Do you love Bluewater Bay and Anne Tenino as much as we do? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’re thrilled to be celebrating Anne’s recent addition to this fantastic series. Be sure to check out the excerpt, our review and enter the giveaway!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her Man of Honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the Best Man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.
The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.
When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.
He wandered over to some tall grasses a few feet away and picked one with a long stem. Thinking was easier if he had a stalk to chew on. Also, from here he could see Lucas without having to stoop.
His chin was still set and his arms were still folded up high on his pecs, while he stared haughtily out the window. Brat. Made Gabe wonder why he even had a soft spot left for the guy. Probably because he had lips made for sulking. And sucking. Hell. He sighed, about to tell Audrey and Zach he couldn’t imagine Lucas agreeing to this when something caught his attention.
Actually, something caught Lucas’s attention—the muscles around his eyes tightened while the ones in his jaw loosened, and he jerked forward slightly, intent on something in the horse pasture.
Gabe followed Lucas’s line of sight to see what had him so fascinated, and . . . it was May. Taking a dump.
Nah, that can’t be it. A car door creaked open, but Gabe didn’t turn toward it. He was too busy trying to figure out what he was missing.
“Shhhh!” Audrey hissed, which seemed unnecessary since no one was speaking. She’d clutched Zach’s arm excitedly, and they both watched Lucas walk toward the steel panel fence as if he was in a trance. By then May was done and had moved on, cropping grass as she went, but Lucas was staring at the steaming pile of horse shit.
Then he said something. Not quite loud enough to hear from the driveway.
“What?” Audrey turned to Gabe. “What did he say?”
He shrugged. “Hell if I know.” Better find out, though. Spitting out his grass stem, he made his way over to stand next to the guy, not so close he was threatening Lucas’s virtue, but close enough that he could make out some of the finer hairs on the nape of his neck. “Find something interesting?”
“This place is perfect,” Lucas murmured. “I can totally work here.”
“Great.” He guessed.
Lucas turned, glazed-over eyes slowly focusing on him, changing until they went a little bluer, but not frosty like earlier.
Okay, yeah, he did get a little jolt of pleasure over thinking Lucas would be hanging around, perverse as that was. It wasn’t like he had anything to do with the decision. Apparently, that was all May. And her feces.
Never thought of horse manure as a motivator, but whatever worked.
I’ve been really looking forward to Anne Tenino’s contribution to this amazing series for a while now. I always enjoy her stories because they offer unique spins on familiar tropes, complete with vibrant, lively characters. I think you’ll find Wedding Favors is truly no different – Lucas and Gabe keep things very interesting in quiet little Bluewater Bay.
If anything these guys are a study in contrasts. Lucas is a famous sculptor who’s sworn never to return to Bluewater Bay. He spent most of his life waiting to get out, so why would he ever go back? Instead he’s traveled the world in pursuit of his art before settling in LA. Gabe’s a down-to-earth logger who can’t imagine being anywhere else. He’s content to run his family business, working the land and taking care of his family. That isn’t where the differences end either; their personalities and preferences make me wonder if it’s even possible for them to get on the same page.
The one thing they do have in common is that spark of attraction and shared memories of a one-time hook-up. Okay, so they each remember that night differently, but the result is basically the same – in all the years since Lucas left Bluewater Bay to take on the world, neither has been able to forget it. Lucas coming home for his best friend’s wedding and finding out Gabe’s the Best Man might just be the push they need to forgive and forget.
Gabe seems like my kind of guy – warm, caring and genuinely kind – and I liked him immediately. Lucas took me a bit longer, but only because he’s that sassy kind of self-involved that makes you wonder if he’s really a jerk or it’s all a facade. In this case, getting to see the real Lucas is a revelation. Tenino slowly shows his true character, and we find him growing, changing, maturing. He’s able to shrug off the superficial armor he’s unknowingly donned living in LA, relax and finally just live. That kind of awe and wonder is refreshing to share with a character, and it gives me such hope that maybe love doesn’t have to be so painful after all.
But of course it is. Painful, I mean. It’s clear as the story progresses that what Gabe and Lucas share is much more than a physical attraction. Without even trying, Gabe is everything Lucas never realized he wants in a partner. He’s kind, considerate, attentive – all things Lucas really needs. Most of all he’s unconditionally accepting, and for someone who’s used to hiding parts of himself out of fear of censure like Lucas, that’s critical. But Gabe and Lucas’ arrangement has an expiration date, and as it draws near, the angst and tension really ramp up. Tenino builds toward a climax that I’m not sure I ever want to reach. (Now there’s a first. Sorry, I had to. This is Anne Tenino after all, a woman lauded for good sexual humor and giving away handmade male genitalia.) Anyway, getting back on track…you won’t want to miss the emotional, sensual journey these guys take.
If you’ve been reading and enjoying the Bluewater Bay series, you’ll find this story has the same vibe and feel as the others. How multiple authors manage to achieve that kind of consistency is always astounding to me. It’s inherent that each has his/her own style and flair, but those nuances are blended into a singular sensation of belonging in Bluewater Bay. Each story expands an already amazing cast of characters in this rather quaint, charming setting. I like that Tenino’s story mentions but doesn’t directly involve Wolf’s Landing; I think it’s one of the few to do so. It’s a nice reminder that there’s more than just movie star magic in Bluewater Bay.
RATING: ONE BAD ASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Catalyzed by her discovery of LGBTQ romance, Anne Tenino left the lucrative fields of art history, non-profit fundraising, and domestic engineering to follow her dream of become a starving romance author. For good or ill, her snarky, silly, quasi-British sense of humor came along for the ride.
Anne applies her particular blend of romance, comedy and gay protagonists to contemporary, scifi and paranormal tales. Her works have won awards, she’s been featured in RT Book Reviews, and has achieved bestseller status on Amazon’s gay romance list.
Born and raised in Oregon, Anne lives in Portland with her husband and two kids, who have all taken a sacred oath to never read her books. She can usually be found at her computer, procrastinating.
CONNECT WITH ANNE:
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