Deep down, Will knows that his ex, Riley, is better suited to be with Carter, but it doesn’t take the sting out when Riley leaves him. Not interested in dating, Will puts his efforts into work. Although he and Riley remain friends, and Will works on a friendship with both Riley and Carter at the new speakeasy in town, Will still would like a relationship of his own.
It’s not long before a call from home lets Will know of his estranged father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to the family home that makes him uncomfortable. It’s not only the house that makes him uncomfortable, but Will’s conservative Republican senator father disowned Will years ago when he found out Will was gay. He keeps a cordial relationship with his mother and sister and while they claim to love Will, they have never supported his being gay.
Something unexpected happens when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican senator David Mori, and the heat flares quickly when the men meet. David is of mixed race and openly gay and while he says he’s not ultra-conservative, Will cannot understand his political views and tempers rise during each encounter. As Will spends more time at his parents’ home, he and David’s paths cross and the men try to work out their differences. They both have reservations about getting involved, but when a casual fling turns into feelings, the men have to rearrange and align their hearts and minds.
With a Twist is a spinoff from Vaughn and Coles’ previous series, Tidal, that featured Riley and Carter. Will dated Riley and the breakup was difficult for him. While Riley and Carter are seen here, this book could be read on its own if you are okay with not understanding all of the dynamics between Will, Riley, and Carter. There were several characters introduced in the previous books that I was interested in reading about and this book was an anticipated read for me. However, I can’t say it worked out for me too well.
Much of reading is personal preference and that aligns with what happened here and these are my interpretations of this book. The subject matter of politics and Republicans was not quite where I wanted to be at this moment in my leisure reading, but that’s what the book was about and I can acknowledge that. My main issue was the way Will was treated.
Will’s father disowned him when he saw him with a boyfriend. Neither Will nor his father tried to contact the other and ten years have gone by. Now Will’s father is terminal, and his sister and mother implore Will to come home because they need him. They have maintained contact with Will, but have never supported that he was gay and they admit that. Still, they call him selfish for not wanting to uproot his life and leave the city to move back into his parents’ home to help them. It was all about them and not even a little bit about Will. They then mount a campaign to tell Will how much his father has changed in the last ten years and that he should really ease up and make amends. And, then Will starts feeling guilty for all of it. This entire storyline was incredibly problematic for me.
Then there is the relationship between Will and David. They said they were attracted to each other, but the chemistry wasn’t there for me at all between these two guys. They can’t have one interaction where they are not fighting, and that only worked to lessen their romantic chemistry for me that came off as forced and perfunctory. The chemistry was stronger for Will when he saw Riley, as he was still trying to get over him. In the end, I was not convinced at all that Will and David would have a successful forever relationship based on their core differences. The speakeasy is where the guys met up once a month, and while the bar was more interesting than the main characters, there were minimal scenes there for a series to be titled after it.
There are several more characters who will get books and they still remain of interest to me, as does the speakeasy itself. This book wasn’t for me, but I will still look for where the authors take the series with different characters.