Tucker Wright has been in love with his best friend, Dunn Johnson, for years. He knows there’s no hope as Dunn has never been interested in men, but no one else gets Tucker like Dunn and he can’t find the interest to date anyone else. Tucker likes his life as the local doctor in Licking Thicket and he no longer holds out hope that one day Dunn will look at him differently.
Dunn wants what is best for his “best best friend” Tucker and wants to see the man happy and so Dunn is committed to finding Tucker the man of his dreams. Not being able to say no to anyone, especially Dunn, Tucker reluctantly allows Dunn to set him up on one miserable date after the next and then the whole town gets in on it. Tucker has had enough of all of it and when he finally tells Dunn to back off, it’s then that the sparks really fly.
The Licking Thicket series is a whole mood and a whole vibe and opening this book and this series will transport you to this small town. Tucker and Dunn have been seen in the earlier books and while most of their story does start here, it always works better for me to read a series like this from the beginning.
Tucker thinks he’s clever at hiding his feelings for Dunn, but everyone around them notices — well, everyone except for Dunn. While Dunn is a handful, there is no one else that Tucker would rather spend time with. Dunn covets Tucker’s time and he can’t see that the romantic relationship he can’t seem to settle on is right in front of him.
The earlier books in this series had some town shenanigans, but they were on the milder side, which suited my tastes. Fools is full on with townspeople antics and gossip and that suited my tastes a bit less. Everyone gets in on finding Tucker a man and it becomes a town event and everyone is poking at everyone else. There are most likely other readers that enjoy this setting and that would make this story a better fit for them.
Tucker can’t say no to anybody, which is how he winds up in the middle of these situations. But he is ambushed to hire a temporary receptionist, who is Dunn’s sometimes “girlfriend,” and she reads through patient charts and mistreats elderly patients and what is highly unacceptable was allowed to be acceptable. The glimpses we saw of Tucker and Dunn in the earlier books looked to offer a promising friends-to-lovers story, but it was a little flat for me and there was too much meddling and then no communication between these men that claim to know everything about each other.
You have to be all in for this type of setting and style. If so, Licking Thicket can be a fun and zany small town series that would suit readers looking to be immersed in that world.