Beck Davis is back in the small town of Ames Bridge to close up his deceased grandmother’s house and to lick his wounds. He spent summers visiting his grandmother, so he knows the place well. On his first morning back, Beck has a run in with Cal McMurty. Cal is as obnoxious as ever, but he’s certainly much more beautiful than he was at 18. Beck still lusts after Cal, but he can’t get over the way the bully treated him, and the way he’s still treating him.
Cal always wanted Beck, but even though the town now knows he’s gay, he doesn’t date. He faces hatred all the time, and he’s solely focused on making sure his farm is profitable. But he can’t deny how much he still wants Beck. Since Beck will only be in town for a short while, they act on their mutual attraction. Their explosive affair is satisfying. Mostly. Beck wants more, but Cal refuses to be seen out with him. The gossip mill already has them together because they are both gay and live next to each other. Cal doesn’t want to feed into that any more.
When they’re exposed, Cal balks. He won’t see Beck anymore, despite his feelings for the man, because it would do harm to his business. And Beck can’t be anyone’s secret, not for the long term. So they part ways, even though it crushes them both. Beck has an opportunity he never told Cal about, and when Cal finds out, the last connection between them is broken. It isn’t until Beck is ready to leave that Cal realizes what he’s losing. But it just may be too late.
One of the things Silvia Violet excels at, and what keeps drawing me to her books, is characterization. Her MCs just leap off the page and the chemistry between them is palpable. So I knew going in to this book that I would enjoy myself. And I certainly did. There’s a realness to both Beck and Cal I really enjoyed. They are not without flaws, but they work together so well. They have chemistry in spades, and even when I wanted to smack them both, I knew they’d find their happily ever after.
These guys aren’t perfect. Cal is hung up on the way he’s seen by the town, and only focuses on the bad things and how that can affect him and his business. I understood exactly what he was going through, even as I wished he’d open his eyes and see things differently. Beck has been through the wringer himself, and when he chooses to keep something a secret from Cal, I could have smacked him. But the magic Violet has is that she makes me care about her characters, even when I disagree with them, and even when I think they’re being fools. Most of all, we have two solid guys who just want to find their HEA. They don’t know how to get it, exactly, but it’s clear from the start that they are made for each other.
I liked the growth we saw in both characters, especially Cal. He’s come a long way from the boy that Beck remembers, and the past we hear about is definitely colored by his perspective. And we get to see some of that behavior in the beginning of the book as Cal comes to terms with his feelings for Beck. But more than that, he finds the strength to stand up for himself and go after what he wants. It takes a big act in order for him to find it…and a few nosy neighbors…but it totally works for the character Cal is.
So the plot here wasn’t anything surprising. Predictable even. I would have liked to see a bit of a different twist on the trope, to be honest. Everything happens exactly as you would expect it to. But the thing that makes this plot work is the MCs, and it’s very fitting for their personalities.
Great writing, wonderful MCs, and a colorful cast of secondary characters makes this book worth a read. And I’m definitely looking forward to more in the series.