Fresh off the heels of yet another bad relationship, Tristan Brewer is taking a break from men to try and figure out where he keeps going wrong. He knows his biggest fault—he leads with his heart, not his head—and that’s never going to change. But after several introspective weeks, he’s beginning to get a handle on things. That is, until badass heartthrob Alex Wells walks into his bar…
Alex has spent eight years in the Army, months in a hospital bed, and far too long hiding his sexual identity. He’s guilt-ridden, damaged, pissed off, and up for a Silver Star—for the incident that nearly cost him his life, and kept him from his grandmother’s funeral. But all he wants to do is forget his stint with the institution that allows but doesn’t necessarily accept, and live the life he’s always dreamed of.
The chemistry between Tristan and Alex ignites from the moment they meet, and the more time they spend together the hotter the flames become. But the closer Tristan gets, the more Alex’s walls go up, and when the two walk onto a military base, Tristan finds out Alex’s physical scars aren’t the ones that run the deepest.
“Can I ask you something? You don’t have to answer.”
Tristan shrugs. “Have at it.”
“Why were you taking a break? I get that your ex was a prick, but is there more to it?”
He looks down the street, across the street, and then his hand cruises through his hair as it has so often that I’ve already come to expect it when he’s nervous.
“Ian was a prick, but the rest is going to make me sound like a pussy,” he admits.
“I’ve only known you a day, and I already know nothing can make you sound like a pussy.”
He meets my gaze, and his jaw tightens. He lifts his chin and I recognize the struggle between feeling proud and worrying about looking weak. I fight that battle on a daily basis.
“I give away my heart too easily, and I end up getting hurt.”
His eyes never leave mine, and that trust, that confidence, is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.
“I was right. Nothing can make you sound like a pussy.” I slide my hand to the hard ridge of his jaw and lean in closer. “I’ve never given my heart away. That makes you braver than me.”
Tristan and Alex are an adorable couple, even if they do fall in love awfully quickly (total insta-love alert…) The main conflicts in the story come from Alex–the difficulties he’s having dealing with the lasting implications of the life-changing injuries he suffered as a solider and the mindset of “lock down, shut up, act straight” that he felt he had to personify during his eight years in the Army. I thought Ms. Foster did a nice job of getting us into his head and showing us the effect these things had on him (OMG, when he visits the pediatric clinic? Tears. So many tears over here), though here too, things got a bit fast-tracked at the end. The healing power of love worked really, really quickly for him…
Tristan, other than having had horrible taste in men up until this point, is basically the perfect partner. I kind of wanted him to reveal a flaw or two along the way, but other than getting a little testy about Alex hiding their relationship when they were back on a military base at one point (which again, he got over pretty fast–“fast” being an ongoing theme here), he was essentially Mr. Perfect Boyfriend from start to finish. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–they are a great couple and I did enjoy reading the book from start to finish–but the angst factor definitely could have been upped a degree…or five.
Tempting Tristan is the third in the Harborside Nights series, and fifty-seventh(!) in the Love in Bloom one, but it still worked fine as a standalone. As in every other Melissa Foster book I’ve read so far, characters from past books do play a part, making you aware that there’s definitely other stories going on/recently happened out there, but you’ll do perfectly fine not knowing all the details.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented.