Daily Dose Short story from Dreamspinner http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6550
James Connell is adamant—he’s not getting involved. The forty-two- year-old bookstore owner’s life is governed by respectability, order, and a dash of OCD—just the way he likes it. There is absolutely no place in his life for a way-too-young, sexy, carefree guy like Ash. What would people think?
Ash Bradley-Mills is determined—he wants James. Traveling the world testing snowboards and sports equipment has been great fun for Ash, but he’s ready for something more. He wants an adrenaline rush of a different kind, and tall, dark, handsome, and older James fits the criteria perfectly. Now all Ash needs to do is break through James’s defenses and lifelong fear of judgment. Easy! He’s got the perfect plan to push James out of his comfort zone and into his arms.
James is 42, trying to learn to ski for the first time ever, when he is rescued by the very hot, very young adventure-enthusiast, Ash.
Ash is immediately attracted to James, who has reasons for avoiding younger guys.
Ash ends up running into James over and over at his bookstore and eventually James gives in and dates Ash.
Things look like they might be working out ok, though James is always waiting for the other shoe to drop, when Ash is in a terrible accident and it looks like James may just lose Ash for good.
This is a novella, a bit longer than some of the other shorts in the Daily Dose series. It tries to do A LOT. We have older guy/younger guy, past issues of shame and hurt, a jealous ex, a serious injury, vastly different lifestyles… the list just goes on and on.
I was seriously compelled by the blurb and really enjoying this story – right up until the point where James and Ash begin their relationship. Suddenly things are feeling a little too much like a soap opera and outlandish. I’m not sure why there needed to be SO MANY obstacles for our poor couple, it almost feels like the author wanted to try out all these different story-lines and they all just got jammed together in this one novella.
I thought the writing was nice and the editing good. In fact, I really enjoyed James as a character, as well as his sister. However, I didn’t feel like I understood Ash very well, nor did I appreciate his rather obvious ex/friend. I could have given these issues a pass, and was inclined to give a rating well above a 3, but the injury Ash receives at the end and the way it’s handled, including the conclusion, just didn’t work for me.
Without spoiling the ending, I want to say that I appreciated the unique take on a common story-line the author attempted and I appreciated that Ash “fell in love again” with James as proof of their “rightness”, but it was too much for this short story to handle with sufficient grace.
2.5 of 5 hearts