Author: LB Gregg
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Standalone Short
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Buck Ellis’s future seems pretty damn bright. With a full college scholarship in hand, he’s going to ditch Bluewater Bay and pave the way for his kid brother Charlie to do the same. The only fly in Buck’s ointment is his ten-year addiction to his best friend since second grade, his true love, and his Achilles heel: Ari Valentine, Mr. Least Likely to Succeed.
But then Buck’s mother dies, changing everything, and five years later, his future is still on hold. It’s a struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and Charlie on the straight and narrow. Buck can’t afford any temptation, especially in the form of the newly returned, super hot, super confident, super successful television star Ari Valentine.
ADHD poster-child Ari Valentine left for Hollywood and lost everything, including his bad reputation. Then the breakthrough role of his skyrocketing career lands him back in Bluewater Bay, to the stunned disbelief of, well, everyone. But there’s only one person Ari longs to impress—the only person who ever really mattered to him, the person he left behind: Buck Ellis.
Review: I’m always excited to get a new book by this author to read. Compilation series are always interesting, so this one was a no brainer for me. I did however jump right to the second book. I do not know if that dampened my enjoyment of the book. I knew I was missing some details that the first book must have laid out for me but I never felt lost. What can I say? I saw LB Gregg and snatched that one up!
The book starts out with Buck meeting the larger than life (to him) Ari Valentine. They meet on the playground as kids and Buck just knows his life will never be the same. Totally adorable and I was hooked from the first few pages. Jump to years later when life has made Buck a little bitter. His chance at college was taken away when his mother died and he had to take over caring for his brother as a teenager. Buck knows it was the right thing to do but you can’t help but feel like life dealt you a shitty hand.
When his best friend and the man he pined for for years buys the house next door to him it shakes up his stagnant existence in the small tourist village he’s grown up in. Ari is back. He’s beautiful and famous. Rich. AND Buck is a barrista at a local coffee shop. Buck is rightfully angry at Ari disappearing on him the day his mom died. He just doesn’t know the entire story. Doesn’t matter since Ari is there to stay and to make sure Buck is back in his life again. This time he’s not a young kid too scared to admit what he wants most in the world is Buck.
This was an adorable read. Not too sweet. The kind of adorable that has you smiling for most of the story. As always this author writes some witty dialogue and hilarious inner thoughts for her characters. I LOVE a second chance at love story and I was cheering for these two the entire book. Despite Buck’s persistent attitude to keep that from happening. The secondary characters really helped to make the story feel rich and real.
I loved Ari! Ari had his own issues that he never let Buck in on. Growing up in a small town I know too well how harsh people can be to those who don’t fit the perfect mold. Ari kept his secrets out of fear of pity and embarrassment. His feelings for Buck he kept to himself because he was so scared of losing the one constant good thing he had. Buck. Very sad. None of this book is too heavy but I felt the impact these things had on the characters.
I did have a couple issues with the story. It didn’t feel balanced. I really wanted 100 more pages. I think it needed 50 more. There were so many thoughts working their way through Buck’s head for so many pages of the book, I felt I lost out on some much needed interaction between the MCs. The time they did spend on page together was so good. Guess I’m greedy and just wanted more of that. I know Buck had a lot to work out in his head. The other thing is the way it ended. It was fine but not all that satisfying. I guess if I ever get more from Buck and Ari I’ll take it back. I would have enjoyed an epilogue or something. I would have enjoyed reading about Ari and Buck in a relationship finally after all that time. I did get my HEA so I enjoyed it. I’ll go back to read the first book in the series. Then book 3 whenever I can get my hands on it. 🙂 Definitely worth reading.