Charlie Matheson has spent his life taking care of things. When his parents died two days before his eighteenth birthday, he took care of his younger brother, even though that meant putting his own dreams on hold. He took care of his father’s hardware store, building it into something known several towns over. He took care of the cat he found in the woods…so now he has a cat.
When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.
Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together—not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.
Is this what it feels like to have a home—and someone to share it with?
I was prepared to have mixed emotions about Best Laid Plans because my friends have wildly varying ratings for it, but I ended up enjoyed it. I didn't like it quite as much as Better Than People, but it was still a quiet, sweet read.
I think the pacing and the constant self-reflection may have been a stumbling block for many readers, and it did keep me from reading this book all at one clip. It feels a little bit like a prolonged therapy session, in a way, and you have to sort of get through that to enjoy the story. However, I enjoyed how the relationship slowly developed between Rye and Charlie, and I liked the interplay between the two of them. This isn't a light or airy story, and you have to wade through a lot of heavy feelings to get through the romance. It also isn't super angsty, just... dense, I would say.
Charlie's sexuality was interesting to me. I couldn't quite decide, in my head, if he fell somewhere in the gray-asexuality range or if his trauma just kept him from facing his feelings about sex, but it was interesting to have a main character where sex isn't front and center or easy. I enjoyed the dynamic of Rye and Charlie figuring out Charlie's preferences together, and exploring what they meant for both of them. Plus, spanking and hair pulling are always wins, in my book.
Personally, I'm really enjoying the Garnet Run series (plus, pets!), and I'm excited to see what else Roan Parrish has in store for us.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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