Kel loves his home in Hawaii and owning the Ohana Surfing Club with his father. After a devastating loss at the age of 11, Kel remained incredibly close to his father, but life spun out of control for a while. Kel became an escort and a drug addict and now, at the age of thirty-five, he and his father open their home to foster youth. But Kel’s father has terminal cancer and the medical bills are crushing him. Their business is on the line, as well as their home, and Kel thinks he only has one option: go back to his escort job. His first client isn’t anything like Kel remembers, as he is attracted to the older man exploring his bisexuality for the first time.
Anders has always known he is bisexual, but with a homophobic father, he was never free to explore that side of himself. Now, divorced from his wife, Anders is ready to be with a man, but wants the right man, so he hires a professional. The chemistry between Anders and Kel is immediate, but Kel isn’t in a position to have a relationship, as he has a job to do. It also doesn’t help that Anders is planning on buying Kel’s failing surf shop for a new resort. But Anders has some ideas in mind for how he can get everything he wants.
Sometimes you know right from the start that the style of writing in a book isn’t going to be for you and that is what happened here with Impact Zone. The author’s note mentions wanting to provide a sense of place of the island that she loves so much. While I do think that she does that somewhat, it did feel like it was her point of view and not the characters’. The book opens through Kel’s POV when he is 11 years old and the entire tone of the opening did not feel like it was coming from an 11-year old. The book then moves to when Kel is 35 years old and we miss everything that happened in between.
In between the ages of 11 and 35, Kel became, and is no longer an escort; he became, and is no longer a drug addict; he and his father opened up their home to foster youth; and Kel’s father is now dying. It was a whole lot to skip over. I then found the writing to be awkward and stilted at times, and it felt like I was reading an essay about the characters, rather than there being any kind of significant character development.
There was attraction between Kel and Anders when Anders hires Kel for his first experience with a man. But then Anders completely rolls over Kel’s boundaries and coerces Kel into dating him in order for Kel to save his business, so the attraction turned creepy. There is a lot packed into this book with mental health issues, death of parents, homophobia, and lots of other drama, but a lot of felt like a hit and run with dropping the storyline or idea in and then exiting quickly with no follow through.
I liked the idea of this story enough to pick it up, but the execution was off with the tone and lack of development and then an awkward ending that was setting up the next book in the series, which didn’t entice me enough to want to continue.