Happy Ending (Men of Smithfield, #2)
Aspen Mountain Press | April, 2009 | ISBN 978-1-60168-203-1 | 137 pages
Genre & Keywords: M/M, Contemporary, Suspense, (Step)fatherhood
Heat level: ¹¹½
The Back Blurb:
All Seth really wanted was a simple massage—was that too much to ask? When his usual therapist is replaced by a sexy young masseur, Seth finds himself obsessed with the unpredictable - and wholly inappropriate - David Cooke. Pushed to the breaking point by forces both mysterious and not so mysterious, Seth must lose his rigid control to find the happy ending both he and David deserve.
I’ve read this book for the DIK Book Reading Challenge.
This is the second book of this author’s Men of Smithfield series. I’ve read the first one too, Gobsmacked, but these books can all be read as standalones. The third book is Cover Me. And the fourth, In and Out, will be released in May. Besides the two MoS books I’ve also read L.B. Gregg’s latest, Catch Me if You Can. Between these three books and her blog Nose in a Book it’s safe for me to say that I really like her sense of humor. This is an author who can make me laugh out loud with her way with words! A lot!
That being said, I have to admit that Happy Ending didn't make me laugh out loud as much as the other books did. Still, Seth made me chuckle quite a lot and he's a rather refreshing character, with his gruffness and direct, short responses. And the opening scene is memorable and hilarious. Seth and David meet each other when Seth comes in for his weekly massage and David is the replacement for his usual massage therapist. The massage turns out to be a bit too much for Seth, who can’t help himself feeling attracted to the young, somewhat weird David. It’s not so much what happens that makes this a great scene, although you’ll never forget about the poor massage table ever, ahum, but it’s Seth’s view on things and his thoughts that adds a special touch to the scene. To give you an idea of his grumpy, self-assessing ‘voice’, here he is, waiting for his massage therapist, Linda:
It reeked of lavender. Why did everything in the goddamn room have to stink of it? I opened my mouth to breathe. I always meant to complain about the smell, but by the time Linda was through working out the kinks in my back it didn't seem that important. It shouldn't seem important now. This was yet another indication that I was stressed out and irritated.
Irritated that it was currently 2:05 and still no sign of Linda.
The music was getting to me. Who would choose this shit? Birds warbled over Celtic fiddles and bagpipes and penny whistles and—holy hell, it was giving me a tension headache. A little Dave Matthews would have been appreciated. I was tired and tense and whining to myself. Even I didn't like me right now.
Seth and David's first encounter doesn’t end in a friendly way and when they meet again I have a hard time picturing them together, also as a result of Seth’s twisted thoughts about David which oscillate from attraction to repulsion. What David thinks is a mystery but apparently he sees something in Seth. And before the night is over they end up in a dark alley having some fun together. Seth and David are an unusual and somewhat odd couple - talk about opposites attract - but eventually the author succeeded in making me believe in their pairing. Although I thought that the story ended at a point their relationship started to get interesting. And I found myself wishing the book had at least 50 more pages to see a little bit more of them as a couple. By then the non-romantic storyline, which was also part of this book, was wound up and imo that would’ve been the perfect moment to focus more on their feelings for each other. Ah well.
About that non-romantic storyline: I don’t want to reveal too much of this, because it’ll spoil your reading pleasure if you haven’t read the book yet. But there’re a dandy ex-boyfriend, some sneakily taken, compromising pictures, a threat from a loser dad, some secrets about fatherhood and a kidnapping, involved. All these elements bring some suspense and tension to the story that I didn’t get much from the evolving love story, to be honest. They gave Happy Ending a fast-paced plot with some good twists. That and the presence of Molly in Seth’s life - his, motherless niece that he describes as ‘a stout moppet with hair as thick and auburn as mine and eyes the color of copper’ - were the highlights of this story for me. I also enjoyed Seth and David as characters and a couple, but not as much as I wished to, because I feel I don’t know them well enough.
Nonetheless, Happy Ending was an enjoyable read for me that I’ll recommend to anyone who likes a fun, fast-paced, sexy quick read or who’s a fan, like me, of this author’s sense of humor and witty writing.