Chance at Trust
After his wealthy parents cut him off when he told them he was gay, Em finds himself in a verbally abusive relationship for five years. When his best friend, Joss, shows him he has the strength to walk away, Em finally starts to rebuild his life. Two years later and Em is surviving, but the scars run deep and dating is not on his radar. When he meets Penn at the coffee shop, he is the first man to catch Em’s attention in years.
Penn is equally attracted to Em, but Em is nervous and quickly walks away before Penn can talk to him. Wanting his best friend to move on with his life, Joss sees an opportunity to get the two men together. Em comes with a lot of emotional baggage, but Penn wants to ease his pain and give him a reason to trust again.
This book opened really strongly. Em is still trying to find his footing after his breakup and he was a character that I quickly wanted to know more about. He gets himself completely tongue tied around Penn and the author did a great job of showing how low Em’s self esteem was.
This book was short and was a quick read. The focus here was on seeing where Em was at emotionally, having the men meet, and then Penn and Em going on their first date. Em’s friend Joss gave Penn a few clues as to where Em was emotionally and Penn could also read Em to know that he was not entirely comfortable. With that in mind, Penn then pushed for a relationship with Em really hard. The men go out for the first time only hours after they meet and Penn wants Em to trust him completely and go home with him. It all moved at an incredibly fast pace. Penn did appear to be looking out for Em’s best interests, but he made Em uncomfortable at times and he came on too strong for me given the situation.
There were a couple of editing and grammar issues that were too basic to be allowed to slide through. The story does not have an ending and finishes on a to-be-continued note for the next book in the series. This was one book that from my reading viewpoint ended way too early and should not have been split up as it was. I did like Em and his story, but some of the other issues dragged the book down for me and left me ambivalent at the end.
Chance at Love
Penn and Em have been dating for a couple of months now and Penn makes no secret that he is in love with Em and wants Em to move in with him. Em is not ready to tell Penn that he loves him and is not even sure he knows what love is.
Em’s mother calls him twice a year on schedule so Em is shaken when his mother calls demanding his presence at a family dinner when he has not seen them for twelve years. Penn encourages Em to take the meeting with his parents and remains by his side when Em’s parents clearly have ulterior motives.
This book picks up after Chance at Trust, although at first it is not clear how much time has passed. Penn and Em are in a solid relationship, although we have not been allowed to see their relationship develop at all. Penn wants to be with Em all of the time, but Em still needs some space and Penn is not really pleased with this. On one hand we see Penn saying how in love he is with Em. On the other hand we see him slightly irritated that he has to count to ten to calm down and sensor how he says things so Em’s insecurities don’t get the best of him and Penn was a constant contradiction.
The story with Em’s parents has been done many times and there was nothing new there. His parents were clichéd caricatures and the entire storyline involving more of Em’s extended family was easy to see as soon as it was introduced. The guys leave off with more of a HFN as there is still one more book in the series. This is a series that I felt did more harm by breaking it up the way it was presented. There is almost no character development for Penn and the relationship between the men is rushed and not explored well, especially given Em’s past. Em was an interesting character, but the storyline overall would not be one of my top recommendations.