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A Love in Laguna Novel
Jim Carney has a full time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job, and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares. How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?
I really, truly, desperately, wanted to love this book. Sadly, I couldn’t.
We met Jim in the first installment of this series. When I read him in Knight of Ocean Avenue, I absolutely adored him. In this book, I must confess that I struggled… Big time.
Jim has lived the last 10-12 years of his life as a straight man. When he was younger he had an experience with a guy he met in high school. After things went sour he retook his life as a ladies man… Kind of… He clearly struggled with his attraction to women, and he constantly jacked off to Yaoi… So, there’s that. In this respect, I truly felt for him. While I don’t think that fooling himself into heterosexuality was the wisest thing to do, I do believe that it is possible that after a traumatic experience you choose to hide your darkest desires and bury them for years. I’m still amazed at the denial, but yet again, it’s not something that I consider absolutely impossible. The thing is that, even with all my sentiment of empathy towards the guy, I still couldn’t find it in myself to like him. For one, I totally disliked his treatment of women. He wasn’t always kind, and more often than not I felt like he knew exactly what he was doing. Did this come from his fear of finding out who he really was? Hell, maybe! Do I excuse this? Damn. No. I spent most of the time angry, and this is an indicative for me.
Jim who works for Billy, stays in charge of Billy’s business. Part of the charge he just got comes with a medical examination, and this is how he meets Ken.
I kind of liked Ken, but at the same time I had a very hard time connecting with him. Again, there were things I saw in him that I didn’t like. Like Jim, he also has a history, a past that makes him be the way he is. To act the way he does. I HATED Ken’s mother, with all of me. I hated how controlling and how manipulative she was, and I absolutely hated him that Ken didn’t stand up for himself for most of the book.
Jim and Ken’s relationship has a very odd slow burn. I say odd because it didn’t allow me to see how much they were actually into each othere where sex was not involved. And I say slow burn because… hell! It was slow. I must say that one thing that annoyed me a bit was that both MC were sort of dating other people at the same time they were seeing each other. Jim was dating a woman that I really liked, and who he treated… Not as bad, but not as great either. Ken was dating this guy that I hated with all of me, so every time he came into the picture I reaged.
One of my biggest niggles here were the sex scenes/scenarios. There were scenes that I could put in the dub-con wagon and, that alone, made me uneasy… I wish there had been a warning about this. Just as the scene that could have led to gang rape… I don’t do particularly well with these kind of scenes and they came a bit out of nowhere.
One thing I did like a lot was the secondary MC. I really liked Jim’s brother, and I felt for him so much because he was going through a rough path when he came back into Jim’s life. While I didn’t particularly like Jim’s treatment of women, I did LOVE his relationship with his brother. It was warm, and kind, and supportive. This was the Jim I read in the first book and that I loved, and I wish I’d seen more of that shade of him.
I think some people would totally love this book. Unfortunately, for me it didn’t work out :(