Tender With A Twist by Annabeth Albert
Series: Rainbow Cove #2
Published: October 3, 2017 by Annabeth Albert
Genre: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.
Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…
But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.
Annabeth Albert always writes great character driven stories and this one is no different. I really liked Logan and enjoyed reading about his growth into the person he really was on the inside. Curtis was a bit harder to warm up to but he was still wrestling with his grief over losing his partner Troy. Their relationship started out very clinical with both keeping all their feelings locked down tight but it grew from there and that’s when I really started to enjoy them as a couple.
Logan was so romantic and sweet about taking care of Curtis and he knew just the way to do it that got around all of Curtis’s protests and grumpiness. Logan’s transformation of accepting himself was great to read. He’s had bad luck in Portland embracing his Dom side and that’s made him nervous about venturing into the leather/BDSM world again. I appreciated that even when Curtis was calling Logan “kid” he always respected him as a Dom.
“It had been so long since I’d felt anything resembling hope that I didn’t recognize the trembling in my gut at first. What if people did get a second chance and I was about to miss mine?”
Curtis was the big reason this is a 3 star rating instead of a 4. I just had a really hard time warming up to him since he spends more than the first half of the book trying to keep Logan at arm’s length. He’s understandably still grieving, but I just felt so bad for Logan whenever he got pushed away. I don’t mind some kinks, but pain is not one of them, so for me personally, this was not in my preference. However, Albert writes about it so competently that I better understand why it appeals for others.
**Reader Safety: Hero is a grieving the death of his partner
3 stars – it was good
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