Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.
Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.
As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.
Amy Lane is firmly on my "Top 3 Favorite Authors of All Time" list, but I don't know, for me, this story just sort of drifted along, leaving my feelings half-muted in comparison to the majority of other Amy Lane's other works that I've read. : (
At 32, Pierce had been in an auto accident and moved in with his sister's family while he healed, then after having snapped at her during a moment of pain, decided to take his best friend up on his offer of his beach condo as he continued to recover.
During Pierce's first pool workout, he met Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth, aka Hal, who was working toward getting his certificate in massage therapy. Hal was upbeat, take charge and determined to help Pierce regain his mobility.
And who was Pierce to argue? He needed the help, and the fact that Hal was attractive and wouldn't take no for an answer didn't hurt in finalizing that decision. Except that Hal was only 23.
This was where the story got a bit strained for me. Pierce is 32. Not 72. But the way that Pierce was written, you'd think that he was old and gray. Speaking from experience, I met my husband when I was 32 and he was 24 and it wasn't even remotely "a thing." Not even a little bit.
Other than a bit too much concentration on the age difference, the story was perfectly "fine," it just didn't thrill me.
We did get to know Pierce a bit more than Hal, but I never felt as if I got to know either MC on the level that I needed to in order for me to completely connect with them. I think that would have taken several more than the books 119 pages.
In regards to tension, this one was extremely low on The Amy Lane Angst Scale, capitalized, because it truly *IS* "a thing.". Other than their fears, the only *true* obstacles for Pierce and Hal seemed to be those of their own making, so the hurdle they had to overcome was themselves.
As for sex, that was also okay, but not overly steamy or passionate. It was just sort of there a time or two, usually in the dark.
The book wasn't exactly what I'd call too sweet, but with the unicorns, Looney Tunes, Legos and giant teddy bears, it just felt as if it were trying a bit too hard. The fluff felt more injected than organic to the story.
Again, the book was "fine," but I've been waiting for another Amy Lane story with "Deacon and Crick"-level feels, but sadly this wasn't it for me.
So I'd have to rate this one at around 3 "fairly average" stars.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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