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Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching.
The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper.
When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?
I could tell right away that Puzzle Me This was a re-release of an older work by Eli Easton. Eli Easton is one of my favorite authors and she has written some amazing stories, and though Puzzle Me This was sweet, it wasn't quite up to the caliber of her later work.
I'll always read a romance with a more atypical MC, and the fact that one of the MCs is in a wheelchair certainly caught my attention. I liked how there were a number of emotional and logistical things that were addressed about the MC being in a wheelchair, though I prefer how the author really explored it further in "The Mating of Michael," a personal favorite of mine.
The crossword puzzle meet-cute was actually a bit... creepy, IMO. It felt vaguely stalker-like. I preferred their interactions later, though I get that messaging your crush through a crossword puzzle sounds intriguing. I wish that aspect of the story was taken further and was a bigger part of the greater picture, somehow integrated in a different way to be less creepy and more interesting. Not sure how the author would do that, but I wanted it to be more fleshed out and resolved.
I liked how the two MCs came together in the end, and I love an epilogue, but I think the story would have benefited from being a full novel. There was too much to unpack for a novella-format.
Still, it was an Eli Easton story, so of course I enjoyed most of it, even if I expected a bit more.
** A free copy of this book was provided by the tour organizer in exchange for an honest review. **
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.
Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.
In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.
Her website is www.elieaston.com or you can email her at eli[at]elieaston.com.
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