AmendingPlansRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novella

Luc Weston doesn’t know what’s worse: the scrapes, scratches, and squirrel bite; the sprained ankle; the concussion; or the fact that he has a deep and growing obsession with Rick Masters, his uncle’s favorite surveyor. In order to learn every part of the job he will one day inherit, Luc has to shadow Rick in order to get some hands on experience about the role surveying plays in cartography. The only problem is that Luc hates the outdoors, and they hate him right back.

Rick doesn’t want to be babysitting the boss’ nephew. The kid shows up in tight jeans, with a suitcase more suited for traveling first class than roughing it in a cabin, and has all the outdoor skills of a goldfish in a volcano. But, he’s easy on the eyes and the one kiss Rick steals from him isn’t enough, not by a long shot. The things he’d do to Luc with that bright red tie… but Luc is unlike any other partner Rick’s ever had. He’s flighty, fragile, more accident prone than anyone he’s ever met, and yet, when he smiles, all Rick wants to do is smile right back.

This is an adorable take on the city mouse and country mouse story. This odd couple features Luc, who would rather go antiquing or out to dinner with friends, and Rick, who wants to sit back with a beer and a burger. Being outdoors gives Luc hives, and being in an office makes Rick go a little stir crazy, and yet they both know that somehow, with a bit of give and take, what they have can turn into something amazing. It’s a little trite, but it’s very cute.

Rick is the epitome of an outdoorsman. He’s tall, rugged, bearded, drives a truck, and avoids going to the wine bar with his coworkers because he only drinks beer. Luc isn’t like his usual hook-ups. Luc is smaller, more fragile — emotionally and physically — and doesn’t seek to challenge him in the relationship. The more Rick is with Luc, the more he becomes possessive of him, and protective. He wants to take care of Luc and finds that he really, really gets off when Luc, while staring up at him from beneath golden lashes, calls him “master.”

When Luc was six he was in a car accident with his parents. While they were cutting into the car to free him from the wreckage, he was held by a man who kept him from seeing the horrific devastation and who helped him feel safe even in that most traumatic time. When he’s in Rick’s arms, he feels just as protected, as well as cherished and loved. Luc is more emotional than Rick, and flightier, but he’s also a bit more mature. Where Rick is quick to take offense when he thinks he’s being insulted, Luc is just as quick to talk him down, to explain what happened, and how it was misunderstood.

Rick may be the physically dominant partner in their relationship, but Luc is the emotional anchor for the two of them. I really did appreciate this approach, to show that even in an almost-Dom/sub relationship there are two people involved, both of whom bring their own strengths and their own balance. During an enthusiastic moment when Luc is trying to please Rick, his eyes begin to water. Rick is quick to slow down and stop things, anxious to make certain that Luc is both all right and willing… not just eager to please, but that he’s also enjoying the moment. It’s a lovely sign that this is a relationship and not a fling and was a very well written scene.

This was an enjoyable novella and makes me look forward to reading more of Corett’s works. The plot is fairly predicable, but the writing is good and the pacing is tight. There’s no drama for drama’s sake, no drawn out exposition, and both characters are people I’d like to meet again in another book. If you give this book a chance I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

elizabeth sig