Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from M. Tasia. BRICK is the first book in her new Fire Lake series set in good ol’ Texas. This odd couple romance features a retired Navy SEAL inadvertently setting up a whole new business operation when he’d only planned to recover and renovate the property he inherited from his great aunt.
About the book:
ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Ahhh, the good life. Goodbye Navy SEALs, hello rehabbing a rundown lake house he inherited. Being a former Lieutenant Commander will come in handy for Brick Matthews. He gets to boss himself around while tearing down a dilapidated shed and re-roofing his new home, among a hundred other things.
First he has to get rid of the smarmy real estate agent who’s been trying to buy the property for years. Sounds easy, until Brick uncovers layers of secrets, including attempted murder.
In the middle of the intrigue is a buttoned-down CEO with amazing blue eyes. Roman Furrow is so far from the type of man who hits Brick’s radar, he doesn’t see what’s coming until it’s almost too late.
Having never given away his heart before, Brick is damn sure not going to let anyone or anything hurt the man he’s fallen for. He’s been trained for this – he’ll protect him with his life.
Brick Matthews has returned to Fire Lake, Texas to retire and pay homage to his Great Aunt Sophia–by rehabbing the house she bequeathed him when she died two years before. As a Navy SEAL out on missions, he hadn’t been able to return that often, but he loved Sophia deeply, as she was one of the few people who’d cared about, or for, him as a child.
He’s not pleased when a young woman enters his crumbling home, posing as a realtor, and ready to service any of his “needs” in order to get him to sell. First, he’s gay, and second, he’s not going to sell–not even if a woman’s trying to (poorly) seduce him into it. Turns out, she’s a broke single mom working for the realtor as a secretary, and he’d threatened to fire her and blacklist her through town if she didn’t get Brick to agree to the sale–one the scumbag was trying to arrange for years now. Brick’s lakefront property is highly coveted by his neighbor on the other side of the lake, a deplorable human by the name of Stephan Furrow, former CEO of Furrow and Son Investments.
It seems that Stephan is all about strippers, coke and riding around in his cabin cruiser on Fire Lake. His son, Roman, has him on an allowance, ever since he’d gotten the shares needed to wrest control of their company from his father’s mismanaging hands. Roman is a decent man, and has worked tirelessly, and thanklessly, for the past few years to restore the portfolios of their investment holdings after his lust-hungry father nearly bankrupted them. Some of daddy-dearest’s minions still work for the company, though, and they make trouble happen to see if they can destabilize Roman’s operations. When Brick comes after Furrow and Son for their shady tactics to take over his property, well, Roman is ashamed. He had no knowledge of Stephan’s involvement in coercing the secretary–who Brick has hired to help manage his construction projects.
Meanwhile, a few members of Brick’s old unit need some place to stay and something to do, so he puts them on renovation duty. Soon his house is a bustling place. Well, maybe not exactly bustling, but the bedrooms are filling up. Even has some room for Roman when his car breaks down near the property during a storm. The forced proximity of hiding in a storm shelter breaks open some raw feelings for both Roman and Brick–because they each see the deeply good core of the other during mutual rescue attempts. Beyond that, well, Roman and Brick get to talking. Seems Roman has had an inordinate number of “accidents” that coulda-shoulda incapacitated him. Were these just coincidences? Or, is there a plot to take out Roman, returning power and money into Stephan’s greedy paws.
This was a new-to-me author experience. I’ve read a lot of SEAL romance, and veteran romance, so I thought I’d really enjoy it. I kinda felt as though there was a lot of coincidence that overwhelmed me, giving me the sense that I already knew–or could reasonably anticipate–exactly what was coming next. All the bad guys were too sinister, and all the good guys were too heroic, making them all feel a little one dimensional, and the plot gimmicky. The pace of the romance felt too quick, as well, without sufficient time for Brick and Roman to really develop a lot of chemistry. It seemed like Roman was outstandingly naive, and his father cartoonishly malevolent. This book is a clear set up for the cadre of former SEALs that come to Brick’s aid to later find their own romances. I’m usually okay with that, but I think it was a little heavy-handed in this story. I might try another book in this series, just to see if I got a bad vibe on this one.
About the Author:
M. Tasia is an mm romance author who lives in Ontario, Canada. Michelle is a dedicated people watcher, lover of romance novels, 80’s rock, and happily ever afters (once the MCs are put through their paces), who grew up with a love of reading. She’s a firm believer that everyone deserves to have love, excitement, and crazy hot romance in their lives. Love should be celebrated and shared.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!