When Eddie Russell accidentally crashes his car near a construction site, he sees his very own hard hatted angel. Wish Carver helps Eddie with his car and insists he go to the hospital to get checked out. Wish is gorgeous and Eddie is immediately attracted, but at only 24, Wish is 20 years Eddie’s junior and way too young for him.
Wish doesn’t think he is too young however, and makes his interest in Eddie very clear. And when Eddie realizes that Wish’s kink for giving pain fits perfectly with Eddie’s need to receive it, Eddie agrees to a one time thing. Yet once again, Wish knows his mind and is determined to try for more with Eddie, despite the age gap.
Once Eddie finally lets himself give it a shot with Wish, it turns out the young man is just what he needs. The guys tear it apart in bed, and they get along great outside of it. They begin to form a real relationship, one that they can both see going long term. But when the men find themselves on opposite sides of town politics, it begins to throw a wrench in things, especially when Eddie seems more focused on the needs of his best friend Ben than on Wish, and Wish runs whenever things get tough. The men will need to talk to one another and figure out what they really want in order to have a future together.
Rough Road is the second in Vanessa North’s Lake Lovelace series and it picks up the story of a fun side character from the first book, Double Up. There Eddie is all snark and drama and over protectiveness toward Ben. And actually, here he is about the same! But we also get to know him much better and learn more about what is behind his public face.
This story has two main conflicts. The first centers around the age gap and Eddie’s concerns about getting involved with Wish, especially given his kink for pain and even a little physical conflict during sex. Eddie worries Wish won’t be able to handle his needs, and even if can, that he is corrupting the younger man. Wish puts all those doubts to rest pretty quickly and these guys are sexy and steamy together with great chemistry. I love age gap stories, mostly because I love that sense of the more inexperienced partner learning about sex and love from the older one. But I also find I love the flip side, when the younger man leads things between them sexually and that is what we get here. They two guys have a definitely S/M relationship with lots of kinky play. I didn’t find it too intense, but there is a big focus on pain play and how it works for both men. It is super hot and the scenes are very well done.
The second conflict centers around a political issue in the town regarding the building of a new bridge, and more specifically, how it affects both men. Wish needs the bridge bill to pass so he can earn enough money to stay near his sick mother. Eddie faces not only losing his business if the bridge is built, but the shop that employs his friend Ben. I had a little bit harder time with this part of the conflict. First off, I could see how both men had legitimate concerns. Wish needs the money. But despite being wealthy, the bridge still impacts Eddie’s business, which would have to be moved, and his employees (Ben included). The book sort of seems to dismiss all of Eddie’s issues as unimportant as the guys get into the conflict and the ultimate resolution, which I found problemmatic. The focus then shifts to Eddie’s connection Ben and how it is unhealthy for him, which is something I think is well presented. But I do wish we got a better sense of why. Why does Eddie feel so overprotective with Ben? Yes, Ben has had an intense past, but that doesn’t seem to fully explain it. Why is Eddie so protective in a way he is with no one else, even at risk of his own happiness? I just wish we had gotten a little more insight into Eddie and his personality here.
In the end, both these conflicts are sort of on the light side, and most of the story is the development of the relationship and the sexual connection between the two men. Despite the super kinky sex, this book is a pretty light and easy read, one that went quickly and is not too intense. I found it really entertaining and I loved Eddie and Wish together.