Darren Walsh has finished up some business and is heading home to San Diego. He is not thrilled to find his seat mate is a talkative, pajama pants wearing, cheeseball toting, graduate student. However, once the guys get to talking, Darren finds Chance Emerson quite appealing and the two end up chatting, flirting, and enjoying each other’s company for the whole flight. When they land, Chance gives Darren his number, but Darren knows things can never work between them given their differences in age, and so despite his strong attraction, doesn’t ever follow up.
A while later, Chance and Darren meet once again, this time at a charity fundraiser Darren is organizing. As the two talk, it is clear that neither man has been able to stop thinking of the other, and they decide to finally act on their attraction. Between their age and income gaps, neither one thinks anything can work between them long term. But both want to continue seeing each other since when they are in their own little bubble together, they are definitely compatible. So the guys decide to continue spending time together, but they will keep it just between them and out of the real world.
As Chance and Darren continue their relationship, both men are starting to fall hard for one another. Yet neither man believes there is any real future; Chance is sure he doesn’t fit in Darren’s elite world, and Darren fears he is too old for Chance. And when their private connection is brought into the light of day, it exacerbates their concerns. Now Darren and Chance have to decide if they are going to work past their fears, or if they will lose what they have built together.
A Chance at Love is a cute, easy read. I found both Chance and Darren to be likable guys and I appreciated how even though at first Darren is wary when he meets Chance, they are both able to look past their differences and really get to know one another. The story gives us lots of time with the guys hanging out (as well as hooking up), and it is clear that they are compatible and good together.
The conflict here is that neither man thinks things can work long term, due to their age and income differences, but both want each other and want to be together. So they kind of make this mutual pact that they will keep things mostly private so that they don’t have to face these concerns in the light of day (and the potential harsh judgment of outsiders). I appreciated that Violet makes it clear that these are joint decisions, so it doesn’t have a “dirty little secret” vibe, as much as neither man wanting to confront a potential reality that tears them apart while they are still enjoying being together. But it also left most of the story with this conflict just hanging out there waiting for the third act to strike, while the rest of the book rolls along without much happening beyond the guys spending time together and having lots of sex.
When the conflict ultimately comes, it resolved too fast for me. It was clear how much these guys like each other and how much both of them wanted to be together. But their reconciliation didn’t give me a lot of confidence that their issues were behind them or that the problems were addressed, as much as that both men really wanted things to work out between them. This is particularly the case for the character who instigates the conflict as I didn’t really understand what had changed for him to make things now all right. I think more time focused on this portion of their relationship would really have helped balance it out.
Overall, however, I found this a sweet, easy story. It is a nice summer read and an fun book with some likable guys and a mild conflict for them to work through.