Buck Ellis's future seems pretty damn bright. With a full college scholarship in hand, he's going to ditch Bluewater Bay and pave the way for his kid brother Charlie to do the same. The only fly in Buck's ointment is his 10-year addiction to his best friend since second grade, his true love, and his Achilles heel: Ari Valentine, Mr. Least Likely to Succeed.
But then Buck's mother dies, changing everything, and five years later, his future is still on hold. It's a struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and Charlie on the straight and narrow. Buck can't afford any temptation, especially in the form of the newly returned, super hot, super confident, super successful television star Ari Valentine.
ADHD poster-child Ari Valentine left for Hollywood and lost everything, including his bad reputation. Then the breakthrough role of his skyrocketing career lands him back in Bluewater Bay, to the stunned disbelief of, well, everyone. But there's only one person Ari longs to impress - the only person who ever really mattered to him, the person he left behind: Buck Ellis.
©2014 L.B. Gregg (P)2016 Riptide Publishing
We start out meeting Buck and Ari at their first meeting in elementary school. Buck – slightly outcast, overweight, “other”, lonely – and Ari – new kid, hyperactive, petite and friendly to everyone. They form an instant bond that sticks with them all through high school until suddenly, just when Buck’s life is falling down around his ears, Ari leaves town for Hollywood not to be heard from for the next 5 years.
As the story progresses we learn that Buck has fought the attraction he felt for his best friend for years and never voiced it aloud. He’s crushed when Ari abandons him and is unwilling to just let bygones be bygones when Ari suddenly returns as his new neighbor.
Ari, meanwhile, has grown up and found himself in a lucrative acting career. He’s ready to come home and wants to be back in Buck’s life.
This book was a solid 5 star read for me up until the ending. Unfortunately, I’ve found this to be true with several of the author’s books. It’s like once the couple has even a hint that things might be on the path of happiness the story ends. It feels like slamming into a brick wall!
There is no way this feels like a resolved story to me. Yes, the boys are in a good place and yes it feels like it might be “forever” but we just spent all this time with them apart and just as we get a glimpse of “happy” – BAM – the story’s over.
Sure, I found the writing to be engaging and well done – Buck is a fun character and I loved being in his head at times! – but I also wished we’d seen a bit more from Ari. He’s barely a character as this is so much a Buck story and less a Buck and Ari story.
In any case… there was much to like about this story but I really wish there’d been more to the ending.
Book 3.5 of 5 stars
I picked up the audio because Nick J Russo is one of my favorite narrators and I couldn’t wait to see how he could help this story along for me. I was right. I definitely felt better about the story after listening to it because he adds so much to the overall experience. I love his take on emotions and when things are funny he’s at his best.
I highly recommend his narrations and he did a great job with this one.
Audio 5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
To me this story wasn't what I expected. It was kind of all over the place. I think LBG was trying to fit more in the book than what he needed in the short amount of time. He either should have let the book go on a little longer or kept a lot of the past out of the story. Way too much referencing back to the past. There were little bits and pieces of seeing the spark with Ari and Buck (I mean seriously what kind of name is Buck) but just not enough. Oh and throwing that assistant in there randomly. He could have been left out. All in all I didn't care for the story and was glad it was over. For the price I guess some would like it.
Now the narrator, Mr. Nick Russo, was really good. He made the story worth listening to but he still couldn't stop me from being ready for the story to end. I recommend listening to more of the books he does audio for.
I love to read any genre and most topics. I like diversity and engaging characters. I write, garden, cook,craft and chill with my furbabies
Buck has always had a thing about Ari from the moment he met in school, then I high school Ari up and left and Buck never heard from him since. Now a new neighbor arrives and it is none other than Ari now an aspiring actor expecting to pick up his friendship with Buck.
I have to say my favorite part of the story was the very beginning when they were children.
Once Arie returns the story gets a bit skippy and things that really don't add to the story such as an old hookup of Bucks that is an assistant to Ari.
Nick J Russo is a great Narrator and he really made the story, Once I started listening, I didn't want to stop. He has a way of bringing characters and a story to life.
If you are looking for a short, sweet romance, friends to lovers, second chances, a touch of drama and an allover fun story I think you will like this.
I received a copy for an honest review.
Reviewer for Delighted Reader Blog
I thought the narrator did a good job of capturing the essence of the characters in his storytelling so that I lost myself in the story and was right there seeing and experiencing it in my mind.
Fishstick Fridays because it is about a rough guy raising a niece on their own as a family and gets a chance at romance with a nice policed guy who has a troubled past of his own. Not the same, but my mind did recall it.
What wasn't to like. I have yet to not enjoy an audio book he is narrating. He brings the book into vivid color and makes me enjoy it all the more. This book especially. Pretty sure I ended up liking one of the heroes at all only b/c I was enjoying his storytelling (Buck was being a jerk a lot).
My Childhood Friend and Secret Love Has Returned- For Me
This is book two in the Bluewater Bay series that can be read standalone.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was too much like an abbreviated and not as well written version of Bear, Otter and the Kid. And the ending just felt totally unfinished. Not horrible, but wish I'd skipped it.
"Didn't enjoy story."
I bought this forgetting that I'd already read and disliked the written book. Too much of a second chance given for my liking. Ari leaves Buck, he actually stole from him first. He does try to contact Buck after 6 months, but doesn't go back to explain his actions. It takes him 5 years to go back and ask for forgiveness. Buck is angry and at one point apologises for being so. Why? The majority of people would've shown Ari the door. The 3 stars are for the audible. Nick J Russo.is one of my personal favourites. Shame about the book.
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