Series: Coda Books, Book 1
Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: January 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
Jared Thomas has lived his whole life in the small mountain town of Coda, Colorado. He can't imagine living anywhere else. Unfortunately, the only other gay man in town is twice his age and used to be his teacher, so Jared is resigned to spending his life alone. Until Matt Richards walks into his life, that is. Matt has just been hired by the Coda Police Department, and he and Jared immediately become friends. Matt claims he is straight, but for Jared, having a sexy friend like Matt is way too tempting. Facing Matt's affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt's co-workers, Jared fears they'll never find a way to be together-if he can even convince Matt to try.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Awesome nuanced MM romance with two great leads. This had two elements that normally turn me off, first-person narration and a gay-for-you character, but it was such a great romance neither bothered me.
The Set Up: Jared is the only gay man under sixty in his small Colorado town. So when the new police officer Matt wants to be friends, Jared agrees. But Jared can’t keep their relationship platonic and Matt is showing signs he may not want to just be friends either.
Why I Read this Book: This book is on a lot of best of MM romance lists so had to try.
What I Liked: Jared and Matt are wonderfully nuanced characters. They are complete humans with insecurities, strengths, and fears. Unlike a lot of MM romance, the characters aren’t defined by their sexuality; it’s just part of what makes them human. This is told first person by Jared and his open vulnerability to Matt and his family is lovely to read. He’s comfortable with who he is and the life he’s built but he’s also looking to expand it. I think any reader can relate to Jared’s desire for a partnership and meaningful relationships with others. Matt is a bit more closed off emotionally to readers since this is told by Jared but he’s still a well-explored character. He has some great conversations with Jared about growing up and his fractured relationship with his father. Matt’s exploration of his sexuality is handled with good intensity and care that I liked a lot more than the traditional gay-for-you characters in MM romance.
What I Also Liked: These characters combine for a great romance with well-balanced emotional and sexual intimacy. Jared and Matt spend nearly half the book as just friends, getting to know each other. Then organically their sexual and emotional intensity increases and a lot of pages are devoted to how both men deal with this change. This morphs into how “out” do they want to be and I loved the switch that happens here where Matt wants a more public relationship than Jared. The very best part is that nothing in the romance is forced or rushed along. Instead, the author allows time and life to ebb and flow as the men figure out what being a couple means to them. The men hurt each other and themselves but it’s not for the sake of tension but springs naturally from who the characters are. This is one of those sigh worthy romances that I’m always looking for in romance and rarely find but when I do I want to shout “Eureka!”
What I Didn’t Like: There is a slight danger plot that was unnecessary in my opinion. It didn’t ruin the story but it was superfluous. Jared and Matt’s romance was enough drama for the book and didn’t need this silly danger plot I could see coming from the beginning.