Author: M Durango
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages/Word Count: 118 Pages
At a Glance: More of a mystery with romance on the side, but an engaging friends-to-lovers story nonetheless.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: A week alone is just what Todd needs to get his head straight. Before he can light his first campfire, the dead body he stumbles upon sends him running back to civilization and straight to the Park Ranger’s office.
Ranger Max has had his eye on Todd for years, but things keep getting in the way: boyfriends, jobs, and now a series of murders in the woods he’s sworn to take care of. Once the press gets involved, Todd receives unwanted attention from his community—and the killer. Together, Todd and Max have to find a way to grow their fledgling relationship while keeping Todd safe before the killer has his way.
Review: I really liked this mystery—and it is definitely more mystery than romance. Todd has broken up with his long-term boyfriend and is taking some vacation time. He goes camping in the local park where, on day one, he discovers a body. He races back to the ranger station where one of his best friends, Max, is the head ranger. Once the sheriff arrives, they have to go back out to get the body. And from there, things get strange.
There are things that go bump in the night and while Todd tries to keep calm, he can’t help feeling jumpy. Max and his other best friend, Halley, are worried about him, but Todd tries to keep playing it cool. Max is plenty pissed because he had hoped that after years of never being in the right place at the right time, he was ready to try to move things to the next level with Todd, then all the craziness happens.
When another body is discovered that has been in the woods much longer, and other strange “coincidences” occur, Todd is pretty sure that this is probably a serial killer. Todd is an accountant, but he had wanted to join the FBI when he was younger. Max, Dale, the sheriff, Ted, the mayor, and everyone else keep telling Todd to steer clear of the investigation, but an annoying reporter keeps trying to draw him in.
No spoilers, but Max and Todd do finally move out of the friend zone. They have been friends since they were kids, so there isn’t a real “getting to know you” phase to this relationship. They are both just finally ready to be together after all these years. They are sweet and also pretty hot together; although, Max is worried about Todd getting in over his head most of the time.
I enjoyed the mystery part of the story as well. The other small town characters, especially the sheriff and the mayor, were interesting in their own right, and I’d love to learn more about Dale.
The wrap up to the mystery wasn’t long and drawn out, which I appreciated. As someone who lives in a small town—the same one I grew up in—I could appreciate a LOT of the accuracy of the small town idiosyncrasies. I am a fan of this author and recommend this to mystery fans who like a little romance on the side.
You can buy It Was Supposed to Be a Vacation here: