Opposites attract, but heaven help these two.
Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he's struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he's just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.
Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.
But Darren doesn't give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth's defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man...except for that one massive detail he just can't overlook. Is Darren's religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smoke screen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It's either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.
©2013 L.A. Witt (P)2016 Riptide Publishing
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"A total jumble of conflicting emotions!"
What I love about L.A. Witt is that she isn't afraid to try new things. Where most other authors don't want to go there and write a M/M romance with religion in it, L.A. Witt dives right in. In fact, I think she is one of the most fearless authors out there, trying her hand in all sorts of genres, all sorts of pairing, all sorts of genders, all sorts of races, and just going for it!
I've read about two dozen (!!) L.A. Witt books, if you count all of her other pen names, and it is always a mixed bag of good and bad for me. I liked this story, but I really had conflicted feelings about it in the end.
I'll start by talking about the narrator, Charlie David, who is very popular in the world of M/M. Now, I enjoy Charlie David a lot, and I think he does a fabulous job with his emotions and timing while reading, but it drives me UP A WALL when a narrator doesn't change his voice when reading two MCs. It literally makes me crazy. I really, really need my narrator to have very separate voices for both MCs, and really for all side characters too, and I'm not particularly happy with anything less. I found this narration to be a bit frustrating because, while I loved Charlie's acting skills, I had a hard time following who was talking some of the time.
Now, in terms of the plot, this book also has me divided. I'm always interested in reading stories with religion in them because, well, I'm fascinated by really religious people. Some of my closest friends in the past have been orthodox Jews, and I've learned so much about what really believing in something intangible means (interesting lessons for a mostly secular Jew like myself). I personally am friends with three different ministers/rabbis, the two ministers both being lesbians (what are the odds??), and only one of them can I picture dating a non-believer. Mixed religion relationships are very difficult things to navigate, as I know well, having dated a devout Catholic and then marrying an atheist.
Honestly, I had a hard time imaging someone who is a pastor marrying a non-Christian. I really struggled with it. Even if Darren decided that he didn't mind having open discussions with someone who didn't share his beliefs, it is hard to forget that Darren's whole JOB requires him to give sermons and spend lots of time at the church. There are also many holidays to observe, traditions to preform, and speeches to make. It was just unfathomable to me that these two men would be able to be together and not participate in these events as a unit.
My husband is an atheist who was raised Christian, and the only way it has managed to work out so well between us is because he is totally cool with us doing the Jewish holidays and traditions. If my husband really believed that Jesus was his lord and savior and wanted our kids to believe too? Yeah, it would never work between us. It is one of those things that I tried to wrap my brain around in the story, and I'm still not sure if it made total sense to me, even knowing that Darren's religious beliefs are only one facet of his life and not even close to the whole thing.
Much of this book (most, I'd even venture to say), focuses around sex and discussions of religion. Seth and Darren both have baggage from past relationships and past religious experiences, and it was really interesting to read about that, even if it wasn't new ground for me. In terms of sex, these guys had a lot of it, and I thought that scenes were really hot and well done. I liked the chemistry between these two guys, and though I wish I had Darren's POV, I thought that the story was well-told.
This whole review is a jumble of mixed emotions. It was an easy listen, with some good and some not so good, but it made me think so I guess we can call it a win.
**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review**
"Opposites not only attract, they can make it work."
Top 100 (yes I said 100, I'm an audio book fanatic!)
When Seth finally realizes what he did wrong.
I have, he is one of my favorites. He doesn't do a lot of voices and characterization with his narration, he mostly just tells the story. I believe it's his personality and presence that makes him such a great narrator.
Seth. Lots of personal growth and figuring out what's important.
E-book review April 2013
LA Witt is an author who’s work I will grab regardless, I have yet to read a book by this author that I did not like. Witt has a keen eye for details and possess the ability to transform the reader directly into her world. Likeable characters, realistic situations and some of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read!
For those of you that read book 1 in this series, Where Nerves End, you will immediately recognize Seth. The openly gay, laid back tattoo artist hasn’t always had an easy life. Shunned by his fanatical family when he came out to them in college, he had to learn to make his own way in life quickly when all communication and funding for college were abruptly cut off. He has a good life now with a good job, an apartment and a fantastic close knit group of friends.
When sex on a stick Darren moves into the apartment across the hall, the animalistic attraction between the two is instantaneous. Darren wastes no time getting Seth into his bed. When Seth learns that Darren is a minister he immediately withdraws from him. The pain of his past hasn’t faded and he subconsciously groups Darren in the same class with his family. But he can’t stop thinking about the minister with his dark hair and eyes and a dry, witty sense of humor that makes Seth laugh.
Seth tries very hard not to want Darren, but the fact that the two of them can’t be around each other for very long without ending up in bed doesn’t help his flimsy resistance. Unlike Seth, Darren knows exactly what he wants and what he wants is Seth. When Darren approaches the subject of taking their relationship beyond just the bedroom, Seth’s self preservation mode kicks in. Will the harsh words he says create a rift between the pair that can’t be undone? Or will Darren forgive the man he’s fallen in love with, the man that’s also fallen in love with him, but won’t admit it, not even to himself.
The story flows effortlessly and before I knew it I was at the end. The characters are both flawed and carry some pretty serious baggage, but this only makes them more believable and likeable in the end. The sex is sensual, steamy and well conveyed by the author. This is a must read for any M/M fans.
Audio review May 2016
This was already a favorite read of mine, now with Charlie David's narration I love the story just that much more. David is not so much a narrator as a story teller. His changes in tone, nuance and inflection are slight from one character to the next, but he still does a great job of making sure the reader/listener is aware of who's voice they are hearing. Listening to Seth and Darren's story actually brought things to the forefront that I missed when I read the book. The struggle Seth had with his attraction to Darren coupled with his disdain for Darren's profession had more impact when I was listening to their conversations. As I stated 3 years ago after reading the book, these guys are inexplicably drawn to each other to spite their differences, both having some baggage that they automatically bring into the relationship. It's Seth that really has to examine who he is and who he wants to be before the two of them can make a go at it.
Definitely worth the read or the listen, both even. I think that you will get something different from each version as I did, and both are well worth your time. A passionate love story about how opposites not only attract, they can make it work.
"Tough subject done amazingly well"
Seth (who is BFFs with Jason from Where Nerves End) is an atheist and a tattoo artist who was disowned and ex-communicated when he came out to his conservative family in LA.
Darren is the new youth minister at an LGBT friendly church in Tucker Springs and he’s also Seth’s new neighbor.
Before he knows he’s a minister, Seth is very attracted to Darren, after he finds out what he does for a living … still attracted but now very worried.
The two have some hot smexy times before landing in the “friend zone” when Seth decides he can’t be “in a relationship” with a Christian. They still manage to have a great friendship but the sexual tension gets in the way.
Will Seth manage to overcome his bias or will Darren finally prove that all Christians are judgmental?
I avoided this book when I was reading the series because of the religion aspect. I’m a bit like Seth in that I definitely have bad experiences with Christianity and didn’t really see myself warming up to a minister as an MC. Well… also like Seth – I was wrong.
This is a lovely story about two guys who both have some pre-conceptions and some bad past experiences that have shaped who they are now but together they can grow past those and become stronger. LA Witt handles the religion thing very well in a way that is respectful without bashing you on the head with it.
LA Witt is a fantastic writer and never fails to give us complex MCs and sometimes terrifically complex relationships. What I liked is that at no point is either man “converted” to the other’s way of thinking… in fact they both relish the opinions of the other as being part of what makes them who the are.
The smexy times were very hot and if I have any complaints it’s the ending. Though we get some pretty heavy hints at the deep emotions shared by these two guys we never quite get to wallow in it and I missed that. I think/know these guys have it in them and I wanted to be there when it happened!
You just can never go wrong with Charlie David. He is so good at timing and pacing and giving depth to a story that you feel immersed in it immediately. He didn’t do a lot to give everyone super unique voices, but it was always obvious who was doing the talking.
I highly enjoyed this and recommend it – if you’re skeptical about the religion – give it a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
4.5 of 5 stars
"With a Minister!"
Stranger things have happened...Maybe. Somehow this love story is believable and oh so romantic...
"Covet Thy Neighbor"
This is a book four of the series but stands alone perfectly. Each book is a standalone set in Tucker Springs.
Seth is a tattoo artist has been single for several years and is an Atheist. He lives above his tattoo shop.
Darren is a minister that moved from Oklahoma across from Seth. Sparks fly immediately between the two men, but Seth has a very hard time dealing with his attraction to Darren. Partially because Darren is a minister which could cause all sorts of issues since ministers don't do casual sex. Seth doesn't do relationships and the biggest thing is the religious issue. But Darren is unlike any other minister or man he has met.
I have been eagerly awaiting Seth's story and was not disappointed. Who would be a better match for the Atheist Seth than a minister? I loved both Darren and Seth. I loved the dynamics of their relationship. My only issue with the story is that they kept going back and forth over the same issues. I wish their had been a bit more to the story just a little more action.
Charlie David did a good job telling the story. he showed great excitement and I loved how he conveyed Seth's inner conflict. I do wish he had changed the voices of Seth and Darren a bit more. However, the story is written well enough and he narrates well enough you could follow along quite well.
If you like ministers, tattoo artists, good contemporary romance and some fairly hot man-sex you should love this. I also highly recommend this entire series.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
The story flowed well and the situations the characters encounter will speak to all.
The narration was great.
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