Title: Tru Smoke (Ember Peak: Book One)
Author: Edie Danford
Length: 258 Pages
At a Glance: Wow! This story starts off hot and just gets hotter. The chemistry between these two is off the charts!
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… Tired cliché or true story? Jones Hudson can’t wait to touch Tru and find out.
Growing up in Ember Peak, Colorado, Jones nurtured dreams as big as the Rockies. Why else would a flat-broke college student believe he has a shot with Truitt Larkin, the billionaire CEO of Larkin Corp? And, sure, Tru might own the fab, five-thousand-acre Ember Peak Ranch, where Jones is just the son of a ranch employee, but that doesn’t mean a future with Tru is doomed, does it? When he finally, finally convinces Tru to break his chiseled-in-rock no-sex-ever policy, Jones is sure smoke will never shroud Tru’s silver-flame eyes again.
But fire burns and dreams crash. And when Tru shuts down Jones’s hopes, Jones leaves Ember Peak—and a big chunk of his heart—for good.
Tru knows he’s responsible for fracturing his valued friendship with Jones. Indulging his attraction to the younger man was selfish and destructive—something he’ll always regret. When Jones returns to Ember Peak for a family wedding, Tru wants a chance to heal their friendship and give back to Jones the comfort of coming home. But sparks fly the moment they reunite, and they scramble to douse the passion that’s burned them both before. Yet a flicker of hope glows brightly, and soon they need all their courage to see their way to a future together.
Review: Tru Smoke is the story of a young man, Jones Hudson, and the older businessman, Truitt “Tru” Larkin, who has been the object of Jones’s desire his entire life. Jones has grown up on the Larkin ranch; his mother was their housekeeper. Tru is the son of the man who founded the ranch, and now he is the head of Larkin Industries. As a college student at the University of Chicago, Jones finally manages to talk his way into Tru’s bed when he’s in town for meetings during Jones’s school break. To say that they burn up the sheets would be an understatement, but Jones is fifteen years younger than Tru, and Tru thinks that Jones needs to live his life, experience things and people and certainly not be tied to a mid-thirties workaholic like himself. He obviously has feelings for Jones, but he wants to do the right thing.
When Tru walks away from him, Jones decides to change his course. He’s tired of doing what everyone thinks he should do. He takes time away, learns to cook, learns to grow food, moves around a bit. But three years later, his mother is getting remarried and moving on after years of working on the ranch and raising her son. Jones is happy for her, but it’s the first time he’s been back to the ranch in three years, and he knows he’s going to have to deal with Tru.
Tru is still beating himself up over what happened with Jones—the three year estrangement, the change in Jones’s college plans, his seeming lack of direction. He holds himself responsible, and he still wants to do the right thing. What that really means and what he should do about Jones are still a bit up in the air, and subject to debate. Tru’s sister, Sandra, is also Jones’s best friend. She has known all along that Jones has been head-over-heels for Tru his entire life. She wants them to be together and does try hard to make it so.
As for Tru, he wants to resist Jones. He wants Jones to be successful. He, of course, tried to steer him into things. When, after the wedding, Jones decides to stay on the summer at the ranch, they can no longer resist each other. The chemistry is off the charts, and neither is very good at saying no any longer when it’s obvious they really don’t want to. There are some side-eyes from some of the folks who also work on the ranch, and some of Tru’s business associates, and Jones does itch under Tru’s desire to control and direct—so much so that they nearly go off the rails. Jones wants Tru to recognize that yes, while he may be younger, he is in fact an adult who can make his own decisions; Tru wants to make sure that Jones isn’t going to regret those decisions, and that is the source of their conflict. Can they really meet as equals in a relationship where one man is older, more experienced and holds all the financial cards, and the other is younger, determinedly headstrong and completely gone over the other.
Wow, wow, wow. This story starts off hot and just gets hotter; the chemistry between these two is off the charts! I had gotten this author’s Ellery College series from Samhain, but hadn’t gotten the chance to read it. Then I won a copy of Tru Smoke in a contest, and Edie Danforth was gracious enough to send it to me. I was blown away by the story and the chemistry between these characters. Jones is so young and earnest, and he’s so completely and totally in love with Tru, and has been his entire life, and it’s hard for Tru to reconcile his desire for Jones with his desire to protect Jones. Jones has to work pretty hard to get Tru to really see him, but it’s totally worth it. Tru also has to deal with some damage done to him by his upbringing, which also makes him wary of trying to make a real relationship work with Jones. But even with all the interference and obstacles, these two end up working hard for their HEA. Highly recommended. I’ll be reviewing book two as well, and am anxiously awaiting book three!
You can buy Tru Smoke here: