Rough Road by Vanessa North was a great twist on one of my favorite tropes: age difference. It’s the second book in her Lake Lovelace series, but I haven’t read the first one (YET!).
You see, Eddie is the older man in the relationship but he’s also a masochist and bottom. Interesting, right? Then Wish, who is much younger, is the sadist and top.
Topsy-turvy, amirite? But I loved it! It totally worked for me. This whole book is about opposites and how they can work together.
Not only is there the big age gap, and the sadism/masochism angle, but they are also polar opposites socioeconomically. Eddie is filthy rich, we’re talking mega-bucks. Wish is as blue collar as they come. As a construction worker, he is completely dependent on where the jobs are and how long they last.
Which also led to one of their biggest fights. There’s a bill up to be voted on by the town that would build another bridge into town and Wish is all for it–it would mean guaranteed work for him so he can stay close to his family. But Eddie is against it because…well, mostly because his archenemy supports it and it would be a bit of an inconvenience to move his business.
So that got a bit tense and then on top of that Eddie’s best friend, Ben, nearly comes between them. Like I said, I haven’t read the first book in the series (Ben’s book) but from this one I could tell that some aspects of their friendship were unhealthy. Eddie’s put Ben first for so long that it’s hard for him to learn to put Wish first.
Plus, because of Wish’s age (24) he’s noooot always the best at expressing negative emotions. He tends to get angry and walk away. Which is fine in the context of a bar fight but not so great for making a relationship work.
Luckily, even though Eddie was super reluctant to begin a relationship with someone so much younger, he fights so hard for the two of them and shows Wish how great they are together. When things get rocky Eddie digs in and refuses to give up–the stubborn SOB. 🙂
The development of the relationship and, subsequently, the characters was really well done. Eddie was a wonderful narrator. Even though he was mature and knew himself really well, there was still growth for him personally and with their relationship.
I really loved how outrageously flamboyant and proud Eddie was and, even better, how much Wish couldn’t have cared less. He liked Eddie just the way he was and wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed by the way Eddie acted or spoke.
That’s love right there.
Another thing I adored about this book was Eddie’s…decorations. I love piercings and tattoos on characters. Eddie’s piercings were seriously hot, made even more so by how much Wish liked them.
Also, I loved Tina. There are not enough trans characters in LGBTQ books, either as main characters or supporting, so I’m always pleased when they get represented.
With so many things I love, how could I not love this book? Rough Road is a delightful read with humor, kinky sex, and perfectly imperfect characters. I can’t wait to read the first in the series and then reread this one.
Copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.
When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.
When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.