Aiden Price is a successful man working in NYC tearing apart businesses for profit. He’s not proud of it, nor is he proud of his hidden sexuality. Growing up in Texas, with a bigot for a father, didn’t help Aiden cope with being a gay man. None of that seems to matter much when his beloved mother is struck by a car and lingers in a coma for weeks on end, until Aiden makes the worst, final decision. In the aftermath, Aiden seeks solace from an old boyfriend and Aiden’s distant father and opportunistic sister learn of Aiden’s secret. They respond vociferously and negatively.
While dealing with his mother’s personal effects, Aiden uncovers a foot locker and series of letters written to his mother’s much older, deceased brother while he was in Vietnam. The letter-writer, Bibby, is so enamored of his Uncle Georgie that Aiden takes a flight of fancy up to Valley Forge, Montana on a quest to find Bibby and return the letters.
While in this tiny town, Aiden is soon drawn into the OCD, effervescent, engaging whirlwind that is Cody. Cody is a little younger and completely—one might say graphically–out on his YouTube channel.
Cody is compelled to help Aiden, and in the short time they spend together they bond. Cody’s outrageous with odd quirks—like pica—that endear him to Aiden. Aiden’s so trapped in grief over his mother’s death and the treatment by the rest of his family that Cody’s kindness is a balm and a life preserver. I truly loved Cody’s family who embrace all-comers and in the best way possible. This little Montana town shows more compassion than all the Texans…and Aiden’s life is readjusted. Cody becomes less a guide and more a necessity as they explore a brief fling. Finding Bibby is less of a priority, and yet it happens in the least likely of circumstances. There is so much heart packed in here, especially with Bibby and Aiden meeting, and I liked it.
For me the writing was uncomplicated and straight-forward. Expect some level of cliché and sweeping generalization. It’s a breeze of a story that unfolded in exactly the way I’d predicted. I’m not saying that as a fault. It’s nice to have a book go the way I think it will, and I enjoyed the journey in Aiden’s occasionally angst-riddled brain. He never expected to find someone like Cody up in Montana, and is unsure how to deal with it—mostly because Aiden cannot picture himself staying there. But, as he tries to leave Cody, his loving family, and genial Valley Forge behind, Aiden’s down for some serious introspection. What else does a person do on a two-day road trip?
Expect a bit of sexytimes, some humorous incidents (poor Cody!), and an engaging romance that will leave you feeling good. All Aiden’s heartache gets wrapped up tight, and he eschews further contact with those who refuse to accept him as he is. I think I might have liked this one a LITTLE better if there had been some upfront dealing with his father’s homophobia, and maybe scratched deeper into the emotions department. That said, this is book that will satisfy anyone looking for a fun and fresh romance, with characters that are just a bit outside the norm.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.