Book Review: Love Ahead by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux

Title: Love AheadLove Ahead by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban 
Author: Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: June 2008 by Dreamspinner Press

Under Contract
The last thing Nick Cooper expects is for his boss, construction site foreman Ted Lucas, to insanely declare his love right after he finds out Cooper has asked to be transferred. Intrigued, Cooper offers him one night, figuring the "love" will burn out after sex, but it goes far better than either expect. Lucas's chance comes when an accident leaves Cooper stuck and hurting at home. Lucas does his best to take care of him while hoping Cooper will fall in love with him in return, and Cooper discovers the idea of having Lucas in his life isn't that crazy after all.

Over the Road
Truck driver Elliot Cochran meets "McLean" while talking on the CB and strikes up an unusual friendship comprised of short telephoned rants and long overnight discussions. One evening, McLean tells Elliot he needs to lighten up and go find some companionship, and so Elliot meets Jimmy Vaughan and has one of the best nights in his life. Before long Elliot faces a decision about sharing his life and building a future: Does he choose to love McLean, the best friend he's never met, or Jimmy, the man who thrills him beyond belief?

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: First novella wowed me so thoroughly that the second suffered in comparison.

The Set Up: In Under Contract, construction foreman Lucas is in love with his assistant foreman, Nick Cooper. Lucas confesses his love when Cooper tells him of his transfer request and Cooper offers him a night of sex instead. But when Cooper gets injured their relationship takes a sudden turn. In Over the Road, two truckers develop a friendship over the CB and plan to meet. Elliot wants his best friend, whom he’s never met, but he can’t say no to Jimmy, a good time friend he meets for erotic weekends.

Why I Read this Book: This was the last of the Madeleine Urban co=authored books I have to read. I haz a sad about that.

What I Liked: Oooo…Under Contract is awesomeness! This has a very different romantic tension than most romances: Lucas confesses he’s in love with Cooper within the first few pages (not a spoiler because it says it in the synopsis!). The rest of the long novella is Lucas trying to show Cooper he’s really in love with him and Cooper trying not to take advantage of Lucas’s declaration. The eroticism of this novella is outstanding primarily because the emotional intimacy is super intense. Lucas’s utter devotion to Cooper and Cooper’s honesty about not being in love with Lucas sets up a romantic tension unlike anything I’ve previously read and it was beyond delicious. I don’t normally get emotional when reading books but I nearly had tears a few times and had my tummy jump at the romantic protestations. I also adore that this novella covers lots of time. Cooper and Lucas’s romance isn’t rushed but slowly unfolds and this allowed for deepening layers of emotional development between the men that I can’t rave enough about.

What I Also Liked: Over the Road is a good novella though suffers from being paired with the swoon-worthy Under Contract. Elliot is a good character though an exceedingly lonely one so I liked reading how he develops a verbal friendship with MacLean, a fellow trucker. MacLean is a happy-go-lucky foil to Elliot’s tense personality. Jimmy and Elliot’s physical relationship provides the eroticism of the novella. How the romance is resolved isn’t rocket science or a mystery but it was good enough. The epilogue in this novella is charming, though a tad contrived.

What I Didn’t Like: Under Contract is such an amazing novella that any novella would suffer from being read after it. However, Over the Road really suffers because the leads aren’t together all that much. The identity issues between the men make it so the emotional and physical intimacies in the novella have a disconnection between them. This is even more glaring when compared to the intense connections between the leads in the first novella.

Finally, I hate to be nuts but like another Urban book, this suffered a tad from editing. In Under Contract Lucas is running is fingernails up Cooper’s “denim” inseam only to pull Cooper up and remove his “khaki shorts”. I know this is silly but I’m *that* person, sorry.

IMO: Under Contract is a total 5-frog read for me and I’m going to reread it many times. Over the Road is an average read that I liked so 3-frog. I guess this makes the book a 4-frog but do read it for the amazing Under Contract.

J9’s Rating:
4 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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