Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.
Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.
As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?
Source: Netgalley My Rating: 2½/5 star
Colin Spencer has fought tooth and nail to get his life back on track and though some days are far harder than others, he’s mostly on the right path these days. Routine helps and hitches in the routine are likely to cause waves of the devastating variety. The hot new guy to show up at the gym could very likely be a hitch . . . . .
Daniel Moore left home as soon as he was legally old enough to do so. He’s spent his entire life in the closet out of fear his ultra-religious and completely homophobic family will not just reject him, but abandon him completely. Ironically, Daniel has found the greatest acceptance in the Navy where his shipmates couldn’t care less about his sexual orientation and genuinely like him for himself and his abilities. Oh, and they love to embarrass Daniel by pointing out eligible men during outings which is exactly how Daniel came to notice Colin Spencer at the gym. Colin is the hottest man Daniel has ever seen and if had more experience, Daniel would know exactly how to approach him.
The opportunity to approach Colin presents itself when Daniel sees his tattoos. Wanting one (or more!) of his own, Daniel broaches the subject of custom work and thus, the relationship begins. It’s clear from the beginning both Colin and Daniel are attracted to one another, but Colin has a past that is both deliciously scandalous and dangerous to his ongoing mental and physical well-being. Being in a relationship is tricky and requires a great deal of disclosure on Colin’s part which is why he has avoided such entanglements for some time. Daniel is altogether different and though Colin initially rejects the idea of being more than friends with benefits, it doesn’t take long to see the folly in that plan.
Daniel is as besotted with Colin as Colin is with Daniel and the early days of their relationship is all about discovery. With each new revelation from Colin, Daniel falls deeper in love and Colin understands that his past and his secrets, however scandalous and awful, are accepted by Daniel. In fact, Daniel is likely the most accepting person Colin has ever met and that makes him love Daniel all the more. Just as each begins to feel there is nothing they can’t overcome, Daniel’s family comes to town and everything they have built is blown apart!
The Bottom Line: I really, really wanted to like this book far more than I did. There are some significant issues with this read that are reflected in my overall star rating. First and foremost, among the problems is the development of the characters. Colin is significantly more developed than Daniel which makes him far more interesting. Daniel is a sweet kid, but all we really get out of him is his lack of experience and the fact he’s from an extremely homophobic family. Next up, the repetition. Nearly every conversation between Daniel and Colin are basically the same and generally all include some version of the phrase “my incredibly/extremely homophobic family.” I’m a smart girl and the book isn’t that long, I can remember Daniel’s background. Finally, there is the sex. I rarely ever complain about sex in a book, because, quite frankly, I enjoy the naughty bits, but this book has a metric ton of sex and that’s far too much. While the sex is good and varied, it does occur a lot and takes away from other elements of the story, such as character development. With all that being said, I did like Colin and his story and the description of the tatoos. Unfortunately, Colin and his tattoos alone just can’t carry the read and pull it above a two-and-a-half-star rating.