Rating: 3.75 stars
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Five years ago Dr. Gil Kelly got caught hooking up with his gardner and his life pretty much fell apart. His wife left him, his son Zach won’t speak to him, and he is the subject of ridicule and gossip in his town. Since then Gil has pretty much retreated from everything, living in self imposed exile, and getting his only real sexual connection from online hookups.
When waiting for just such a meeting, Gil runs into Tom Martinez, Zach’s best friend who is back in town after taking over his parents’ restaurant. Gil has always been fond of Tom, who was mature and responsible even as a child. And now as an adult, Gil can’t help the attraction he feels to the gorgeous man. But drooling over his son’s friend isn’t going to get him anywhere and he knows he should just stay away. Yet when Tom asks for Gil to have dinner with him, as he always does when they meet, Gil finds he can’t resist.
As it turns out, the attraction between the men is mutual. Gil can’t quite believe it when he finds out Tom has been pining for him for years. And being with the sweet, sexy man is a dream come true for Gil. Things fall into place just perfectly between the two of them, despite the large age gap, but it is not all smooth sailing. Dating a man his son’s age is likely to only add fuel to the fire of the small town gossip mill, alienating Gil further. Not the mention that he is certain that Zach will not take the news well, especially given how poor their relationship is already. Now that Gil and Tom have found happiness together, Gil runs the risk of further losing his family and stirring up more trouble in town in the process.
Chasing the Sun is the second in Flores’ Provincetown series, though it actually takes place in Texas. The link here is that Gil is the father of Zach, the hero from the first book, When Love Takes Over. We hear about how strained the relationship is between father and son in the first book, and here we get to see things from Gil’s side. It turns out Gil is a man who is really suffering from his actions. He realizes he made big mistakes by cheating on his wife and not being open about being gay. And now he is paying the price. He has lost people he thought were friends, his ex-wife has become bitter and resentful, and his son won’t even talk to him. Flores does a nice job making us see things from Gil’s side, and how bad he feels for what he has done. His remorse feels real, and after five years, I wanted to see him get out of exile and become once again accepted and happy.
I am a sucker for an age difference story, so I was intrigued by this set up. We learn from the start that Tom has always been mature and solid beyond his years, and it never felt weird to me to see these guys together. Tom is clearly drawn to older guys and Gil is crazy for the sexy younger man, so they felt like a good fit and their attraction to one another felt very real.
I did have a few problems with the relationship however. First off, this is crazy fast instalove. The guys connect for dinner and within weeks are declaring their love all over the place and announcing it publicly. In fact, Tom pretty much says he has been in love with Gil for years (despite the fact that their contact in adulthood has been limited to occasional dinners) and Gil basically says they have been in love and committed since that first night together. It just was way too fast for me, especially since Gil seemed mostly in lust at the start of the book. Which is totally fine, but how does being attracted to this man turn into love in one night? And then within weeks Gil is talking about how being with Tom has made him a changed man, completely adjusting his outlook and affecting his interactions with friends and family. It just seemed way too fast for me to buy into the supposed intensity of their feelings so quickly.
I think I could have moved past that except that their immediate connection just seems like a way to set up the second half of the book where Gil faces the townspeople who have shunned him, along with figuring out how to bring Zach back into his life. He knows Zach will be upset about his relationship with Tom. Yet his feelings about Tom are apparently strong enough after so short a time to be worth risking his already tenuous relationship with his son. As Gil’s daughter says,
You’ve chosen to fall in love with the one person who could prevent this family from ever healing the wounds that you inflicted upon us.
And it is true. This relationship could make reconnecting with Zach impossible, yet Gil still moves forward.
He needed his son to know that he loved him unconditionally, but his love for Tom was equally strong and just as deep.
Again, this is after only a few weeks. I guess I needed to feel like the love and relationship between Tom and Gil was strong enough to be worth the risks Gil takes with Zach. If we had seem them together for years, or watched them slowly build to a romantic partnership, I would have had an easier time with this. But as it is, they are barely together at all before they are in love, Gil is proclaiming himself a changed man, and he is out there risking alienating his son forever.
That all said, I do like the way the book comes together at the end and how things ultimately resolve. I enjoyed seeing Gil find his place in town again. I also liked the way we see the family come together, and especially how Gil’s ex is shown as a real person with real feelings, rather than just an angry bitch. So even though the middle was a little bumpy for me, Flores does bring it all together in the end and things work out nicely.
So I enjoyed this story but found it a little uneven. I just needed to see more relationship development between these guys for me to be wholly invested in their romance and to accept the decisions Gil makes in the story. But I enjoyed them as a couple, they are super sexy (as are all of Flores’ couples), and it was a nice connection to the earlier book in the series. I am definitely looking forward to continuing to follow along here and see where the rest of the books take us.
Cover Review: Yet another beautiful cover featuring the art of Michael Breyette. And I know I can not be the only one who spies an outline of something in that teeny tiny bathing suit, am I?
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.