Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 4 hours, 5 minutes
Thomas Elkin and Cooper Jones are more in love than ever. They’ve been through the wringer, and are living their lives for each other and themselves, no longer worrying about what others think of their relationship. Tom is thinking about the future and it looks bright. But when he faces homophobia at work, Tom must make a drastic choice.
Cooper’s job is going well, and he’s earned himself a prestigious contract with his talent, even if the man he’s working with is creepy and a jerk who doesn’t understand the word no. While this man is much closer to Cooper in age, Tom and Cooper are solid in their relationship, though there are a few bumps as they voice their feelings and and talk about what they want.
When Cooper’s family comes to visit, Tom is surprised to get some sage words of advice from someone he thought would never give them. Cooper and Tom’s relationship hasn’t been perfect, but they fit together seamlessly. More than that, Cooper gives Tom a perfect sense of place, and Tom is ready to take that leap with Cooper.
In this last book in the Thomas Elkin trilogy, Tom and Cooper have been through a lot. There’s always been a balance between external and internal conflict in this series, and this one is no exception. Outside forces are working to screw up Tom’s life, and his own feelings about certain things present obstacles as well. But one thing Tom knows is that their love is strong; he loves Cooper and there is no doubt Cooper loves him back. So no matter what life throws at them, Tom is sure they’ll make it through.
What I liked a lot about this series is that each book ends in a good place, and there’s no threat of this couple breaking up with each new installment. Walker straddles that line perfectly, building anticipation and even concern, but never crossing that line. These guys are solid, and this book shows them growing even more in themselves and in their relationship. It’s almost slice of life, in a way, as the reader knows their relationship is good, but they are traversing their journey in life as individuals and as a couple. The growth hasn’t stopped, and the author takes the characters inexorably toward the finish line and the ultimate HEA, which is as satisfying as I could have hoped for. The MCs have been through a lot, life has bettered them around a little, and it’s taken them a while to get to where they are. Tom has made tremendous growth, not only from who he once used to be, but who he was when he met Cooper. The way these two love and support each other is heartwarming. I was as ready as the MCs were for their true HEA.
Once again, I listened to this in audio, and I really like Russo’s narration here. Russo brings the story to life, playing out the emotion of each scene and hitting the right note. Cooper, as always and especially, I think is done particularly well. He is a playful and sassy character, and Russo does a great job bringing him to life. It’s not a perfect narration, and my biggest complaint from the first two books rings true here as well. Certain words and phrases have an accent/dialect that doesn’t fit the characters, and hearing these words pulls me from the narration. But on the whole, this book and series is one of my favorites from Russo, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone out there looking for a good audio.
And I can say the same for the entire series. The writing is spot on, and there’s a great balance between the conflicts, the character growth, and the love. If this series intrigues you at all, do yourself a favor and pick it up.