Teo Houdin comes from the planet Celos, the inhabitants of which have been genetically engineered to have tentacles to better help them survive on the water heavy planet. Teo was born with his tentacles, but unlike the rest of his family, he always knew he wanted to go off world, that he didn’t quite fit in on Celos. He’s made a life for himself on the Switchpoint Waystation. It’s the last space station before heading out into a whole lot of nothing, and his bar, the Klockwerk Kraken, is popular and he does a good business. When he can keep real liquor in stock that is.
Jimenez is a newly minted pilot, and after the life he’s had, he’s ready to forge a new one. He’s got a line on a ship, and though he’s aware from the price it’s probably not in great shape, he’s shocked when Teo helps him and shows that the ship is a piece of junk. He’s even more surprised when Teo offers to help him purchase a good ship from a reputable dealer. Jimenez is a little wary about taking Teo’s help, but Teo points out he needs a reliable courier to bring his shipment of alcohol, and they strike up a deal.
Both men are attracted to each other, but Teo thinks Jimenez is put off by his tentacles, and Jimenez doesn’t want Teo to know the truth about him. They dance around each other, until Jimenez gets drunk while celebrating his new purchase. They share a kiss neither man can forget, but Jimenez is gone come morning, and doesn’t return until he brings the scheduled shipment. Though Teo is not sure why he can’t get Jimenez out of him mind, he’s more than happy to see the man again. They act on their attraction, but once again, Jimenez slips out.
So begins their relationship, with Jimenez never giving much of himself, and disappearing in the morning. But the two men slowly begin to get to know each other. When Jimenez’s secret about his past comes out, Teo is shocked and reacts badly. Jimenez leaves again, this time without any contact and Teo can’t apologize for his actions. When a fire breaks out on a docked ship, Jimenez is facing injuries that might ground him, and is being charged with crimes of which he may be guilty. And though he tries to push Teo away, Teo isn’t going. He’s determined to standby Jimenez, whether that man wants it or not. But there’s no telling if it’ll be enough.
The Klockwerk Kraken is, at its heart, a tale about people. It is science fiction, and there are clear elements of the genre throughout, more so than just taking place on a space station. The world building was a bit lacking for me. I would have liked to know more about how certain things worked. But at the same time, I though the progression of the story and growth of the characters was good, and so I was more readily able to overlook my issues with the world building to find a really solid tale.
This story was by turns, poignant and heartbreaking and adorably sweet, with just the right amount of sexy heat thrown in. And it was all down to the MCs. Teo is an open minded and caring man. He is who he is, and knows what he believes is right. He has flaws of course, but that only makes him more relatable. Shortly after we first meet him, he’s helping out Jimenez, a stranger, because it’s the right thing to do and that gives us a clear insight to his character. He wasn’t perfect, but he was real, and I enjoyed him immensely. Not to mention that his chemistry with Jimenez was full of heat and life, and sizzled and sparked on the page. And yes guys, of course there is some tentacle sex because let’s face it, how could there not be?
Jimenez was more of mystery. It’s the way he presents himself, and it makes perfect sense for who and what he is. I found myself invested in him from the get go. Jimenez was a very well crafted, multi-layered character. I believed him whole heartedly, from start to finish. And I was right there with him as he went through everything. My heart broke for him, even as I admired his strength and determination. He’s overcome so much, and he’s still working at it every day. I wanted the triumph for this guy so badly.
And that brings me to my one quibble with the book. The last quarter or so of the story felt a little rushed to me, and a lot seemed to happen in a short space of time. More than that, I felt a little disinherited by what happened Jimenez. After everything else with him was settled, there was yet one more thing to go wrong. Now, I understand why the author did it, and I see how it was the push these guys needed to get to the happily ever after. However, for how invested I was in this character and in his happiness, I’m going to be honest and say that I would have liked to see a slightly different ending.
But overall, I really enjoyed this story, the characters especially. All in all, we have a really nice, character driven story that drew me in and kept me engaged. I have no problems recommending it to you.