From the blurb:
Small-town heroes and big-town hearts.
When Jefferson Lee Davis leaves his life in the big city to return to the small Southern town of Holly Creek, his natural charm soon has the residents eating out of his hand. Jefferson Lee steps up to help with Holly Creek s biggest festival, Dogwood Days, which puts him directly in the path of the town s hunky sheriff, Zane Yarbrough. Quirky neighbors, meddling family, and a sassy best friend make Jefferson Lee s life a full-time adventure, and he warms to the idea of making a home in Holly Creek a life that might include Zane.
But as the summer Rose Festival looms around the corner and more small-town secrets come to light, Jefferson Lee and Zane must take a long look at their blossoming romance. If they re going to make it as a couple, they ll have to work through their trust issues and believe that the relationship they re building can weather any storm that blows their way.
Jefferson Lee Davis, Holly Creek s new Director of Publicity, is gearing up for the next big town event, the summer Rose Festival. The job is running smoothly, but the course of true love has hit a rocky patch. His hunky boyfriend, Sheriff Zane Yarbrough, is receiving mysterious phone calls he doesn t want to discuss. While Jefferson Lee is blindsided by jealousy, the second shoe drops with the appearance of a handsome stranger in the small tight-knit community. Needing answers, Jefferson Lee enlists his best gal-pal Clover Crofton to help find out what secrets Zane is hiding. When they land themselves in more trouble than Jefferson Lee bargained for, he and Zane face the first big test of their relationship. Zane and Jefferson Lee must work through their trust issues if they re going to make it as a couple, and Clover may just have a thing or two to learn herself.
Welcome to Holly Creek, a southern small town where everyone has double first names, no one minds that ALL the men are gay (no prejudice here!), and planning a rose festival is the hottest item on the agenda!
Okay, I'm going to be frank here because this was sort of a rough listen for me. This book was CAMPY and waaaaaay too hokey for my tastes. Maybe I'm just not cut out for southern-style romances because I was rolling my eyes left and right. It was also almost completely tension-free, once Jefferson Lee noticed Zane's blatant flirting.
What bothered me the most about this two book set (the stories sort of flow one right into the other, so it is hard for me to review them separately), is that I think I got more relationship development between Jefferson Lee and his BFF Clover (aka, Clover Berry) than I did between Jefferson Lee and Zane. First Jefferson Lee is totally oblivious to Zane, so much so that I wanted to hit him over the head, and then they are moving super quickly to boyfriend/partner-ville. I also liked the spunky Clover more than any of the two MCs. Go figure.
While there are parts of this book that were cute and charming, there were also many, many moments where I was underwhelmed. It was an easy, comfortable listen, made better by Matt Armstrong's appropriately over-the-top narration (really fit the story-vibe well), but never got to the point of really engaging me with the story. I liked the narration, though, and enjoyed the narrator's range of voices and the effort that he put in, even if some of the voices sort of grated on my nerves (again, fitting the story).
I see lots of glowing reviews of this two-story set, so maybe it just wasn't a good fit. I found the characterization of a small town where absolutely no one, even the old, traditional men, minded two men kissing in public to also be a bit of a reach. And I hope I got a looooong time before reading another story with multiple double first-name characters again.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Keep listening, my friends!