Title: Tender with a Twist (Rainbow Cove: Book Two)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Self-Published/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 264 Pages
Category: Contemporary, BDSM
At a Glance: Age gap, opposites attract, second chances all mixed up with a little kink, for good measure, and two guys I wanted to find their way to a happy beginning—it all made for a great story.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…
Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.
Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…
But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.
Review: Annabeth Albert’s Tender with a Twist is a sweet and kinky May/December romance, and another great success in a short list of Age Gap romances I’ve had the immense pleasure to read over the past several weeks.
Dominance is not about being bossy, it’s about being authoritative, which is why I’m such a sucker for the young Dom/older sub dynamic. Albert makes the arrangement between this couple work, and she does so with her young Dom, Logan Rosner, who’s as green as he could be, but damn, he’s a quick study. In the bedroom, there’s no question that his dominance comes from a place that isn’t about the words he says but is about his comportment and the confidence with which he makes Curtis Hunt fly. Logan plays Curtis’s body like an instrument. He becomes so attuned to Curtis’s needs, in fact, that soon the pretense of their ‘lessons’ is obliterated by a growing need that goes so far beyond the physical. Their emotional connection is tenuous, at best, but it soon becomes a viable threat to Curtis’s commitment to his loneliness.
Curtis is a hurting soul after the death of his lover, Troy. Watching him attempt to maintain a safe emotional distance from the one man who makes his body thrum with the physical need for pain, and to submit, lent a nice touch to the overarching conflict of a lingering and pervasive grief that’s preventing Curtis from moving forward. And watching Troy’s mother pull a psychological guilt trip sucker punch on him late in the story was unnerving and upped my empathy towards him in a significant way.
Logan suffers being an only child, not with parents who don’t love him enough but parents who smother him with a laser focused attention and advice that’s ‘for his own good’. As much as their cloying overprotectiveness grated on my nerves, it also serves as an important part of Logan’s character development. He may be a sexual dominant, but when it comes to claiming his independence and proclaiming his adulthood, Logan’s had a difficult time articulating it to them, in any sort of forceful way, that he may be their child, but he’s far from being a child.
Lumbersexual may be a recent and over-used addition to our lexicon of modern vocabulary, but in the truest sense of the word, Curtis is a hot as hell lumbersexual guy (cover check), and I liked the way his woodcarving talent was an added layer to his character construction, and was a juxtaposition to his submission as a means of accessing that quiet space within himself he escapes to during a scene.
Added to the not insignificant issue of Curtis’s mourning is the perpetual issue of the difference in his and Logan’s ages, and the point of contention this is for Curtis. That’s not a problem that can be fixed in any way other than allowing time to help overcome his misgivings and to deepen their bond, and I like the way Albert made this a part of the story without it becoming the whole of it. There were fixable challenges that were more pressing, and those were handled with the appropriate gravitas.
Age gap, opposites attract, second chances all mixed up with a little kink, for good measure, and two guys I wanted to find their way to a happy beginning—it all made for a great story. This is my first time reading Annabeth Albert, but it won’t be my last. The third book in the Rainbow Cove series was hinted at in Tender with a Twist, and I’m looking forward to it.
You can buy Tender with a Twist here: