Finn is a motorcycle-riding tattoo artist, newly arrived to a small Maine town in attempt to escape his horrible family and the terrible grief he carries over the loss of his beloved sister. He’s banking on the goodwill of a friend’s uncle, the shop owner of Ink Me, who’s giving Finn a job and an apartment until he gets settled.
Spencer is a business owner finishing his business degree so he can take over the management of Dragonfly Books, the shop his mom opened and ran before she died. Spencer is a nearly 24-year-old geek-chic virgin, who also has a passion for makeup and lace. He’s a bit terrified of the sexy, protective, tattoo artists next door to his shop, yet he falls over Finn from the first moment they meet. They both live in the apartments directly above the stores, which share a building.
Neighbors in life and business, Finn and Spencer have a lot of contact, and they are immensely attracted to one another. So, it’s only a matter of days before they both fall hard and have a happy ending together.
I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t planned on writing this review, I wouldn’t have finished the book. This is a debut author, and unfortunately lack of experience really showed in the repetitive and, at times, tiresome writing. Constant exclamation points are not a substitute for creating emotional moments, conflict, or urgency. The plot felt formulaic, the romance was instalove, and I was disappointed because I usually adore odd couple stories with a hurt-comfort plot. Finn and Spencer could have really shined, but their banter felt trite and juvenile. Each character spent so much page time telling me about the depths and breadths of their grief and trauma that I couldn’t experience it as a reader. As a result, I felt no emotional connection to either character and they read one-dimensional.
Finn, with his manipulative, addict mom and absent dad, drove thousands of miles from urban California to rural Maine for a tattoo artist job. It made little sense to me he would need to go so far, when tattoo shops are so common. The ongoing issues with his family could have been solved a lot easier by doing exactly what Finn did, the second day he was in Maine. Again, he could have done all that back in California and saved the gas money. Meanwhile, Spencer is portrayed as the clumsiest man ever. Finn and Spencer also don’t read like young men, using language and idioms that felt much older than their age. And all those immediate erections and instant horniness began to feel creepy, rather than sexy.
There’s next to no conflict in the book, and the plot to boost the bookstore’s business seemed simplistic. Ultimately, the biggest hurdle seemed to be Spencer giving up his “ultimate” virginity, and that was too thin a conflict to rest this book on.
It seems clear the author was setting up other couples from the cast of supporting characters, but I’m not interested in reading future stories at this point.