Stephen Webb is an accountant for a prestigious firm. He would like to be a partner, and his boss has been dangling that carrot for years by giving him assignments that he hates. Tax season is upon Stephen and his co-workers, so he’s very busy and doesn’t think he has time to be in a relationship. In fact, his last serious boyfriend left him because all he did was work. Stephen’s got no intention of falling love with anyone until he sets eyes on Minoru “Max” Kamigawa, who walks into the office as one of a group of new interns.
Max is a musician at heart. However, he takes care of his mother and grandmother and music is not only a hit or miss career, but it can be far from profitable. So, he decides to go to college to be an accountant. The money is good and accountants are always in demand. Interning at Stephen’s firm brings him one step closer to financial security, but Max’s finding himself distracted by his superior, the silver fox (his words, not mine). He’s got a major crush and Stephen is intrigued by Max.
A one night stand is all they can have, but their passion for each other can’t be ignored. Stephen and Max can’t seem to stay away from each other, and they decide they want to be together. Now, they have to face the busy tax season, an ex who’s not really out of the picture, a boss who demands Stephen stay away from the interns, and their insecurities. Will Stephen and Max be able to get past all of that and be able to live the life they desperately want? Or will they be defeated by obstacles they can’t get over?
I really enjoyed this book. It’s the second in the Oahu Lovers series, and I reviewed the first one, Brave for You, here. I liked it fine, but I think Change for You was better. There was just something about Stephen and Max that made me feel…warmer? I felt close to both of them right away. The best quality of both men is that they’re both fundamentally good. They’re driven, but they feel things deeply. Years after their breakup, Stephen still thinks about his ex. He compares all other men to him and wonders if they’ll hurt him as badly (the ex cheated). Stephen wants to be a partner in the firm, and he’s willing to work very hard to achieve it. He seems gruff and almost mean, but it’s not because he’s a bad guy. He just wants to succeed. Max is dedicated to his mother and grandmother. He’s got a great relationship with both women and feels as if he should be taking care of them the way they took care of him. This is why he’s even seeking an accounting degree. He’d much rather be a musician. He writes songs and sings them, and that’s where his passion lies. I loved how Stephen and Max met early in the mornings in the breakroom at the office. Max writes his music and sings, all the while playing the ukulele, and Stephen sits, doing a little work and has his morning coffee. I thought these interactions were a perfect set up for their blossoming romance.
Speaking of their romance, it was a rather slow burn. They checked each other out and loved each other’s look, but Stephen was wary. Office romances are frowned upon. Topping that off, Stephen is 20 years older than Max. It’s something that makes him think twice. Max is actually the more forward of the two. A lot of times in a May/December romance, the older gentleman is the character doing the pursuing. The men have a powerful chemistry and there is a lot of heat between them. The sex between them is nuclear. The scenes were detailed, but not obnoxious. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by them. I also didn’t think there was any sex for sex’s sake. They fit the story, and they fit their personalities.
Of course, no good story is without conflict. In the case of Stephen and Max, their insecurities were getting the better of them. Stephen was bothered by the age difference and whether his being too work oriented would make Max leave him. Max wondered the same, but in the opposite way. Would Stephen not think he was worldly enough and leave him for someone his own age? Add in a little bit of jealousy and a whole lot of tax season stress and you have a perfect storm. The problem seemed to be that Stephen and Max didn’t talk. If only they’d had a few well placed conversations, everything could have been avoided, and they’d be happy. As I was reading, I was talking to my Kindle, begging for the guys to just sit down and work things out. I give the author credit for this. She was able to bring a lot of feelings out of me. I was completely caught up in the story of Stephen and Max. I rooted for them and I cheered when they finally realized they had to work things out.
There are a few background characters in Change for You. While I wouldn’t consider them to be major, they’re important. Stephen’s ex, Derek Ching, is the closest to an antagonist the story has and even he isn’t really that bad of a guy. Candace is a fellow intern at the firm and her father is the big shot. Candace is Max’s best friend at work. They talk and laugh and share secrets. She was really cute. Her father, Alfred, was a real jerk, especially when he found out Stephen was with Max. It was good to see him get somewhat of a comeuppance. After these people, we have Max’s mother and grandmother. The mother was at work a lot and she didn’t have a big part of the story, but his grandmother? She was awesome! She was funny, kind of curmudgeonly, but obviously devoted to Max. I enjoyed her interaction with Stephen, and I thought it was great when she began to take Stephen under her wing as well.
Change for You is the second in the Oahu Lovers series, but it could easily be read as a stand alone. There is one scene where some characters cross over. Stephen is involved in a board game playing group, and the MC’s from the first book, along with a few others, are part of that group. They had a nice evening where the others got to meet Max and his grandmother. It was nice to be able to see what everyone was up to, but it wasn’t anything that would confuse a reader who started with Change for You.
The book ended exactly how I wanted it too. No real surprises, but it was a comfort. Stephen and Max get their HEA, and I felt it was my HEA as well. I was so connected to the men, and I loved how they got what they deserved. I would highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to see where the next book in the series will go.