Lead singer Saul Wilder has no choice but to take a break from touring with his band when vocal cord nodules leave him unable to sing and barely able to talk. He heads back to Atlanta, and the house his grandmother left him, so he can recuperate. While Saul is there, he decides to renovate the house. He’s a wanderer, and doesn’t really feel like he has roots, so updating the house to get it ready to sell makes sense.
When home renovation specialist Perry Abrams shows up at his door, Saul is immediately captivated by the man. Perry keeps Saul at arms length, and though he’s clearly attracted to Saul as well, wants to keep things professional. But their attraction is too strong to ignore, and Perry finally agrees to go out with Saul. The men find a connection neither expected, and their chemistry is explosive. But Saul doesn’t stay in one place, and Perry is a homebody. When a misunderstanding sends Perry running, Saul will do anything to get him back.
Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a sweet, hot, short romance and Connor delivers it in spades with Tongue & Groove. I adored Saul from the very first moment he stepped on the page, and Perry is his perfect counterpoint. These guys fit together so well, and match up perfectly in their wants, desires, and kink. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
What I liked most about this story is how real it read. Saul is recovering, trying to get his voice back in working order. He’s a musician, and I liked that he had a good head on his shoulders. Though he’s dabbled in drugs and had a few sexual partners, that’s just the life a rockstar. But he’s all about the music and doing it right, and I loved that he felt like a real person. I liked, too, that he’s just so easy in his skin. He’s long known he identifies as pansexual, though he had some struggle sorting it out. But he’s attracted to who he’s attracted to, and he doesn’t question it. Which is perfect when it comes to Perry.
One of the things that struck me about Perry was how Connor managed to convey his changeableness so well. He’s masculine, feminine, and androgynous by turns, and it all is showcased so well that it just feels like Perry in every incarnation. It’s not always an easy thing to show on page, but the author manages it well. Perry has had some rough spots in his life, and it’s led him to keeping certain things close to the vest. But at his core, he knows who he is, and if that’s him in work boots and jeans, or eyeliner and a garter belt, Perry embraces himself. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have moments of worry and doubt, but he’s just so real he could have stepped off the page. Considering this story is told solely through Saul’s POV, that was quite a feat to accomplish.
Chemistry? These guys have it. This is a shorter novella, so there are not huge passages of development. But it doesn’t need it. These guys spark off the page, both as individuals and as a couple. There’s sweet moments, and scorching heat, and they work from the get go. I loved them together.
I had only one issue with this story, and it didn’t do a lot to detract from my adoration of it, but it’s worth a mention. Despite how real Perry read, his big issue and the reason he balked and ran when Saul expressed some desires in not the perfect way read a little contrived. An event in Perry’s past makes him wary about being seen as too female, but it was so long ago, and there were particular circumstances surrounding it. I would have thought, given how solid Perry is, that he’d have worked through it mostly by now. It was definitely something that would have affected him long term, there’s no doubt. But I felt like it was too big of a thing considering who he is now. But like I said, it’s a small quibble. And even though it leads to a miscommunication between the men, it’s resolved fairly quickly in a believable way so I didn’t dwell on it too much.
All in all, this is just a really nice read. I loved the characters and watching them fall in love. I’m a fan of this author, and this story is a perfect example why. Well written, perfect pacing, and two endearing characters make for a great read. If you’re looking for a delightful read filled with sweet and heat, then this is one you should consider.