Nathan was living away from Porthkennack and hadn’t intended to return full time. But when his family’s business was in trouble, he came to help out and then never left again. Nathan likes to fix things and it’s what he knows how to do. Except, he can’t fix his ailing sister, Rosie, who needs a liver transplant and neither Nathan, nor his mother or stepfather, are matches.
Nathan does need to blow off steam every now and then and when he heads out to the nearest gay club, he has one night with a stranger that is hard to forget. Thinking he will never see the stranger again, Nathan is shocked to see his hook-up, Mack, standing in his mother’s house and being introduced as his long-lost step brother. Nathan knew his stepfather, Derek, had a son, but the details of why they hadn’t spoken in a decade were never revealed.
When Mack donates a portion of his liver to Rosie, he then needs somewhere to recuperate and Nathan offers his place. He’s still attracted to Mack, but Mack tells Nathan he is a loner and will be moving on soon and their one night is never discussed. But the men grow close over the weeks they spend together and Nathan not only has ideas of repairing Mack’s relationship with his father, but of keeping Mack with him permanently.
Tribute Act follows the books that take place in the Porthkennack world. but can be read on its own. Nathan grew up in the town and then returned when his family needed him. While his family appears to love him, they largely take advantage of him and he’s just starting to realize that. While his sister is ill and needs a liver transplant, Nathan does all of the work with little acknowledgement, but he was treated the same before the illness. A night out leads him to meeting Mack and spending one hot night with the stranger.
Yet, Mack is the stepbrother that Nathan has never met and their one night collides with reality when Derek reaches out to Mack as a potential donor for Rosie. Tribute Act is largely a family book and for me, the romance was secondary. There are family issues going on between them all, with Nathan now being a part owner in the family business and Mack reconnecting with his father after almost a decade of being estranged. But they don’t exactly reconnect. Derek doesn’t know how to mend their relationship and Mack still feels like the abandoned teen and a lot of their relationship didn’t feel resolved to me, even at the end.
Nathan and Mack are attracted to each to other, but those feelings are spoken rather than felt. Mack stays with Nathan while he is recovering from surgery and we hear Nathan tell us how attracted he is to Mack, but it came across mostly as words on page. The book is told almost entirely from Nathan’s point of view and he keeps himself in check so as not to get hurt and the chemistry between the two was lacking for me. The book also jumps over days and weeks and I lost the sense of them as a couple beyond their visits to the bedroom.
Chambers writes a character profile for Derek that opens the book and he is given a backstory from the beginning, but I also felt as if that was largely glossed over during the course of the book as his story is not further explored and it then felt disconnected to the rest of the book when so much importance had been placed on it up front.
Tribute Act explores the relationship of family and healing old wounds and while there were poignant moments, much of it stayed on the surface for me. The setting of Porthkennack was also more subdued here for me than in other books in the series and the town is one of the aspects I enjoy about this series and I didn’t get that as much with this book.
This book wasn’t as dynamic as I would have liked and it’s possible this author isn’t the best fit for me. If you have enjoyed this series or other books by Chambers, you could give this one a try for yourself.