Tuesday, June 30, 2020

ARC Review: Albin Academy #1 Just Like That by Cole McCade

From The Blurb:
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters. 
Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts. 
But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable. 
Professor Fox Iseya. 
Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal. 
Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb…until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life. 
Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap. 
To find the love they’ve always needed… 
Just like that. 
In Just Like That, critically acclaimed author Cole McCade introduces us to Albin Academy: a private boys’ school where some of the world’s richest families send their problem children to learn discipline and maturity, out of the public eye. 
This book is approximately 65,000 words 
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! 
A new Carina Adores title is available each month: 
The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover 
The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron 
Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters 
Better Than People by Roan Parrish 
Full Moon in Leo by Brooklyn Ray 
The Beautiful Things Shoppe by Philip William Stover 
Just Like Us by Cole McCade

Karen's rating:

Sometimes it's the little things that fuel our imagination...

I admit this is purely conjecture on my part, but I'm going to run with it. Cole McCade is by no means a new to me author...what is new to me is reading a story by this author that is set in the world of Malcolm Khalaji and Soeng-Jae Yoon. Ironically it is also the place where I first crossed paths with the name Summer Hemlock and having said that rest assured those who have not read the Criminal Intentions series will have no problem with reading this story. The connection between that series and this story is minuscule at best...the mention of a name that's it...just a name Summer Hemlock. But I'd like to think that this name grabbed the author's attention and wouldn't let go until he agreed to write a story where Summer Hemlock got to be a real boy and have his own happily ever after.

"Just Like That" is a story of going home, second chances, finding love, starting over and learning to forgive yourself.

Summer Hemlock is returning to his hometown of Omen, Massachusetts to begin a new job at Albin Academy and be closer to his aging mother. The fact that Fox Iseya, his teenage crush is still teaching there is merely a happy bonus of this. 

Fox has spent years hiding behind a wall of grief after losing his wife. He's held everyone at a distance and now with the arrival of Summer, he'll begin to make his break from his responsibilities at Albin so he can move on. 

As Summer's teaching residency begins in preparation for him to take over Fox's position after he retires. Summer finds himself growing bolder as he gives in to his feelings for Fox and begins a relationship that forces Summer to find the confidence that he's going to need if he hopes to get past the walls that Fox has built around himself during his years of grief. 

While the relationship between Fox and Summer is rife with attraction between the age difference and the precariousness of Fox being Summer's mentor it's going to take some maneuvering on both of their parts to find the middle ground that they can be comfortable on. 

My one and only niggle with this story was the ending. For me it felt just a bit abrupt and I honestly felt that it there'd been just a bit more story post HEA this one would have been 5 stars and then some, so instead I'm going with 4.5 stars and I can't wait for the next installment in this series.

I became a fan of this author nearly two years ago when I first read episode one of his series 'Criminal Intentions' and I have to say in spite of the fact that it's the same author comparing this story to that series is like comparing apples to oranges and just shouldn't happen beyond that in either case the writing is compelling and the stories are intriguing. I was both surprised and delighted with just how different 'Just Like That' is from the author's previous works that I've read.

'Just Like That' is a sweet story that drew me in with ease and gave me characters that I won a place in my heart. The heart of this story is love...not just for someone else but it's about two men learning that in order to love each other they need to love and forgive themselves as well.


A copy of "Just Like That" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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