Caroll Weir is an FBI agent who is in Skagit, Washington because he was helping on a case. He’s an L.A. boy, a surfer, who is going stir crazy in a place where it’s cold and rainy. Weir is ready to go home and his bags are packed. At the last minute, he gets a call from his boss telling him a fish and wildlife detective has been found murdered, and he needs him to stay and investigate. You can guess Weir is a very unhappy camper.
Sterling Bailey owns the local gay bar. He’s a good man with a powerful work ethic. He’s not good with relationships, though. His parents treated him terribly and threw him out of their house at 14 when they found out he was gay. He doesn’t want to be hurt that way again. Along comes Weir, and Sterling doesn’t know what to do. He wants to push Weir away, but he can’t.
Suddenly, both of their worlds are turned upside down. Weir is badly injured and in need of care. Someone doesn’t like that Weir is so close to finding out what happened to the detective. Sterling’s family situation becomes more than he can handle. Plus, he and Weir seem to be falling for each other, and Sterling feels like he can’t let that happen. Can Weir and Sterling overcome their issues, and a murder, and have a happily ever after?
I’m a big fan of the Accidental Roots series. All the books are absorbing, atmospheric, and captivating. They’re romances, but they’re also mysteries with action and well-written bad guys. The main characters are strong, sweet, and sexy, and their chemistry is always off the charts. This latest installment, Spring Break, keeps in that tradition.
Weir and Sterling were both pretty stoic guys. I would go so far as to call them grumpy. At the beginning, Weir is so fussy and miserable. He’s tense as well, and that leads to our heroes’ first trip down smexytime lane. I wouldn’t call this an enemies to lovers story simply because they didn’t really know each other enough to be more than blips on each other’s radar. Weir and Sterling came across each other briefly in the last book, No Pressure, but it wasn’t that much of an issue. I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly crazy about the men at first. Frankly, they were bringing me down. It’s all good, though. I had to be brought down to be lifted up, and I did become attached to them. They were there for each other. A lot was going on and they eventually were able to count on each other for support. Weir was hurt badly and Sterling took care of him during his recovery. Sterling’s sister disappeared and Weir was right there, using his official credentials to get to the bottom of what happened. Their sexual relationship was more of a slow burn than an explosion. Part of that was Weir’s injuries, but the other part was how both men were afraid of intimacy. If they didn’t fall in love, they couldn’t be hurt if it didn’t work out. Their road to happily ever after was slow and difficult, and that made it all the more satisfying when they finally got it
There were a lot of background characters in the story. Some, like Agent Adam Klay, were leftovers from the two previous books. The newer characters, like Sterling’s little sister, Raven, and his parents fit right in. They create strong emotional responses and fill their roles perfectly.
The mystery of the dead fish and wildlife detective almost falls by the wayside because of all the personal issues, but it comes back full force in the end. I saw it coming, but it was still great. I wish it had been a teeny bit longer with some more detail, but it was still interesting and held my interest.
All in all, Spring Break, is a good story and very readable. I suppose you could read it as a stand alone, because there is some exposition, but I honestly don’t recommend it. The first two books, Storm Season and No Pressure, help set this story up. Plus, they’re just good books, and I enjoyed them very much.
I highly recommend Spring Break, and I hope that Elle Keaton will be writing more books in the Accidental Roots series.