My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was a free read at All Romance over the holidays so I jumped at a chance at a new author (and free book of course). The publisher was also new to me JMS Press that publishes ya fiction among other works.
The story is about Calvin’s return to the small dusty Texas town of his birth to sell his parents home now that they have retired to Florida. Parish Creek is a small town on the way down and out due to poor economic times. Stores are closed or getting ready to go out of business. It seems peopled by the bitter, close-minded and rigid.
Calvin had long escaped to success and a happy life in New York City. And now he was back to close up his parents estate. He is full of bad memories of harassment and bullying as a teen in his school years. He hires Brock (John Brockwell), a jock and a member of the group that bullied him Brock turns out to be closeted and ashamed now of his behavior in school. He is deeply in debt, bitter about his failure as the golden boy and a single dad.
So far so good. All the above seems plausible. Then the train goes off the track. Calvin makes Brock his fix-it project. Not in those words but he decides to take charge and correct what is wrong with Brock’s life. Why he would do that to someone he hated in school is never addressed in a way that makes sense.That’s not my only problem with this book. It’s that Brock lets him with little or no objections. The rest of the book deals with Calvin moving himself into the lives of Brock and his teenage son. Brock’s son demonstrates more maturity than his adult father does. Brock lets the town people take advantage of him constantly and there is not an area where low self esteem hasn’t had an effect on his life. But the book doesn’t address this any more than it delves into the abuse Calvin suffered constantly while in school (where where his parents?) Brock’s glory days were high school sports and he is pushing his son into playing whether he cares to or not. But even that conflict is not addressed here and simply disappears like all the other problems that are presented here. The conflicts of the past and present pop up only to dissipate without any real resolution.
I wish Drew Hunt had really explored some of the themes he brought up in the beginning of the book and left the second half as a sequel. IMO, Brock needed time to grow up emotionally but that never seems to happen. A nice read that could have been so much more. There are so many nice small bits here that you can see the author’s talent. I kept waiting for the other foot to drop so to speak but the story just up and hopped away one legged. So three stars here.
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Here is the blurb from JMS Press: Calvin Hamilton reluctantly returns to his home town of Parrish Creek, Texas, to sell his parents’ house. Finding the place in need of repair he hires John “Brock” Brockwell to renovate the house before putting it on the market. Brock bares a passing resemblance to Gary Cooper, especially as he often wears western clothing. Calvin has always had a weakness for cowboys.
Time has reversed the two men’s fortunes. In high school Brock was the big man on campus, his popularity allowing him to hide his true nature. Calvin was a nerd, bullied by most of the jocks for being perceived as gay. Now Calvin is a successful New York advertising executive, and Brock is a divorced father with a teenage son who faces financial ruin, unable to pay his late father’s hospital bills.
Can Calvin put past bitterness behind him and help the cowboy with whom he is rapidly falling in love? Will the deeply closeted Brock be able to admit he has feelings for Calvin? Or will pride, fear, distance, and the past prevent them from building a future together?