Author: Anne Tenino
Narrator Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Run Time: 8 hours and 14 minutes
At a Glance: I had forgotten how much I enjoy Anne Tenino’s writing. The dialogue and the characters and the setting pulled me into this story, immediately.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: 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.
Review: While Lucas isn’t really excited about going back to Bluewater Bay, it does come at a rather opportune time when he really wants to put some distance between himself and his ex. Plus, it’s not like he can’t be there for his best friend. He’s absolutely blown away when he finds out she’s marrying his brother, however, and that his brother’s best man is the guy who broke Lucas’s heart for the first (and, maybe only) time.
Gabe hasn’t forgotten Lucas either, and he’s not had the easiest time of things, trying to keep his logging business and his family enterprise going after some losses that he felt were his responsibility to cover. He’s not sure exactly what he’s going to do, and he really doesn’t need the distraction of Lucas. On the other hand, he’s really interested to see what will happen with Lucas back in town.
Both guys remember the incident between them quite differently. Lucas’s perception of Gabe is that he used Lucas and threw him away. Gabe’s recollection is completely different. As they grow closer, spending time at Gabe’s place while Lucas works on the wedding favors as well as a new sculpture, they have to address what happened in the past and determine if that will make or break them. Gabe doesn’t think he really has anything to offer the now pretty famous artist. Lucas doesn’t think Gabe wants him for more than a fling, and that he’ll just use him again and then move on.
But this time, when Lucas thinks Gabe isn’t really invested, it will hurt a hell of a lot more when Lucas sees the end coming. He’s not convinced that Gabe is really serious about a relationship. There still seems to be a lack of trust and of communication with these two. With the wedding looming and Lucas needing to decide where he’s going to go, and what he wants to do next, they need to figure it out if they are going to be able to make a go of it.
There are so many things to like about this story. Lucas and Gabe are both strong characters, and we get to know both of them since the story is told from both POVs. Both have their vulnerabilities and their blind spots. The secondary characters—Audrey, Lucas’s BFF, and the rest of his and Gabe’s families—help move the story along with their input and demands on the guys, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy Anne Tenino’s writing. The dialogue and the characters and the setting pulled me into the story, immediately.
I haven’t read any of the other Bluewater Bay books, previously, and I didn’t feel like I missed a beat—this book works well as a standalone. Nick J. Russo is one of my absolute favorite narrators, and he did a great job with this one as well. I loved his voice choices for all the characters, and he really is able to “act” the story as well. He will continue to be a go-to choice for me.
You can buy Wedding Favors here: