Tristan Rogers is widower who is still mourning his husband, Chris, who passed away three years ago. He’s running the dog grooming/daycare business he and Chris opened together, but that’s about all he’s doing. It’s as if Tristan has shut down completely.
One evening, as he’s ready to close up the shop, a snobbish customer, Michael (but referred to by Tristan and the other employees as “V”, short for Lord Voldermort), comes in to pick up his dogs. As Tristan is leaving for the evening, he overhears an argument between Michael and his boyfriend, West. It seems they’ve just broken up. Without thinking, Tristan swings by and tells West to get in his car so he can take him away from the situation. He offers West a place to sleep for the night, and West takes him up on that offer. When Tristan wakes the next morning, West is gone…along with Tristan’s bike.
Jonas “West” Hollis doesn’t want to be indebted to anyone, and he was beginning to feel like he owed Michael. He wanted to get out from under the pretentious man’s thumb and he is grateful for the help Michael gave him when he needed it. However, not only does West not want to be indebted, he also doesn’t want to get close to anyone. Still, West can’t help but call the man who gave him shelter when he needed it, and whose bike he now has.
Those phone calls turn into a tentative friendship, and they soon lead to texting, an invitation to go for a boat ride, swimming lessons, and dinners. Finally, there’s the agreement to no strings attached cuddle sessions, and Tristan and West find themselves falling for one another. Now they have to decide if they want to take a chance and allow themselves to have the love and healing they can offer each other, or if they want to continue to be “just friends.”
I really enjoyed this book. From reading the blurb, I just had a feeling it was for me. I was right. It really was for me. Reawaken combined some of my favorite tropes: hurt/comfort, friends to lovers, and best of all, an age difference that wasn’t insurmountable, but important enough. Also, while there was some conflict, it wasn’t full of page after page of emotional turmoil. That’s a big plus for me. So I got exactly what I needed: a romantic, sexy, low angst story that was the perfect way to spend an evening.
Christina Lee has written two beautifully broken men, and I fell in love with both of them during the first five pages of the book and never stopped. I finished reading about 18 hours ago and I still love them. I wanted reach out and hug both Tristan and West. My heart went out to Tristan as he still mourned the love of his life. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have daily reminders of what he lost. With West, I could understand the yearning he had to be free from any debt or entanglements. He also lost loved ones…his grandmother, mother, and younger sisters died in a fire when he was 16, and the pain is still fresh. Add that to his breakup with Michael and West is in need of comfort even if he doesn’t want to depend anyone.
The romance between Tristan and West was a slow burn, and that was perfect. The pacing was excellent. I absolutely loved the phone calls and the texts…five minutes here, two minutes there. Strangers becoming friends slowly but believably. Their first time meeting “in person” was also brilliant. Both men were nervous and unsure, but their time spent together felt natural to them, and to me. Obviously, they were attracted to each other physically, but their broken hearts wouldn’t allow them to act on it right away.
To me, the most important scene in the book was when West confided in Tristan what he wanted most was to be cuddled. Tristan told him he was willing to give him that, no strings attached. West had the opportunity to hook up, but chose Tristan instead, and the electricity of the moment was palpable. It was the sexiest non sexual scene I’ve ever read.
Speaking of electricity, Tristan and West had that about them in spades. I could feel their desire for one another. When they finally came together, it was amazing! I was left breathless with a pounding heart. It was incredibly sexy, but tender and sweet as well. Their passion was overwhelming, and I loved every bit of it.
There are some background characters in Reawaken. Michael, of course, who never gave up trying to win West back. Tristan’s employees at the groomers, a few of the people West worked with at the restaurant, and Chris’ mother and sister rounded out the bunch. Their roles weren’t very large. Most were sounding boards for the men. They were also supportive of their friends and wanted them to be together. They were nicely written, and they didn’t overwhelm the story at all.
The end of Reawaken was pretty predictable. That’s not a bad thing. It’s what I believe Tristan and West needed. It’s what I needed. Those men deserved their HEA, and I don’t think it’s a surprise to you they got it. It was funny and sweet, and perfect.
I consider this story to be a gem. I highly recommend it because there’s something for everyone here, and it’s all just right.