Rating: 4 stars
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After being in and out of prison for years, Aiden Finn finally seems to be getting his life on track. He has a steady, if slightly boring, job as a night janitor at a local hotel. He has a parole officer who really seems to care about what happens to him. And he is conquering the urges for alcohol that never fully leave him. Aiden is trying really hard, though it is tough being out in the real world as an ex-con. He is big and tattooed and he imagines that no one reputable wants anything to do with him. But he is determined to keep his head down and get his life back on track. Slowly Aiden begins to make forward progress, joining a book club for socializing, enrolling in college courses to advance his education, and working hard at his job.
One night at work, the usual security guard is gone and Aiden spots his sexy replacement, the gorgeous and enticing Luka Gabor. Luka seems equally drawn to Aiden, and the two quickly connect, both with friendship and some hot break room blow jobs (only on Luka’s part–he never wants Aiden to reciprocate). Luka is a mysterious guy, cultured and well traveled, but unable to reveal much about his past. Aiden is not quite sure what Luka sees in him, but he really enjoys their nightly ritual of getting together during Aiden’s break, and eventually even dating. Luka is full of flowery words of love and romance, but still keeps so much of himself hidden. He insists that if Aiden learns his secrets, he will no longer want to be with Luka. Both men must figure out a way to overcome pasts that haunt them if they are going to be able to be together.
So I really liked a lot of elements of this story, my favorite part being Aiden. Fielding does a great job with him, showing us this man who is trying to get his life back on track and struggling with his past. We really see how many hurdles someone faces trying to lead a law abiding life after spending so much time in prison. The temptations are everywhere and Aiden feels a lot of insecurities, sure that everyone is judging him. I loved the part where he joins the book club. Aiden loves to read and is looking for good social activities to help keep him from getting into trouble. But he is so scared, sure the members will think badly of him, that he will have nothing to offer the club, that he will look stupid. I could really feel for him, despite his past, as he struggles to make a good life for himself.
I also liked Aiden and Luka together. At first, Aiden’s insecurities really come out with Luka. Luka is gorgeous and Aiden knows he could have any one he wants. Aiden figures he is easy and accessible and no more. But Luka soon shows him how much he really cares for Aiden, and that he really wants something to grow between them. They are sort of sweet and mushy and I liked them together. On the downside, I found the early parts of their relationship building got repetitious. Every night there is a tryst in the break room, Luka dashing in to give Aiden a spectacular blow job, some quick chat, and then done. It all fits with how the story develops, but it just started to feel a little dull to have the same encounters over and over.
Luka’s secret is a big part of the story, and one that is hinted at throughout the book, but not fully revealed until the end. My biggest problem here is that it was just too obvious to me. I get that we need to be able to look back at the end and see the signs, but I think if Fielding wanted to create a big reveal, we needed fewer clues along the way to really make the impact.
So overall I liked this one, especially the parts dealing with Aiden. He was such a great character and I loved to see his growth throughout the book. The romance end didn’t work for me quite as well, but this is a nice story and I found it enjoyable.