Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Paul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she’s left him with a house he can’t afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he’s not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic.
El Rozal doesn’t do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn’t apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself.
Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There’s no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El’s line of work, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn’t mean second best.
This is actually the third I’ve listened to in this series, and my favorite so far. A very sweet story with enjoyable characters, interesting families and a cute dog. Neither of the guys are gorgeous or have fancy careers, but are both ordinary guys that I could relate to. El owns a pawnshop which had been his grandfather’s and has a hoarder mother (loved the way that was handled), and Paul dreamed of being a vet but didn’t do so well in school and ended up working at a vet’s office as a receptionist. Paul’s denial and story read very real to me, perhaps because overall he didn’t come across as the smartest tool in the shed. No that he was dumb, but he was refreshingly simple. Thoroughly enjoyed Paul and also liked his mother, especially her reaction at the end.
El’s big family was well drawn and interesting, as was his big bouncer friend Denver who is the MC in the next story (which I’m now eager to read). And I loved El both for his role in his family, for taking over her grandfather’s store with hopes of helping his mother, and for his easy going and relatable personality. The way he dealt with his attraction to Paul and the little one item a day limit ploy that Paul never did figure out was great. I felt the chemistry between the guys, not scorching hot but a slow, realistic burn that had me unable to stop listening.
I could relate so well to Paul’s desire to be number one for someone at something as well as to his cluelessness about when folks were flirting with or interested in him. And El’s words about the unimportance of things, which tied up beautifully at the ending, really spoke to me. The secondary characters were also very relatable and individual.
The narrator, Iggy Toma, was perfect for this story. The voices were different for each character and sounded just right. The emotions and nuances of character came through well. Overall, I listened to this story in one single day.
The cover by L.C. Chase ties is very cute and fitting for the series.
Book Details: Published January 22nd 2016 by Riptide Publishing