Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.
Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.
But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smokescreen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.
First off I have to say that after listening to other books in the series read by a different narrator, it was a bit jarring to get used to having this one read by someone else. While I enjoyed Charlie David’s voice tones, I missed Iggy. The two main character’s voices actually sounded pretty much the same to me. I really prefer when there are noticeably different voices since in an audio, there are no things like line breaks and stuff to give us a clue when the speaker changes. Sometimes I even got a bit lost as to which character was speaking.
As for the story itself, the physical relationship between these guys was nearly instant, which took me by surprise considering that one is a minister. Given what I knew about Seth’s past and the fact that Darren was up front about his career before they hit the sack, that surprised me. I found it strange that both of them would have so little control and not just once, but repeatedly especially when they kept regretting it the mornings after and feeling so strained around each other. I wished there had been more relationship development up front but it came across to me as based mostly on sex for a long while. So the middle part rather lost me for a while.
During the whole middle of the story, I had trouble liking Seth. It seemed like he was being so judgmental and unaccepting, which was supposed the exact thing he was disliking Darren for. But Darren was not that. I liked Darren from the start, and as it wore on though, I quite embraced his take on religion. How he strives to live a life based on the New Testament, leaving behind the Old Testament makes sense. There are so very many laws and rules in the Old Testament which modern day Christians break on a daily basis, so where to draw the line on what to dismiss and what to continue to hold as doctrine is very much ambiguous.
Personally, I wished this had been a dual POV. Darren’s character was my favorite of the two and would have loved to be in his head and see more depth to him. The things Seth said to him and then finding out his past and thus knowing how they must have hurt, damn. That kicked the story up an extra half star for me right there. And if not for what Seth had done at the LGBT youth center, I probably would have really hated him at that point.
Enjoyed revisiting with Michael and Jason, and meeting Seth’s cat Stanley. Wish that the ending had been a bit more. While I liked it well enough, it just seemed to wrap up a bit too easily.
This cover by L.C. Chase is my fav from the series so far as both halves really represented the characters and their life well.
Published April 5th 2016 by Riptide Publishing