sunset at pencarrowRating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel

Two men, both wounded by love lost, are given a second chance at happiness, home, and love. If only they didn’t do their best to get in their own way. Nate is having an awful, horrible, terrible, no-good day. He is eager for a new start in a new city, far away from his ex and all the bad memories of their time together. Nate has a job appointment waiting for him in Christchurch, but the airport is fogged in and there doesn’t look to be any chance of his plane taking off anytime in the near future. Unable to control his temper, Nate blows up at the woman behind the counter, which draws Rusty’s attention.

An American in New Zealand, Rusty’s here to relax and enjoy himself. A delay in his flight doesn’t bother him as much as everything seems to bother the guy in front of him. More than willing to let go and let be, Rusty intercedes in an effort to calm down the situation — and to get as far away from Mr. Grumpy as he can. And it works, at least until the only seat in the small airport cafe is right next to Nate’s.

Nate is given a second chance to make a first impression, and both men are given a second chance to get a good look at the man sitting across from them. There’s no chance for love at first sight, but maybe, just maybe, a chance for love at first fight?

Nate is a good guy, but he’s not the most gracious. While he’s more than willing to offer Rusty a place to stay, since the plane isn’t leaving that day or even the day after, it’s not the most graceful invitation. Still, in an effort to make up for his tantrum (and he’s all to embarrassingly aware of how he behaved), Nate offers dinner, a drink, a couch to sleep on, and breakfast. But having the handsome American in his bed, while he takes the floor, leads to dreams … very pleasant dreams.

Rusty’s Vietnamese mother raised him in her Buddhist faith. He was encouraged to find a peaceful situation, to be a solution and not a problem. As an MP in the Marines, he was put into a position where he could help do just that. Law, order, composure, and a calm head. Rusty’s no longer in the Army, and with his fiancé killed in combat, Rusty has resigned himself to a life of solitude.

It’s opposites attract as water meets fire, and it’s exhausting. Nate is all over the place. He’s angry, he’s happy, he’s surly and uncommunicative. He’s hot and cold, folding in on himself and lashing out. There’s just so much going on with Nate. I know this is a fantasy. It’s a light and fluffy romance where we get to enjoy two people finding one another, realizing they’re in love, and having a happily ever after, but in my opinion, fictional or not, Nate needs a hell of a lot of therapy before he should get involved with anyone. He’s still dealing with the number his ex did on him.

Personally, while I see where this is going and I’m normally a fan of the second chances trope, and neither the writing nor the plot is an issue, Nate’s character just made me want to back away. I’d be very curious to see what the two authors do with other stories and other characters — both together and separately — because everything else was good; I just found myself unable to root for Nate and Rusty as a couple.

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