Rating: 3.25 stars
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Abe Behr has been running the family construction company since he was 16 years old. Pouring his blood, sweat, and tears into running Behr Construction, he’s sacrificed having a social life to ensure that his family members have jobs. Yet, when he discovers someone has been stealing from the company, he is forced to bring in a CPA to uncover who the culprit is.
Hiring Jeff Mason, Abe is surprised to find himself attracted to the out and proud gay man. Having considered himself to be asexual, Abe isn’t sure how to go about acting on that attraction. Good thing Jeff is willing to teach him.
As Abe and Jeff begin a romantic relationship, Abe isn’t prepared for the bigotry he receives from the community. With more and more gays moving into the community, he decides to take a stand as a business owner that may jeopardize his business and personal life.
This story actually has three different themes running through it. The first being Abe’s sexuality. Abe has been so focused on running the business that he hasn’t ever dated. In fact, he is pretty much convinced that he is asexual as he’s never been attracted to anyone, male or female. So when Jeff walks in the door to interview for the job of finding out whose stealing from the company, Abe is unprepared for the feelings he has towards him.
The second theme is someone stealing from the company and how Abe and Jeff try to figure out who it is. Behr Construction has always had a policy of hiring family members. Besides Abe’s two brothers, the majority of other employees consist of various Behr relatives. For Abe, realizing someone is stealing from the company is bad enough, but knowing that person is family makes it twice as bad. It also forces Abe to thoroughly investigate what is going on before casting stones.
Then the third theme is the whole business with the homophobia gripping the community now that more and more gay people moving in. From vandalism at construction sites, to businesses refusing to do work for people because of their sexuality, to family members spouting off about homosexuality, the community is at a crossroads of how to deal with the newest members.
Unfortunately, for me, these themes all seemed under developed. Given that this story is a novella, the author squeezed all of it in less than 100 pages. In order to do so, most of what is going on happens off the pages and we are told rather than shown what is going on. This is one of those books where there is so much happening, yet we only get bits and pieces of it because the book is so short. My personal opinion is this book needed to be at least another 100 pages long to adequately flush out the story.
My other complaint is that so much was made of Abe having thought himself asexual – and therefore a virgin hero – yet we weren’t really getting much in the way of sparks flying on the pages between these two. So when Abe starts thinking the “L” word, I was a bit flabbergasted.
Overall, having enjoyed the other two stories in this series, I was disappointed that this story didn’t have the same vibe going on. Instead, there just seemed to be too much else happening and very little romance. For me, this story was a miss. On the plus side, we do get to revisit past characters and catch up on what’s been going on in this community!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.