Rating: 3.5 stars
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Dalton Prie is heading out to his dead uncle’s cabin in the woods to sort through his belongings and get the cabin ready to sell. He’s there at the behest of his overbearing mother who didn’t care for her brother, thinking he was a disgusting hippie, even though he was a relatively successful author. While on his way, Dalton gets pulled over for speeding by handsome cop, Noah Rexington. The two men have a relatively quick and easy chemistry, and they’re drawn to each other. As he’s embarking on a new relationship with Noah, Dalton is approached (and frightened) by his nearest neighbor, Joshua Kane, who pulls a gun on him and warns him to get out of the cabin and return to where he came from. Of course, Dalton isn’t going to do that, and instead becomes curious about Joshua and what might be going on at Joshua’s cabin. Things don’t go well. Can Noah get help to Dalton in time, and what will happen if/when he does?
I’ve waffled over this one. I didn’t dislike this story, but it didn’t exactly move me either. Let me start with what I liked. Dalton and Noah did have a pretty decent chemistry. It started and elevated quickly, but at around 70 pages, The Curious Neighbor didn’t have a lot of time to work with. Both men had a nice sense of humor and they played off each other. There was a nice mixture of sex and romance. The subplot regarding Joshua Kane and his comings and goings was interesting. I like a good mystery, and maybe I’m a masochist, but I kind of like reading about a main character being put through the ringer and surviving…even barely. The ending tied up neatly, if not a bit too neatly. Once again, I’m sure time constraints made this necessary and Clinger managed to pull it off reasonably well.
I did have a few issues that left me feeling out of sorts. Dalton had what I considered one major character flaw…his dedication to his dreadfully oppressive mother, Cecile. Dalton is 35 years old, and she is still tracking him through an app on his cell phone. She calls him constantly and hassles him about hurrying along with the packing and getting back home. He seemed way too damn tolerant, using the excuse that his three sisters had distanced themselves from Cecile because of her overbearing personality. That situation aside, I thought a few of the scenes were a little rushed and sometimes choppy. Even though I liked Dalton and Noah, there were a few occasions where I felt disconnected from them. I was fond of them and their story, but I didn’t always feel it.
None of this caused me to hate The Curious Neighbor. I can even recommend it. I read it through in about 45 minutes and it was a nice distraction. Fans of suspense, a little bit of action, and insta love/lust will particularly enjoy it.