Author: T.K. Paige
Publisher: Totally Bound
Pages/Word Count: 108 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: When James falls for the new guy at the station is he just setting himself up to be burned?
Welcome to Deacon, Oklahoma. Straight population—seven hundred and ninety-six. Gay population—James Hara. Except it really isn’t that bad because when he came out to his hometown, something wonderful happened. They still loved him…most did anyway. The only problem is the lack of a dating pool.
Then he meets the new firefighting volunteer and he has a bigger problem. Mason is gorgeous, friendly and straight. Soon James is doing his best not to fall for his new friend. Hard to do when Mason is everything he dreams of with his humour and flashes of vulnerability.
But after a set of stressful events, he finds that maybe it is not impossible after all. If he can be patient with a man wounded by his past.
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to past sexual assault.
Review: I’ve got to say, I wasn’t expecting to like this book. I wanted a quick read and it had a low word count, so I took it thinking I could just flick through it quickly and be done. I was not, however, expecting to be this impressed. T.K. Paige’s first book was handled wonderfully, nurturing the characters and combining tragedy of past days with the burgeoning love of the present.
I don’t like to read about sexual assault, generally. I tend to avoid it for no other reason than it’s just hard to read. The theme of assault in this book was handled very respectfully. It was a part of the plot but did not overstep into the overall story in a way that might cheapen the love story unfolding. I respect an author’s ability to do this a lot.
The characters were wonderful, from the MCs, Mason and James to the townsfolk of Deacon; everyone read three-dimensionally and were believable, all fitting into the plot like puzzle pieces. James was very relatable, an average Joe who wasn’t overblown or contrived. He was very human and very easy to like. I was rooting for him the whole way through. Mason, our damaged love interest, was tastefully presented, his story unfolding gradually, propelling the plot and rounding out the story.
The story was wonderfully paced. For a novella, it can be easy to slip into bad practice when creating a timeline, but Paige had this story ambling along nicely, a three arc structure that stayed nicely within the lines of the set-up. Even the more dramatic scenes seemed to fit in well with this tale, the sex elevated it and the drama pulled it through to the cute HFN ending. Two thumbs up for that.
I wanted something I could get through quickly and easily, to get it out the way. I got my wish, but I got through it so quickly because I really liked it. I couldn’t put it down. This author shows wonderful promise, and I look forward to seeing what we will see next from T.K. Paige. 4.5 stars for this juicy tale of love in the firehouse.