Colton Davidson grew up in a conservative Mormon family that looked perfect on the outside, but in reality was abusive and awful. When they found out he was gay, Colton’s parents sent him to a “conversion camp” where he barely survived. He managed to escape and eventually made his way to Fairfield, CO, where he found a place in Ted House, an LGBTQ home for teens. However, Colton barely had time to get settled before he aged out of the system and had to make it on his own. Fortunately, the friends he made from Ted House become like family and Colton has a job and a place to live. But Colton still can’t help feel like he is a mess and no matter how hard he tries, he feels like everything is an uphill battle.
Marcel Tremblay grew up with wealthy parents who traveled the world and mostly left him and his twin brother to their own devices. As much as his family encouraged Marcel to believe he could accomplish anything, at the same time, they tended toward overprotective due to Marcel’s severe vision impairment. Marcel just wants to live a happy, comfortable, “normal” life and to not feel so much pressure to prove that he can be extraordinary because of his vision. When Marcel catches his live-in boyfriend cheating on him, Marcel knows his family will take it as a sign that he needs to come home and let them watch over him.
When Marcel and Colton meet, sparks fly. But when Marcel realizes that Colton is young and inexperienced, he wants to keep things between them just friends. He doesn’t think he is in a place in his life where he can be right for Colton, who is just having his first significant sexual experiences after such a traumatic past.
The men agree to be friends and soon a strong bond forms between them. The chemistry they have is intense, and each man knows he wants the other. Now Marcel has to figure out if he is ready to take that leap and trust that the men can be right for one another, and if Marcel and Colton can turn their friendship into love.
Temptation is the second book in E.M. Lindsey’s Breaking the Rules series, a spin-off to her Irons and Works series. As with all of the books in both series, Temptation stands alone just fine plot wise and you can follow along with Marcel and Colton’s journey without having read the other books. However, in both series there is a strong sense of found family and characters pop in and out of each other’s books and cross series. So I think the experience is richer if you are familiar with at least some of the stories, but it is not a requirement.
One of the things I love most about Lindsey’s writing is her rich, layered character development. No one is ever a cookie cutter character in Lindsey’s stories. Instead, people have interesting and detailed back stories and a lot of depth to their characters. This story really showcases that in the way that Lindsey starts the book, taking time to introduce each of the men and their back story before they even meet. Some readers might find this a slow start, but I actually liked how it gave us a chance to really get to know both men individually before they begin their relationship. The characters are so well developed, it was nice to get a sense of each of them before the friendship and romance really started growing.
Marcel and Colton are each an interesting juxtaposition of in some ways being extraordinarily independent and self-reliant, but also often looked at as needing caretaking. Colton has been on his own for the last few years and survived a harrowing ordeal (his time at the “camp” is described on several occasions, as well as noting the physical and emotional scars, so be aware). He is managing on his own and he wants to prove to everyone that he can do it, that he can stand on his own two feet. But he also is struggling and often needs support and while he loves that he has friends who care about him, he wants to finally show that he can do it on his own. Marcel is in a similar situation, making his way by himself but dealing with his family always thinking he needs caretaking. They taught him that he can do anything even without his sight, but at the same time, they are overprotective. So both men have a nice journey here toward standing on their own and proving to themselves that they can do it.
Of course there are conflicts along the way. Marcel’s ex makes a general nuisance of himself, Colton struggles with job and apartment problems, and both men are dealing with figuring out career paths. But most of the story is really watching these guys slowly growing their friendship and eventual romance. They are sweet together and I loved the way the men come to rely on each other for the support they need to make it on their own. I really love both these series and this was another great installment.