other than mutual sexual attraction. Jason is absolutely desperate for Michael, so clearly the sexual chemistry is there. And if all they had going was casual sex, that would be fine. But the story definitely takes us in the direction that there is more to their relationship than just sex, and yet we really don’t see that developing in the story. I would have liked more time of them together, rather than so much solely of Jason’s internal voice so I could have felt their relationship develop more.
I did enjoy this book and really liked the set up of the story. I also really enjoyed Jason and Michael’s mutual friend Seth and am hoping that we get to see more of him in future books (tattoo shop owner, yum!). I would have liked to feel more connection between the guys and a bit more of sense of Michael. But overall I found it an enjoyable story.
Just a note: This story is the first in the new Tucker Springs series, a collaboration between Witt and authors Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton. I am really looking forward to seeing how the series develops with different authors writing each book. I interviewed L.A. to ask her more about it, and that will post a bit later on along with a book giveaway, so be sure to check that out.