Nightmares and panic attacks following a horrific tragedy leave Professor Elliot Lawrence a prisoner in his own home. After months of relying on his sister as his only connection to the outside world, Elliot is desperate for a sliver of independence. But leaving the safety of his home isn’t an option, not yet, and he reaches out in the most innocuous way he can think of: grocery delivery.
Colton Kelly, retired porn star and recent college grad, is struggling at two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. During one of his grocery deliveries, he meets Elliot. Although the attraction between them is instant, they must first traverse the long road of putting Elliot back together. When disaster strikes yet again, this time in Colt’s life, Elliot’s not sure he’s strong enough to be the man Colt needs him to be.
I liked the first book in this series, and I like Cate Ashwood's work in general, but I didn't love this book.
First of all, yes, you can read this book as a standalone. The MCs from book 1 are mentioned briefly at the beginning, but the story is really about Colt, ex-porn star and Evan's (MC from book 1) friend, and Elliot, a college professor suffering from severe anxiety due to a violent incident he witnessed. Colt
may as well have been an ex-cop or ex-chef; nothing about this book says "Hey, I used to fuck/get fucked on screen for a living."
Elliot thinks about Colt's former profession for 5 seconds, beats off to an old video of Colt, and that's the end of it. It's never discussed.
The plot focuses on Elliot's anxiety, but a couple unfortunate Melodrama (with a capital "M") moments are thrown in for good measure. I didn't think the side plots regarding Elliot's therapist or Colt's crazy homophobic aunt were necessary. They felt like throwaways to spice up a rather flat plot.
Elliot and Colt are sweet together, but there is no tension to their relationship. Both are so good, so understanding, that I was yawning half-way through.
The steam was also sadly lacking, which come on ... porn star, yeah? I wanted more hot & dirty.
Also, at one point, the MCs seem to stop using condoms. Maybe I misread that, but I kept waiting for the talk that never happened.
The ending is a HEA, never fear; this is an easy, feel-good read. It just didn't excite me or draw me in.
MINI RANT (feel free to ignore):
I'm a professor and have been in academia my entire life. In the book, Colt, who has a bachelor's degree only, is offered an instructor position at a university. Two years later, he's an assistant professor.
This would happen exactly NEVER in real life. I have not even heard of a community college hiring an instructor who doesn't have at least a master's degree.
This is a small niggle, but it made me itch all over.