Tristan has always lived in Harborside and he’s exactly where he wants to be. He’s an asset to the bar he works at and he’s content with most aspects of his life in this resort town. All aspects except his love life. Tristan just ended another bad relationship and he’s taking a break from all things men. He falls easy and lets his heart lead him and he’s exhausted and down from being taken advantage of yet again. This is precisely the moment gorgeous Alex Wells walks into the bar.
Alex has just returned to Harborside after months in the hospital and eight years in the military. His injuries caused him to miss his beloved grandmother’s funeral and he’s guilty, angry, and scarred, both physically and emotionally. Alex is ready to live his life out in the open, something that wasn’t an option in the Army, but revealing all of himself in front of a lover is something that’s a work in progress. Alex’s grandmother had spoken often of Tristan, and when Alex seeks him out, one look at the man gives Alex lots of ideas.
The heat between the men is at a full blaze the moment their eyes meet and when they spend time together they learn almost everything about them is compatible. Everything except Alex’s fears of being out when he’s anywhere near a military base. Tristan is determined not to be hidden in public and is also determined to break through Alex’s defenses once and for all. But while the heat rages out of control between these men, Alex’s demons also run deep.
Tempting Tristan is written by a new-to-me author, Melissa Foster, and from what I could determine, this is her first m/m title. This book is listed as book three in the Harborside series and the entire series offers a range of pairings. I haven’t read any of the earlier books, but mostly this book worked well on its own, especially the main aspect of Tristan and Alex. There are a lot of side characters that show up and Tristan at times breaks character to inform the reader who they are.
So on to Tristan and Alex. They are both dynamic characters that each bring something different, yet then complement each other so well. Tristan has lived in the same town all of his life and is content there. He knows the area and all of the people in it. He’s a good guy with a lot of friends and is always looking out for them all. He became friendly with Alex’s grandmother, but never knew much about the man himself.
Alex is a bit more closed off. He came looking for Tristan once he arrived back in town and the attraction between these guys is intense and seriously scorching hot. The chemistry is electric, starts fully dialed up, and only increases from there. Tristan isn’t looking for a hookup, a date, or a relationship, but Alex is definitely looking for it all and he wants it all with Tristan. So you have to go with that aspect and I was doing exactly that. While Tristan tries to hold himself back, once these guys touch it is open season and even with Alex’s issues they jump right into the deep end and their relationship then moves quickly. There really isn’t a lot of drama or angst here even given the situation. Alex is battling back from the effects of being at war and the effects it has left on his mind and body. Tristan challenges him and pushes him and while it works in some ways, in others it reads as Tristan saving Alex with his words and his body.
Tristan and Alex just had a way of working for me together, but some of the prose in the book was completely over the top and melodramatic with a lot of wordy inner dialogue. It’s pretty much the style of the entire book, but here is just one example of Alex describing how Tristan is breaking down his defenses:
I’ve spent years locked away in a fortress, and in no time at all he’s scaled the gates, crept inside, and begun opening my blackout curtains.
There were also elements that I observed that offered a similar style to what I associate with m/f novels and then Alex comes out with this line. Now Alex knew he was gay and knew he wanted his life to be with a man, yet his thoughts turn to this and it wasn’t clear what the author was specifically getting at here:
I knew I wanted a family of my own one day, which meant being the man of the house. Earning the lion’s share of the income.
The book was also written with dual POV, which was clearly labeled, but the guys had a similar voice and it wasn’t always effortless to know which character was speaking.
If you subscribe to the notion of a guilty pleasure, this book could then definitely fall into that category. While the dialogue was over the top at times, it also had a romantic element to it that had me caught up in Tristan and Alex’s love story. There is one more m/m title coming up in this series and I am intrigued enough with the character of Brandon to check that one out. As for Tempting Tristan, look for this one if you are looking for a book with two characters that complement each other well and bring the heat.