Things are not great between husbands Scott and Garrett Pendrick. The men are bickering and frustrated with one another, and moving into a new house has only made the situation worse. Scott is particularly resentful of all of Garrett’s complaining about Scott’s long hours as a doctor. Their relationship is tense and difficult for both of them.
The guys hire someone to clean their pool and he is so hot it gets both of their attention. Logan Rippling could be a model, and watching him is enough to get both Scott and Garrett heated up. So much so that they start to invite Logan to socialize and spend time with them outside work. Not only do Logan’s looks prove an incredible draw, but having him around seems to ease the tension between Scott and Garrett. Before long, Logan is becoming a major part of their lives and, on the surface, all seems perfect. But not everything is as it seems. There are lies, betrayal, and secrets among these three men, and at some point, it will all come out.
So Rippling Waters is one of those books that I can’t say much about for fear of spoiling, because there are some major twists here that require going in without knowing much about what is happening. So bear with me through this review as I try to convey my thoughts without giving anything away.
Where this book succeeded for me is in the plot and the clever twists. The set up intrigued me from the blurb, and Irons does mostly deliver on that promise. I would say there are three major reveals that happen here. One of them, I guessed from early on in the story, but the other two caught me totally off guard, in a good way. I liked that even as I thought I knew generally what was happening, more and more gets revealed. It is cleverly done and the overall storyline works nicely. Be aware this is not a traditional romance by any means, but there are romantic elements, as well as a lot of sexual interaction here.
Unfortunately, I really struggled with this book as the writing just didn’t work for me at all. There is just so much telling, I felt like nothing actually happens on page, we are just told about it afterwards. I know this can be a hard concept to convey, but it was like reading someone telling me about the story, rather than reading the story itself. These characters hardly have any on page conversations. We are just told about things they say or do or think. The fact that Irons uses a lot of passive voice doesn’t help things, and I felt so removed from the story and what was going on.
The book is divided into two parts and much of the story is told from Scott’s POV, and so we barely get even a glimpse into Logan or Garrett’s characters for most of the book. Single POV can still convey characters if done well, but here I felt like Logan could literally have been interchanged with anyone for most of the book, that is how little sense of him I got.
My biggest issue is that the writing just felt very awkward and stilted to me. Most of this is due to the issues above, but it often reads like just recounting a series of actions, or a list of movements. I never felt brought into the story or the characters. Here are just a few examples. This is what I mean about feeling like things are just a series of actions:
Sure,” I replied. He and I then got up from our seats and headed over to the bar, across the room. Pete went behind the bar to grab a glass tumbler and some ice, using the bottle of scotch to pour himself a drink. I sat on one of the bar stools across the counter from him. I placed my glass of bourbon on one of the nearby coasters on our beige, granite countertop.
It carries over to the sex scenes as well. I never felt the heat I think the author wanted to convey because it often felt like a series of movements being listed out, rather than showing the intensity or emotion. Here is a scene with Scott and Garrett from Scott’s POV:
Seeing how relaxed I was, this prompted him to spit on it and place his mouth over my tip.
“Mmmm,” was all that managed to escape my lips as I felt the warmth of his mouth and tongue.
His head started to bob as his slow, up and down movements, progressed into faster ones. His hand returned back to my cock along with his mouth to provide more friction and sensitivity to it. I looked down at him to see that his eyes directly locked in with mine, as Garrett was on his knees, sucking me off. I then bent my neck back so that my head was rested on the cushion of the couch, facing the ceiling, with my eyes closed.
I hated to admit this, but lately, I kept my eyes shut so I could picture a hot, younger guy servicing me. The thought of this heightened the nerve endings on my dick. I could feel the pressure starting to build up.
Irons also has a tendency to use a lot of exclamation points in the internal monologue. It isn’t a huge deal, but it happened a lot, and they often just felt awkward and over the top.
What!? What was Garrett saying!? Was this really happening?
Another issue I had is that none of these guys are particularly likable. I can’t go into a whole lot of detail here for fear of spoiling things. But this isn’t unlikable in a “ooh, dark bad guy” kind of way, or a bad boy hero. I mean, I love an anti-hero and I am fine with morally questionable characters. But for example, Scott comes across like an ass in a way that doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot of the book. He is rude to his husband, belittling him, criticizing him, and blaming everything on him. Scott is never at fault for anything, it is always Garrett’s failures. He doesn’t make any effort to care about what Garrett needs or wants and dismisses all of his concerns as Garrett’s fault. Scott objectifies Logan even before they meet and puts Logan on a pedestal, siding with him every time over Garrett. So this isn’t really plot driven, as much as just an unlikable character.
I know that I have a tendency to be bothered by writing issues more than others (my day job is a writer/editor), but I found the writing so distracting that I had trouble concentrating on the story as it just kept getting my attention. It is also hard to really convey the issue via selected quotes, so my problems may not come through clearly here. And your mileage may definitely vary. But while I found the plot line interesting and the twists nicely surprising, I found the passive, stilted writing just too much to get past and it really affected my enjoyment here. If you are interested in the twisty side of things though, this one may work better for you than me.