Glass Tidings

Author: Amy Jo Cousins

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy Links: Riptide  & Amazon 

Type: Standalone Novel

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb:  Eddie Rodrigues doesn’t stay in one place long enough to get attached. The only time he broke that rule, things went south fast. Now he’s on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop a bus to Texas after his (sort-of-stolen) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.

He’s fine. He’ll manage. Until he watches that girl get hit by a car and left to die.

Local shop owner Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favors. But even a recluse can’t avoid everyone in a town as small as Clear Lake. And when the cop who played Juliet to your Romeo in the high school play asks you to put up her key witness for the night, you say yes.

Now Gray’s got a grouchy glass artist stomping around his big, empty house, and it turns out that he . . . maybe . . . kind of . . . likes the company.

But Eddie Rodrigues never sticks around.

Unless a Christmas shop owner who hates the season can show an orphan what it means to have family for the holidays.

 

Review:  Eddie has spent most of his twenty-eight years moving from one place to the next. After a childhood spent in various foster homes, Eddie found a place of sorts on the Renaissance Faire circuit selling his hand-blown glass ornaments. The vagabond lifestyle of travelling between the various Ren Faires has suited his ethos of not being tied down to anything or anyone. Loneliness, a longing to experience a little permanency and the dream of enjoying the holidays with someone special led Eddie to settle down with his new boyfriend for the winter break. Unfortunately, the boyfriend turned out to be more interested in being high than being with Eddie, so Eddie borrowed the now ex-boyfriend’s car and took off. Even more unfortunately, the crappy boyfriend’s equally crappy car breaks down just outside a small town in the middle of nowhere on his way to the friends he usually spends winter with in Texas.

Left with no other option, Eddie heads towards the town and the nearest Greyhound bus stop. Becoming a material witness to a hit and run was definitely not a part of that plan. To make bad matters worse, Christine, the police officer on the scene, has to rush to another call, leaving Eddie with strict instructions not to leave town until she’s finished with him. At least she organised a roof over his head for the night. Gray, a resident on the street near where the hit and run occurred and apparently a friend of Christine’s, is unwittingly volunteered to provide that roof.

Gray is a quiet, solitary man. He owns a specialty store, selling Christmas decorations for two months of the year during the holiday season, that has been run by his family for three generations. Gray also owns a house that he has slowly been restoring for years. It was supposed to be a home for he and his partner, Brady, until Brady decided otherwise and left Gray alone in the large, empty house. He may have been reluctant to have his unexpected guest, but there’s no denying the energetic, mostly-affable Eddie makes the place feel a lot less lonely.

I loved the connection between the characters. Even though Gray was initially reluctant to have his solitude invaded and Eddie was reluctant to stay put, I felt that connection that drew them together. Their personalities were a case of opposites attract in a lot of ways, but I could see how they would fit together and compliment each other so well. Eddie’s past experiences has left him prickly when he felt like the walls were closing in on him, and Gray had been burned badly by the blindside of his last relationship; yet both where aware enough to see the potential of what they could have together. That’s not to say that fear of their feelings and the baggage they carried didn’t become obstacles to that, but they were mature enough to acknowledge that. These characters are portrayed with a wonderful realism. They were both fully developed and layered and I adored both MCs. The secondary characters also felt like real people, not just placeholders or devices to advance the story. The event of the hit and run was also addressed as the story continued. Again, it wasn’t just a device used to introduce the MCs to each other and then conveniently forgotten.

Eddie and Gray made me laugh at their banter, broke my a heart a little as they struggled to overcome the things that held them back, and made me smile with their moments of sweetness as their romance slowly developed. I would have liked to see a bit more growth for both Gray and Eddie in certain areas – Gray with coming back into the world, and Eddie with his glass art. However, all in all, Glass Tidings was an engaging story that I didn’t want to put down, with characters I loved spending time with.

 

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