Rating: 3.5 stars
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Carson Keaton has been away from Tahoe for seven years. He never wanted to leave and he’s unsure how to feel about going back home. He does know it’s most likely a mistake. Carson has done well for himself as an actor on a hit TV show, but his heart is still in Tahoe. When Carson left town, he left behind his high school boyfriend, Brand West. Carson loved Brand then and still loves him now and, for the first time, Carson feels that it’s safe to come back home and he wonders if Brand will ever forgive him.
Brand likes his life in Tahoe and his job as a paramedic. He has never gotten over Carson leaving without a word. It’s been hard to move on and made even harder when the man he loves became a top Hollywood actor. Brand has just finally met a man that he wants for more than one date and decides to try a relationship with Teo, but now Carson is back in town. Carson wants to explain and for Brand to forgive him and Brand needs to decide whether to get closure and move on, or try again with the true love of his life.
Tahoe Blue is a reunion romance as Carson returns home after a long absence. He left abruptly and why that happened is worked into the story, although the way in which it was told lacked the impact it needed. He became a successful actor and he has always been in love with Brand. It was unexpected that Carson returned home, but now that he is back, he wants to make amends and get Brand back. Brand was devastated when Carson left. He never wanted to date anyone else and recently found Teo, who is the first man he has wanted to spend any time with beyond one night.
It’s clear from the start that Carson and Brand are destined to be together if they can work past their issues. There are some dynamics here that the author puts in their way besides the reason behind Carson leaving. Brand is in a relationship with Teo for a little more than half the book. It drives home that Brand was trying to finally move on and also adds another layer to Carson making amends. The relationship between Brand and Teo is new and Brand is completely open with Teo about what is going on. We then do see Brand and Teo having several on page intimate moments and, while it does add another layer of conflict, for this story it might have worked better for Brand to end his relationship with Teo a little sooner. It did work to set up a story for Teo, but that was also more than was needed for this book that was Carson and Brand’s story.
Once Brand and Carson did start to move forward, it did lack the depth I was looking for with them being reunited. There was some conflict and some tension, which fell flat to me as all resolved easily. Some of the dialogue was awkward as well. During one scene Carson described himself as being “orally impaled,” and this did not create the atmosphere I think French intended.
Tahoe Blue had a good reunited vibe going for it at the start, and while the characters and their story were interesting, Brand and Carson’s story didn’t fully win me over by the end.