Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
For Nolan Woods, life had been a miserable existence that had left him lonely and depressed. Nothing had ever seemed to go his way. It was his own fault for being such a loser, but it would still be nice if just once he had something end up in his favor. Unfortunately, for that to happen he’d have to put down the food he loved so much.
West Baxter led a charmed life. In college, he and his friends had decided to open a winery, allowing him to travel and meet new people. It had been a playboy lifestyle but when he met Nolan Woods, he found himself longing to settle down instead. Too bad their new winery needed him out on the road to sell their wines it they ever hoped of being the success they had dreamed about.
Nolan’s misery had him taking drastic action to change himself. He never thought in a million years anyone would like him as he was. But before he could go under the knife, West had finally had enough of life on the road and seduced Nolan.
Suddenly Nolan no longer knew what to do. He didn’t believe West would ever be able to love him as he was, but if he told West his plans West just might realize what a loser Nolan was and leave him even sooner. Either way, Nolan had to pray that West would understand that Nolan could no longer be Full Bodied.
I was so excited to read Nolan’s story after getting to meet him in Mac and David’s story. He is an imperfect character – not because of his heavy body, but because of his emotional state. He’s an insecure mess. With a crush on the Twisted Vines salesman, he struggles at times with his job there as an accountant. He turns tongue tied and stressed when West is around to the point that people were afraid he was having a stroke when he was around West.
West is described as a playboy but we don’t get to see that. The book starts with West being ready to settle down from traveling all over in order to be with Nolan. Nolan, who doesn’t even know West wants him yet. I would have liked to see West fall in love with Nolan because West is a man who sees the person, the one inside. “Oh, sweet Nolan. When it involves you, I notice everything.” To be seen? That is priceless for someone like Nolan, who has literally no self esteem and is always waiting for the “when I lose weight” for his life to start. He wasn’t even aware his friends were his friends (except for Kayden) because he was so sure they just tolerated him.
My heart was breaking for this shy, gentle man. His issues with food were so real, so relatable. That negative self talk. The mentality of having one last binge because tomorrow we diet. The feeling of being invisible or trying to make yourself invisible because of your weight. “Nolan, on the other hand, had been called nerd, geek, chubby, dweeb and fatty. There had been other names…” Even gentle teasing by a friend, Tucker, brings up feelings of inadequacy and doubt. The numbing of your feelings with food and turning to food anytime an emotion threatens to break free. It was all so well done and you can’t help but feel for Nolan.
West is fit, gorgeous and a kind man. He loves Nolan, loves him as is but will support anything Nolan needs to do. While he doesn’t know about Nolan’s upcoming surgery, he knows Nolan is dieting and makes it so easy for him. Nolan having a shake for lunch? West will bring it to him. Nolan needs plain chicken and salad? That’s what West will have. And West is determined that Nolan understand he is it for West. He is so considerate and I found thinking of him as a playboy wasn’t even possible for me.
This is insta-love in a way, because they haven’t been together for even a week. But it really isn’t because they’ve known each other at work for a few years. West is honest enough to admit he didn’t approach Nolan before now because he wasn’t ready. Now he is and it’s lovely. Nolan has some very staunch friends on his side and that helps. His best friend, Kayden, is an absolute joy. Everyone needs a Kayden.
I had a squicky moment when West sees someone at work with Nolan and “stakes a claim” right there, which I felt was very unprofessional but it was quick and I got past it.
So what kept this from being 5 stars? I have relatives and friends who have had gastric bypass surgery and I know that Nolan’s attitude about himself, his body and food would have required meeting with a psychologist and dietician at best, being denied surgery at worst. They want to make sure your relationship with food is healthy in your head before it is addressed with your body. That being said, I loved this book and the MCs. We get a quick glimpse of the next book, which will be Kayden and Valor, in a scene.
This was a great addition to the series and I hope that we get to see West and Nolan in future books.
Cover art shows West and Nolan. It didn’t fit what I thought about Nolan, looking too thin and not “shy” enough.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 124 pages
Published November 14th 2017 (first published August 2017)
Edition Language English
Series Uncorked #2