Title: Coasting (States of Love)
Author: Yvonne Trent
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 112 Pages
At a Glance: This story was very, very sweet, maybe at times a liiiiiittle too sweet, but if that’s what you’re in the mood for, it’s well written, the guys are lovely, and the locale is fun and vibrant.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: What happens when you need something but don’t know what it is? Why not look in a place you never heard of?
Out and proud elementary school teacher Cal Hamilton thought he was happy in Philadelphia, but after a breakup, he steps back to reassess his life and discovers something is missing. He gets in his car and drives south with no idea what he hopes to find. The flip of a coin leads him to a small town in Mississippi—practically a different world from the city where he grew up.
Police officer Billy Labarre keeps his sexuality mostly to himself, but he knows just what he needs to fill the hole in his quiet small-town life: the right man. Unfortunately attitudes toward gay men still leave a lot to be desired in the rural South, and it’s hard to meet someone. It’s not likely his perfect match is just going to show up out of the blue….
Review: I’m pretty sure you guys know by now that I’m a fan of Dreamspinner’s States of Love series, and Yvonne Trent’s new novella, Coasting, is another solid example of why. There were a few little things that weren’t perfect, but overall it was an enjoyable, entertaining read. I can certainly think of worse ways to pass the time than reading about two sweet guys falling in love! Even insta-love, which is definitely the case here. Heh.
Coasting takes us to one of the places I most love to visit in the U.S., the Deep South. The book takes place in the town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a small town near Biloxi. I lived in Louisiana for four years when I was younger, and traveled all over the south. And, I remember loving the gulf coast of Mississippi. So beautiful and rich with culture and colorful people. And, the food. So much amazing food. In the story, Cal ends up in Ocean Springs on a coin flip, and decides that the town’s name sounds nice and peaceful, which is exactly what he’s looking for on his summer road trip.
I really liked Cal. Most of us know what it’s like to need a fresh start at some point in our lives, and that’s exactly where Cal is. Looking for an adventure after ending his five-year relationship, he packs up his car, leaves Philly in the rearview mirror, and heads south. Cal was a sweetheart. I loved that he was an elementary school teacher, and that he came from a fairly large family that he’s close to. The fact that he’s easygoing and good with kids and having lots of family around comes in handy when he meets and quickly starts to fall for local, Billy Labarre.
As much as Cal was a sweetheart, Billy was perhaps an even bigger one. Born and raised in Ocean Springs, he oozed southern charm. Combine that with his good looks, and poor Cal never stood a chance. I did like these two together a lot, but it took me a while to get there. Because things happened so quickly between them, the connection felt a bit forced in the beginning. That being said, though, Billy was so swoony, he soon had me completely rooting for them. I loved this line:
“…Even though it’s only been”—he looked at the clock on the wall—“eighteen hours and fourteen minutes since I first saw you eating that po’boy at the Bay Coast. I kinda like having you around.”
And, I liked that it addressed how quickly things happened between these guys. The author didn’t try to skirt around the fact that this was a total insta-love story. It was acknowledged more than once. Which, even if it’s not always my thing, I respect the way this one was handled. I also liked the lack of on-page sex, to be honest. I know some people will probably complain about that fact—to each their own, I guess—but the book I read prior to this one had so much sex in it that I found the fade-to-black scenes to be sort of refreshing.
This story was very, very sweet, maybe at times a liiiiiittle too sweet, but if that’s what you’re in the mood for, it’s well written, the guys are lovely, and the locale is fun and vibrant. Like I said, there are definitely worse ways to spend an afternoon. 😉 I think most readers will also really enjoy Cal and Billy’s story.
You can buy Coasting here: