Rating: 2.5 stars
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Ethan’s twin sister, Emma, died six months ago from cancer. They were incredibly close as they shared a house and owned a business together. Ethan can’t move on and currently spends most of his days drinking. On his 25th birthday, Ethan receives a letter from Emma, the first in a series of letters that will contain a task for Ethan to complete in order for him to move on. The instructions are strict and a lawyer will oversee it all and if Ethan doesn’t comply, he stands to lose his home and his business per Emma’s will. Ethan is incredibly reluctant at first and becomes even more so when it is revealed that he has to complete all of the tasks with Hawk Simmons, who is Emma’s ex.
Ethan doesn’t really know Hawk, but what he does know he doesn’t like. Hawk left Emma after she was diagnosed with cancer and Ethan hoped to never see the man again. Except, Ethan does still see Hawk in his fantasies as he’s never gotten over his attraction to the man. Ethan certainly doesn’t want to do this, but with no choice he partners up with Hawk. But every story has more than one side and Ethan may have to figure out where he went wrong before he loses Hawk for good.
The premise of this book was one of those that just intrigued me from the start. When we meet Ethan, he is in bad shape. He can’t move on from his grief, he is drinking way too much, and his business is barely hanging on. Emma was his only family and now that she is gone, the loneliness Ethan feels is crippling. Hawk is purposely mysterious at first. Per Emma’s will he also cannot tell Ethan many things, including that Hawk has been attracted to Ethan since the first time he saw him.
The way this story was executed didn’t work for me and it raised one issue after another. The book is more about Ethan’s relationship with Emma, as well as an incident that happened between the two of them in high school that still lingers with Ethan. They talked to each other about everything except for their romantic relationships, which was convenient for the plot but didn’t come together for me. The siblings lived together, worked together, were so close that Ethan is completely devastated and barely wants to live, yet he has no idea what Emma’s true relationship was with Hawk.
The whole storyline with the men completing tasks came off as a huge manipulation from the grave. The hook here is to see what the deal is with Hawk and having the men complete these tasks, but the pacing was way too slow for me. I needed to know more about Hawk in a more timely manner. But, we learn only the briefest of background on Hawk that is only related to his last relationship. We are given a basic story, but not much to support it. Ethan and Hawk also don’t know each other. When Emma was alive, they never spent any time together, yet we are supposed to believe that they are fully in love with each other.
There isn’t a lot of relationship building as it’s all based on attraction. The men spend time together, but they are both being forced to conceal things from the other for most of the book. There were a lot of different facets here, from Ethan’s grief, to his past, to Hawk’s past and then their relationships with Emma and all of these areas didn’t pull together into a cohesive story for me and a lot had a disjointed feeling. There were also several side characters and some of their actions may have been added in to provide comic relief, yet I didn’t find these characters entertaining and some of their behavior largely came off to me as inappropriate, especially Ethan’s doctor.
In the end, I didn’t feel the guys had built a solid enough relationship based on what we were shown. I really didn’t care for the way the story or their relationship was executed and Ethan and Hawk being together certainly came in second to Ethan working through all of his other issues. There were too many pieces that didn’t fit for me and I would be hesitant to recommend this book.