Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler is thrilled when he meets his sexy new neighbor, Darren Romero. Darren pushes all of Seth’s buttons — hot, funny, great personality, everything Seth wants in a guy. Until he finds out Darren moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as a youth pastor at a local church. And that might just be the deal breaker.
After coming out to his ultra-religious parents in college, Seth was completely abandoned by his family. Even though Darren is gay himself and has a totally different outlook on religion than Seth’s parents, the idea of getting involved with someone for whom Christianity is a defining point in his life is too much for Seth. Yet he and Darren have explosive chemistry and can’t seem to keep their hands off one another. And even out of the bedroom they have a wonderful connection. Not to mention that Darren shares Seth’s feelings and definitely wants to pursue something with Seth as well. But fears of rejection and letting that part of his past back into his life may be too much for Seth. He has to decide if he can get over his fears and past hurts to be with Darren, or whether he will continue to let them run his life.
Covet Thy Neighbor is the fourth book in the wonderful Tucker Springs series and the second written by L.A. Witt. The series takes place in a Colorado town and in each book we meet different residents. The stories are also written by a combination of authors: Witt, Heidi Cullinan, and Marie Sexton. This story reintroduces us to Seth Wheeler whom we met briefly earlier in the series as a friend of one of the other MCs.
I found Seth a really interesting and engaging character as he struggles with his feelings about having someone of faith in his life. Witt does an excellent job of creating so many layers here that are all intermingling together. First, Seth struggles with the basic idea of Darren’s faith, and being an atheist himself, what it means to get involved with someone who is not just a true believer, but who feels called to work as a minister. Then there is the emotional baggage from his abandonment by his family, and the fact that Darren in many ways represents the faith that led Seth’s family to reject him. Even though Darren’s beliefs are far from his family’s, at its core they all believe in the same church. And even more complex is that the fact that in some ways it is even hard to accept that Darren is so open to a more liberal interpretation of religion. After losing his family because of their Christianity, to hear that some Christians don’t even believe those things, that these rules aren’t something hard and fast but things Seth’s family just CHOSE to accept is almost more heartbreaking. So I found Seth a fascinating character and think Witt does an excellent job showing his many layers and the way this relationship with Darren scares him.
I also really liked Seth and Darren together and the way Darren continues to surprise him throughout the book. We can see right from the beginning that these guys have something special. Darren is a perfect match for Seth in all ways but one. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and seeing Seth finally come to accept that he needs to move past his own fears and be willing to take a risk for what could be an incredible reward.
I wish the pacing was a bit more balanced here. We get these guys hot and heavy up front, and then a big slow down as they begin to work through things. By necessity Seth is a little hot and cold as he works all this out in his own mind, but at times things seemed a little drawn out. And I wish we had a little more time with Darren, as we are all in Seth’s POV. At times I wanted a little more understanding of where Darren is coming from in all this and how he feels about things.
So I really liked this newest installment in Tucker Springs. Like the others it stands alone very well and you can follow along even without reading the other books. Seth was a very minor character in previous books and his backstory is fully developed here. The only past characters who appear here are Seth’s friends Jason, who owns the local club, and his partner Michael, the acupuncturist. So no problems jumping right into this one, but I am really enjoying the series and would definitely recommend it. I think this was a great addition to the series and one that definitely deals with complex issues. I think Witt does a great job of both building a wonderful relationship and also examining some difficult ideas and pulling it all together into a really enjoyable story.
Cover Review: I love this one. Both guys look just like they are described and it is really great looking
P.S. I rarely comment on titles, but I love this one. Great play on both Seth’s attraction to his hunky next door neighbor, as well as a nod to the religious themes. Nicely done.