lickety splitRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Patch Hastle moved away from rural Texas as soon as he could, making a life for himself in New York City as a model and a DJ. Patch has nothing but bad memories and no desire to return to his tiny town. Upon his parent’s death, however, Patch needs to come back to settle their affairs, including selling the family farm.

Tucker Biggs is a former rodeo cowboy and Patch’s father’s best friend. Tucker has lived a hard and somewhat wild life, and now he lives in a trailer on the farm and works as the caretaker. Tucker made Patch’s life miserable when he lived at home, and Patch can’t bear the idea of seeing Tucker again. Yet the family’s will requires Tucker be involved in the decisions about the farm and so there is no way Patch can avoid him.

Although part of Patch hates Tucker, there is a part of him that is also drawn to the sexy cowboy that haunted all of Patch’s childhood fantasies. Seeing Tucker again at once infuriates Patch, but also reignites those feelings he could never avoid. Now that Patch is all grown up, sparks fly between the men, and they begin some hot hookups. As they spend time together, both men realize the other has changed and they start falling for one another. But Patch has a life in New York, one that includes selling the farm to help finance a new club. And Tucker has lived far too long in rural Texas to find a way to change his life now. Both men have developed feelings for one another, but finding a way that they can be together is harder than they thought.

Lickety Split by Damon Suede is a book that was pretty much screaming my name. Between the age difference, the enemies to lovers vibe, and the hot and sexy romance, this is the kind of book I will almost always grab. So I am happy to say that I really enjoyed this one, and I love that Suede manages to take a book that is super sexy, but also give it so much depth and heart.

So let me start there. I think a lot of what people are going to talk about with this book is the heat. While it definitely isn’t all sex, the scenes are intense and dirty and crazy hot. There is a big old, hot and sexy cowboy thing going on here that works really well. Although Patch certainly has sexual experience, Tucker kind of takes him under his wing and shows him a side of sex that is different from what he knows. Tucker is all about drawing it out, the slow pace, and the ultimate reward. And he teaches Patch, a guy who is constantly running, how to slow down and enjoy. The guys are big on edging, which I will admit is a big reading kink of mine, so I think the story is super hot and one that will draw in a lot of readers.

But what I really loved here is that this story is so much more than just the hot sex. Suede manages to add such interesting layers to these characters and this story so that it transcends just the sexy stuff. I loved the play on the title here. Ok, first off, yes, it is kind of a dirty pun. And we see how it plays with the sex scenes, as Tucker’s whole vibe is taking things slow and savoring. But it also plays out in the vibe between these guys. Tucker is a guy who has barely gone anywhere his whole life. He was a rodeo cowboy, slept with tons of women, fathered some random kids, got fired from jobs, and basically has gone nowhere fast in his life. He is content with his quiet life now living in a little trailer on the farm and doesn’t need much else. In comparison, Patch got out of Texas for something more and bigger as soon as he could. He lives a fast paced life, one of glamor and parties and intensity. So part of what is so nice about this story is seeing these men come together and to an extent meet in the middle. But also to see Patch learn to appreciate things he has missed along the way, and to re-examine what he thought he knew about his life. I appreciated the growth in both of these men over the course of the book and the tender caring between them.

Part of this story is also a enemies to lovers vibe as Patch comes home full of hate for Tucker, but at the same time he is totally hot for him despite himself. Suede makes the most of this dynamic, showing Patch both wanting distance from Tucker, but also being drawn to him over and over. We see those mixed emotions and it plays so well into the story. I will say, however, that I wished for a bit more clarity on what exactly happened in their past. It takes a while for us to get any specifics on what happened between them that left Patch so bitter and resentful. It also becomes clear that Tucker views their past quite differently, and with Patch as our POV character, it was hard to tell whose memories were accurate. Given that this hate/love dynamic is such a big part of the story, more clarity here would have helped. Along similar lines, we don’t get much detail on what happened between Patch and his parents. He left angry and still harbors really negative feelings. Yet throughout the book, everyone keeps telling Patch how much his parents loved him and how proud they were of him. So again, I was never clear if outsiders viewed things differently, or if Patch was an unreliable narrator and unable to see the truth of his parents’ feelings.

Overall, I really loved this story and was so excited to read this new offering from Damon Suede. I would say this is probably my favorite book of the author’s since Hot Head (and we get a tiny shout out to that story in this book). In Lickety Split, Suede gives us a nice mix of the hot and sexy, along with some great character development and a really nuanced story. I really loved it and would definitely recommend it.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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