Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
A Change Of includes two stories of men who leave their lives in the bustle of the city for a change to a smaller town, and once there, meet the men that they want to spend the rest of their lives with. The two stories are very loosely connected in that one of the MCs from each story formerly lived in Chicago and worked for the same company, though those two men don’t have any connection with each other. The stories have similar plots, but the characters have enough differences to make the stories stand on their own. Both stories were fairly good and an enjoyable read.
A Change of Scenery
Conway Danvers is fed up. Unable to move up in the construction company he works for, he finally decides it’s time for a change. He takes a job as a City Planner for the small town of Warm Spring, West Virginia. Just after arriving in town, he sees a stranded motorist. Stephen Rydell pushes his buttons from the moment Con lays eyes on him. Con helps him change the flat tire, then vows to put Stephen out of his mind. But they meet up again at the hardware store a few days later, and Con offers to help Stephen make some improvements to his home. The attraction between them can’t be denied, and a quick sexual encounter on Stephen’s porch has Con running scared.
The two men begin a relationship of sorts. While Stephen understands that Con isn’t comfortable with his sexuality, he wants more than a few hidden encounters. He pushes to get Con to accept who he is so that they can have a real relationship. When it seems that Con won’t take that final step, Stephen is ready, though sad, to walk away. Con surprises them both when he admits his love for Stephen and declares he’s ready to live his life out loud.
I really liked the set up with this one. Con knew that he had to make his own change if his life was going to improve and he did just that. I enjoyed Con’s discovery of his sexuality, though I got a little frustrated at times with the way he kept waffling. It did feel real though; he was having a tough time accepting it, and his emotions were genuine.
Stephen was an endearing character, secure in himself, and I thought he was perfect for Con. He really helped Con to accept himself and their relationship. There were a couple of moments, though, where I almost felt that Stephen was pushing too much. Con had to rearrange more than twenty years of thinking, and I would have liked to see just a bit more patience from Stephen.
But overall, these guys worked really well together and believe me when I tell you the sex between them was smoking hot. It seemed most of their connection came from their sexual encounters and I would have liked to see a little bit more that wasn’t between the sheets. I had tiny problem with miscommunications keeping them a part, and wished that they would just have an honest conversation with each other. Eventually, though, they worked it all out. I enjoyed this story and the satisfying conclusion it came to.
A Change of Pace
Drew Cunningham is forced to leave his job to save his father’s political career. Taking a job with a friend of his father’s lands him in Asheville, North Carolina. The day after he checks in to the inn where he’s staying until he finds a place to live, he meets Ridge Huntington. Ridge captivates him from the moment Drew lays eyes on him, and their attraction to one another leads them to bed.
Drew is well practiced at keeping people at arm’s length. But Ridge draws him in, and pushes him to admit his feelings. Drew’s jealousy is a bit of a problem, and he has a bad habit of judging Ridge by the men he’s been with in the past. But Ridge is not intimidated by Drew’s standoffish behavior, and together they are able to work past the obstacles and find their way to a happily ever after.
Along the same lines as the first story, Drew is the one moving to a smaller town, only this time, he really didn’t want to. Drew admits himself that he can be a bit of a jerk, and he shows us that one several occasions. But he also has a vulnerability that, when he finally let it out, was really refreshing to see. And it explained a lot of his attitude and behavior. I really appreciated having the explanation behind it, and it made him feel all the more real.
Ridge, at first, seems shy and unsure, but underneath that he has a strong backbone. He knows what he wants and he’s willing to go after it. I really liked that he called Drew on his bullshit and that he wasn’t about to just give up when Drew acted like an ass. I think it was his determination that really got these two past their hurdles, and made their connection satisfying.
Cartwright again gives us some truly steamy sex scenes, and the connection between Drew and Ridge is satisfyingly intense. But we also got to see these guys and how they worked out of bed too. I really liked Drew and Ridge together, and I was happy to see them work out their differences to make it to their HEA. There wasn’t anything too original going on here, but it was a nice story that I enjoyed.