Connor has no idea what he’s in for when he makes the decision to knit a baby blanket for his EMT partner. For one, there’s a rainbow of yarn — so much yarn, so many types and colors and textures — and for another, he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. Fortunately, the handsome man behind the counter does. As well he should, since Judah owns the shop. With a friendly smile and a bit of flirtation, Judah soon has Connor picking out a pattern and some yarn, and much to Connor’s surprise, he finds himself coming back to the small yarn shop for Knitting 101. And some more time with Judah.
Connor isn’t gay. If anything, he’s bi — or pan — but whatever it is, it’s all brand new to him. Between his anxiety, the high stress job, moving to a new town, and having his first crush and romance with someone of the same gender, Connor is understandably confused and overwhelmed. He likes Judah, he wants to be with him; Judah makes him feel safe when he’s stressed and is always there with kind words and his generous spirit, but Connor doesn’t know if he’s ready to be sexually active with a guy. Things are further complicated when Connor’s brother comes to visit, the brother who helped raise him, the very conservative brother from a very conservative state — and the brother who wants him to come home with him.
Hooked On You is a fairly straightforward romance between two laid back and low key men who know the importance of using their words. For the most part. Judah has been out for over half his life and wears his pins and rainbow scarf (that he made himself) with pride. He’s getting over his ex, who turned out to be as good a friend as he was a boyfriend, but he and Judah had wanted different things. Judah wants a forever lover, a husband who will be willing to spend the rest of his life with him, and Seth wasn’t that. Connor, though, just might be. They get along so well, matching in personality, as well as energy. But Judah wants his happy ending so badly, wants to be in love so much that he pushes, and pushes hard.
I appreciate that this is a fairly calm and reasonable couple. For all that there are issues, such as Judah pushing and pushing hard when Connor isn’t necessarily certain all because Judah has an image in his head of what he wants, or Connor shutting down any attempts to talk through their relationship, the issues are given time to breathe and time to be addressed. They both make mistakes, they both own up to them, and they both apologize. Connor’s brother, too, was handled with maturity and understanding. He’s not a giant bigot; he’s a man who thinks of the world in a certain way and part of his world is his brother being straight.
This is a pleasant enough read if you just want something calming and fuzzy, like a cup of tea on a cold night … but then there’s the coda. A small little additional scene in which Judah’s ex, Seth, who remains his friend, decides to talk about his and Judah’s sex life in front of Connor. It felt as if the only purpose to this scene is to make Connor insecure enough about himself and his sexual experience so that he decides to try switching things up in the bedroom. After a book of thoughtful conversations and mature approaches to relationships, this scene left a sour taste in my mouth. And, with it being the last scene of the book, it did color my end opinion of the overall experience.