Luke Sumner is 21, but most of the small town of Ames Bridge still sees him as the sickly kid who had a heart condition. His family is overbearing and protective and Luke has kept his sexuality and, more importantly, his desire to submit a secret from everyone. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting the older Jack Lawrence. There’s something about Jack that calls to him.
Jack has noticed Luke, but he’s reluctant to make a move, both because he’s not out about being bi and because he’s not sure if the much younger man wants him. There’s also the whole thing about how he likes to dominate his lovers, but that’s secondary. When Jack sees Luke in the club he frequents, he has the answers about Luke’s sexuality and about his desires, and it’s clear that they are compatible in their sexual wants.
The chemistry between Luke and Jack sparks and crackles and they begin a relationship. But they keep it quiet. Luke doesn’t want to have to deal with his family and their incessant worrying. Jack understands, but he also has his own hang ups. When things finally come out, Luke learns to stand up for himself. However, Jack decides he wants Luke to experience life away from his family and the small town, and Luke reluctantly agrees. But being apart isn’t doing either of them any good. Now Luke just has to make Jack see he’s ready.
I’m a fan of this author, and I’ve been reading this series since the beginning. I love the small town Violet has created here and find it endearing. On top of that, I think there’s a realistic portrayal of characters. Some are accepting, some are not, and there’s a busybody mentality to the town as a whole. Some of the secondary characters play a role in each of the books and help to flesh out the story without taking it over the top.
I was particularly looking forward to this book, as it hits several of my favorite tropes. The age gap here is fairly large—17 years—but I liked that it wasn’t a huge deal. I mean, yes, a lot of the supporting characters had issues with it, and it made Jack hesitate in some instances. But overall, both Jack and Luke didn’t care about the gap, knowing that it doesn’t matter when it comes to compatibility. Jack’s big thing was Luke’s lack of experience. Luke has been sheltered for a long time by his well-meaning but overprotective family, and its more than just Luke being a virgin. He hasn’t had a lot of life experiences most people his age have, and Jack is determined that Luke will have it. I did have a moment where I was frustrated by Jack’s insistence, as if Luke couldn’t possibly know his own mind, but it worked in the end.
Both characters had some growing to do, and I liked watching them on their journey. I was particularly happy as Luke grew into his confidence and was finally able to ask for—and in some cases demand—what he wants and needs. I also really liked how Jack, even though he was a commanding Dom who had a great confidence, has that shaken when it comes to Luke. It showed a reality and vulnerability that fleshed out his character well.
The chemistry between these guys is electric at times, and sizzles from the first moment they’re on page together. Luke has a desperate need to submit and Jack’s commanding air pulls that out. When these guys get into a scene, it’s beautiful and meaningful. I loved their conversations regarding the scenes, and I love the way they cared for one another.
As great as these guys were together sexually, I would have liked to see more of their relationship outside of sex and scenes. There were a couple of moments that really helped, but I needed a bit more to be really sure of their connection. I mean, there’s no doubt they work together in the bedroom. But it was just a bit of a stretch for me that they were leaping into love. While some of it made sense, since they were keeping it a secret, I needed a few more conversations about life and personal wants and goals etc., to really believe in their love.
All in all, this is another winner by the author and a great addition to the Ames Bridge series. I just might be my favorite so far. I’m really enjoying this series, and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store next.