Rating: 4.25 stars
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Jake is cranky while recovering from his injuries after falling off the roof, and Chance and Tucker still in Arkansas helping out Tor. Despite the circumstances, the attraction between the four men is continually ramping up leaving everyone emotionally stretched. Chance is trying to reconcile the love he has for Tucker with his new feelings for Jake, while balancing out how he feels about Tucker and Tor being attracted to each other.
When the miles separate the couples again, work obligations get in the way of the couples communicating and feelings that have been brewing for so long reach the boiling point. Chance and Tucker have never had an open relationship and Jake and Tor have certainly learned from past mistakes that they have no interest in repeating. It’s the longing that is clearly in the way, but what feels like a good idea also has consequences for both couples.
Ever since reading Bareback, Jake and Tor have been on my short list of favorite couples. When I heard they were going to be in a crossover series, I quickly got caught up to speed on Chance and Tucker’s story so I would be then able to continue to track the foursome. The first book, Never Too Early: The Beginning had us getting reacquainted with all of the guys, showing where they were as couples, and then building on an emotional relationship for all of them. This book, which picks up directly after the first in the series, was also one of the sequels that I was most looking forward to this year.
The first half of the book was very slow. While there is rich and well written detail, we sit through chapters of them having breakfast, sitting on the couch together, going for a ride around the property, and saying goodbye, and it’s all rather drawn out. Now Jake is injured, I get that. But, during the time Chance and Tucker are at the ranch, there is very little advancement on the relationships until it’s time for them to leave. There is also limited time for the men to be together as respective couples. The first book was the set up for the emotional bond to be created and for the first half of this book that bond is only slightly expanded. While I can appreciate the authors taking this expanded relationship slowly as there was a whole lot at stake for these couples, the entire first book in this series was the slow burn and I wanted something more to happen during the first part of this book to further advance the story. When Chance and Tucker return home, work obligations have them going radio silent, and Chance’s actions and reactions to Jake go completely counter to what they had felt and discussed at the ranch. I was then a bit baffled by Chance’s demeanor and behavior at this point.
When Chance and Tucker return to the ranch for the holidays during the second half of the book, this was when the story started to take off for me. The guys pair off and emotional needs as well as physical longings are played out. The new pairings are all a bit intense and when Jake says that he’s not jealous or scared, but that he’s worried, I knew exactly how he felt. Most of the story was told from Jake and Chance’s viewpoint, which worked well, but I also could have used some more from Tucker to see where his thoughts and emotions stood regarding Chance. The authors did show how the new pair ups met the needs of the characters and these authors still know how to make the heat rise between the men. What was missing a bit for me was then a balance of check backs between the main couples. The focus here shifted more to the new pairings that were going on, and I was looking, especially in Chance and Tucker’s direction, for them to also check in with each other on page, as there was a feeling of it all being separate, instead of them all still being together emotionally. So while the second half of the book moved the relationships along, I was back and forth on how the big picture was shown overall. One last note: in the first book, Jake and Chance started calling Tucker and Tor “twins” since they were so much alike. This continued on here and while it was only one word, from my view, it became too repetitive and there was a noticeable overuse of the word, which then lost its effectiveness.
If you are fans of Jake, Tor, Chance and Tucker, and especially if you have read the first book in this series, it is certainly worthwhile to spend more time with these guys. While this book didn’t take me everywhere I was expecting or hoping it would, bottom line, I was ecstatic to be back in their world. The ending once again left me wanting more and the next book in the series is once again at the very top of my list.