Author: Anne Tenino
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 04/13/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.
The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.
When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.
This one snuck up on me and left me feeling giddy!
So there was a short story featuring these two main characters in the Bluewater Bay Valentine’s Day anthology. When I read that story, I had hoped to see more Lucas in the future, but I didn’t think it was a prequel for something more between Gabe and Lucas. It was not set up in a way to endear me to Gabe so when this book showed up in my email, I was surprised.
Wedding Favors happens 12 years after the short story from the anthology. During the 12 year separation, Lucas and Gabriel had been avoiding each other. Each man remembered that night from 12 years ago differently. Once they finally met up again and had a conversation, I could easily see this was a clear case of lack of communication and poor assumptions. It was actually kind of funny to see they different ways each man saw that night. I personally saw things exactly as Lucas did, but poor Gabe had something completely different going on in his mind. This kind of set the communication tone between these men.
Wedding Favors was a bit slow for me at first. But the more I read this story, the more I realized the slow buildup was necessary. Gabe and Lucas needed time to dance around each other and their long held feelings. They needed a bit of time to get to know the other again. They had to struggle with their views of the past and this second chance at attraction. During this time, we got to see Lucas as a hurting ex-lover, a struggling artist, and as a best friend. We got to see Gabriel as a lumberjack, son, grandson, friend, and business owner. I think the slowness was important because it gave me a more well rounded picture of the two men, not just focusing on the lust, sex, and romance.
Once the men got together, hello Hotness! It was very obvious to see how well they fit together. The author slowly revealed Lucas’s insecurities about his kinks and then just as slowly had Gabe wipe them all away with complete acceptance. Even as the men pretended that this was nothing more than a fling to end when the wedding was over, I could see the deep connection and I knew this was meant to be something long term. So even though at times I felt great emotion and these men tugged at my heart when they were longing for more but refusing to see it as a possibility, I found it humorous to watch these men pretend it would be anything less than forever. I found it humorous because all this angst could have been erased if they would just talk about what they wanted instead of assuming the other didn’t want the same thing!
I loved the love blossoming between Gabe and Lucas. It was HOT and yet so tender and natural. When Gabe finally admitted to himself that he only wanted the best for Lucas no matter if that was what made Gabe happy or not, the tears were flowing. These men were so right for each other it made my teeth ache. But there was a part of me that wanted to reach into the book and slap both men. They were both victims of the “assuming makes an ass out of you” phenomenon and both victims of the “keep everything inside because I am scared” mentality. I just wanted to yell at them to wake up and communicate. One sentence from either of them would have lead to lasting love and happiness! And when that time finally came, I did a happy dance in my seat. For all the back and forth, and angst, and tears, and emotions, and everything else these men went through(mostly in their own heads), their HEA was so sweet and perfect and satisfying. I truly enjoyed this book.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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