Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Matt is nearing graduation from college and is at loose ends as to what to do with his future. One of his options is to join the Marine Corps. He heads into the recruitment office and is met with a surprise. Cole is the only one in the office, he’s not a recruiter, and he tells Matt not to join the Corps. There is something about Cole that makes Matt listen, and he decides the Marines aren’t for him. But he’s intrigued by Cole and goes back to the office again.
Cole is attracted to Matt, so when the younger man shows up with lunch, he accepts. Cole finds himself sharing more about himself with Matt than he normally would tell a stranger. Then Matt shows up a second time with lunch, and by the time the meal is over, they make plans for a date. The date leads to the bedroom, and their relationship grows from there. Spending time together, Matt and Cole find they fit.
Cole’s former team leader is pressuring him to come to a wedding, but Cole doesn’t want anything to do with his former platoon. With Matt’s support, he’s able to stand firm in his decision. Cole is just biding his time until his service time is up and he can leave the Marines. Suffering from PTSD, he knows it’s time to move on from the Corps. When his tour of service is over, he and Matt are ready to settle down in the next stage of their lives.
Open Endings was a quick, sweet, low angst read. I liked it and thought it had a great premise. What was there was great, but I felt that there were some undeveloped points that left the story feeling a bit lacking.
Matt, like a lot of people his age, has no idea what he wants to do with his future. He feels like he needs to do something important, to make something of himself, and so finds himself unsettled. Which is why he visits the Marine recruitment office in the first place. I thought the author did a great job showing us how Matt was feeling and I understood completely where he was coming from. I liked the way he sorted out that working for the family business wasn’t something that he had to do, but was instead, something he truly enjoyed. Matt showed a lot of growth throughout this story and it was great to see. He was one of my favorite parts of this book. One minute he had a lot of confidence, the next he’d be insecure. Rather than making it feel like he was wishy washy, Matt read true to his age.
Cole, on the other hand, was a bit harder for me to connect to. I just didn’t feel his depth. The author could have explored a lot more with him. He has PTSD and probably survivor’s guilt, but he himself says he’s not sick anymore. He admits he’s not completely all better, but that his night terrors and flashbacks still happen occasionally. We do see one flashback, but it lasts only a minute or two before he is able to ground himself. While on the one hand, I found myself glad that he was in such a good place, I felt it didn’t ring entirely true. Not for the length of time he’d been back stateside. On top of that, it was one of the reasons that he was holding himself back from taking things further with Matt. Except it seemed that Cole actually had a really good handle on it, so it seemed a bit contrived as a reason for not taking that step.
This was a relatively short novella, and I think the length weakened the narrative just a tiny bit. There were some places that I would have liked to see the story fleshed out more. For example, when Cole’s former team leader shows up unexpectedly, Matt answers the door and then goes to let Cole know that the man has appeared. We don’t get to see Cole’s reaction, though. Matt just tells us about it. It distanced me a bit from the story and the characters.
But I have to say that these two guys were really sweet together, and I did enjoy their interaction and growing relationship. If you’re looking for a sweet, quick read with just a bit of heavy emotion, then definitely pick this one up.