Casey is a successful business man who runs an eco consulting business. That means he works with other companies to help them “go green.” Casey’s so busy he rarely goes out and definitely doesn’t have time for a relationship. On his 40th birthday, he allows his employees to take him out for a few drinks, and he winds up getting totally tanked and needs to call an Uber to get him home.
Ed is the Uber driver. He takes it upon himself to make sure Casey gets into his apartment and into bed. Turns out they talked a lot while in the car, and he’s taken a shine to Casey and doesn’t want anything to happen to him in the night. So, he sleeps on the couch in the living room and makes Casey some soup in the morning.
When Casey wakes up and finds himself with a strange tattoo, he freaks out. He doesn’t remember getting it, and he’s never really wanted one before. Also, his mother would kill him. He’s got no memory of Ed either, so imagine his shock when he sees a stranger in his house cooking for him. Casey lays some blame for the tat on Ed because he feels Ed shouldn’t have let him do anything so crazy while he was drunk. Ed says that once they were in the shop, Mystic Tattoos, Casey instantly sobered up and wanted to be inked.
The two men talk over chicken soup, compare strange tattoos, and realize they have a nice chemistry and are attracted to each other, so they decide to date. And so it begins…
I’ve had to suspend my belief for a lot of books. However, with One Too Many, I (forgive the pun, here) had to do it one too many times. There were a lot of eye rolling situations, the first being that an Uber driver would just invite himself into the apartment of a fare and decide to spend the night to make sure the guy was ok. Next was the tattoo itself. No ethical driver (or artist for that matter) would take/tattoo a man who was so drunk. Ed swears Casey immediately sobered up as soon as they walked into Mystic Tattoos, but still, he shouldn’t have even been there. After that comes Casey’s reaction to the ink. Yes, he was surprised, but one of the first thoughts he had was how his mother was going to be upset. Hell-OOO! 40-year-old man? Pretty sure asking Mommy for permission to do anything should have gone out the window 22 years ago.
I’m a big fan of insta-love. I believe in love at first sight…certainly lust at first sight. Casey and Ed admit they’re attracted to each other, and they both seemed to want the same thing in life…a steady, permanent relationship. They discuss this in such a calm, almost clinical way, and finally decide they want to try dating, but with no sex. However, Ed gives Casey a goodbye handy before he leaves, and he won’t let Casey reciprocate. No sex, eh?
After that, the story gets choppy. Weeks go by. Then months. Casey is very busy setting up a second location for his business, so they don’t see each other much. Ed gets a strange case of cold feet, and he decides to go out driving. He’s searching for Mystic Tattoos because when they went back to find the shop the day after Casey’s ink incident, it wasn’t there. Sure enough he finds the shop, but it’s not in the same location. Things take a turn so completely unlike I’ve ever read, I should have been excited. I have to admit, though, by the time the big reveal comes along, I’d nearly checked out of One Too Many. I hadn’t felt any connection to Casey or Ed. They were supposed to be head over heels for each other, but I just wasn’t feeling it. This made me sad because I so wanted to love them. I so wanted to love this book. There was the neatest concept, and it missed the mark.
Everything ties together neatly and exactly how you think it should. I suppose that was satisfying, but it left me wanting more. Amazon says the book is 70 pages long, but it felt more like 20, and I think if it could have been a little longer, Bailey Bradford could have included a lot more detail, a lot more suspense, and a whole lot more time spent with Ed and Casey.
This is the first book in an upcoming series. I’m willing to bet Gene is going to be up to his old tricks in each installment. While I didn’t enjoy One Too Many as much as I wanted, I may be willing to check out the rest of the series. Maybe it will come into its own and improve.