Well, let’s kick this review off with a big ol’ well done Brooke Blaine, well done indeed! Here’s where I tell you, this is my first solo Brooke Blaine book. I’ve read her work with Ella Frank, the PresLocke series and I totally loved it. These two ladies have a special writing connection and it shines through in their work together – it’s like they are one brain or something, Borg shit maybe? Whatever, it works. Many of my Nerds have read her LA Liaisons series and loved it but for me, this is my first solo BB book. I jumped right in armed only with the knowledge that A LITTLE BIT LIKE LOVE is a M/M book. That’s it, that’s all I knew and I was not disappointed for one little minute! Let me set the stage for you.
Jackson Devenport comes from money, ridiculous money attached to a powerful businessman father. Jackson is everything a father could want, smart, athletic, kind and loyal. He met the love of his young life while he was away in boarding school. Daddy Dearest wasn’t having that so he manipulated his son and his burgeoning love in the most heinous of ways.
Lucas Sullivan comes from a different type of monied family. With his parents dead, his grandmother is raising him to be a fine young man, one that is comfortable in his sexuality. She’s also raising a soul that loves with his entire heart, not a small task since he’s suffered so much loss, so early. When his best friend, turned high school love leaves school without a trace, Lucas is shattered.
Here’s the part in the story where you’re like, dude…go after each other, find each other, do something, you are both young men of means, don’t just let true love slip away. I’ll admit I was a touch pissed that these two went so long without finding each other and then the big reveal starts to happen and I was all, “oh, shit, totally plausible, jesus that guy is a dick…” and not to give anything away but dude, all bases of this manipulation are covered. Any hoots, flash forward a decade and our second chance romance kicks in. I love a well scripted second chance romance. Now, as much as I love a second chance, there’s no denying these fuckers can go to hell in an angst driven, bad decision-making basket fast. But, Blaine escapes the manufactured drama go-to plot point, beautifully. I mean, this could be an angst-ridden, high drama situation but Blaine avoids all of that and lets level heads prevail. There’s plenty of conflict but as I stated, it’s all 100% plausible!
When Jackson and Lucas were unceremoniously broken apart, they each handled the emotions attached to it differently. Jackson went on to begrudgingly fill the role his father prepped him for. On the love front, there were women, nothing scandalous, but he wasn’t a hermit. And no other men, Jackson is a one man only kinda’ man. He’s also a one love only kinda’ man and Lucas is/was it for him. He pretty much decided he’d live a loveless life but as Jackson is wont to do, he’d do right by everyone around him, except himself. Lucas, on the other hand, had all of the men, every last one and South Haven is a tourist town so his supply was unlimited. These were only one night, no name necessary. Lucas drowned his sorrow and walled up his heart with meaningless fucks. A business trip brings Jackson to Lucas’ stomping grounds and well…you’ll have to read it to see how it all plays out.
The sexual tension between these two is palpable, the heat, the love, the longing, man, it’ll make you feel things all around your heart. The sex, whoooo, weeee, mommma, there’s a scene in the ocean that, well, it works – boy does it fucking work. I hate to call this “gay for you” because labeling Jackson feels wrong, it feels derogatory. This is more like his heart found its match in Lucas and now he’s old enough and brave enough to finally do right by himself.
A LITTLE BIT LIKE LOVE has two characters that are genuinely beautiful, deeply flawed but painfully self-aware. They’ve been dealt a shit taco in life and finding their way back to each other isn’t easy but it is lovely to watch. Blaine also sets the stage for future books by giving us lovingly crafted secondary characters. I can’t wait for the Fall to get more of the South Haven series. Blaine’s writing just flows, it’s easy to read, the story grips you from the very beginning and the dialogue between Jackson and Lucas feels raw and intimate, again I say, well done Brooke Blaine, well done indeed.
Smooches,Tags: 4.5 stars, Contemporary, M/M Romance, Second Chance Romance