Review: ‘Tender With A Twist’ by Annabeth Albert

35913152Published October 2nd 2017
264 pages

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Annabeth Albert pretty much nails it every time for me, and this was no exception. Straight into the story, sexual tension from the get-go. A bit of kink, a bit of grief, a bit of self-discovery, an inevitable romance; a total winner.

The BDSM kink was prevalent throughout the whole book, but it was totally manageable. I can be a bit hit and miss with anything overly kinky, but this was the perfect level for me. It suited both of the MCs and felt really natural for them to connect the way they did. The whole thing was really was steamy, sex was a huge part of the story and a huge part of the way Logan and Curtis communicated with one another, but no scenes ever felt unnecessary.

Curtis is a prickly guy, standoffish for most of the book, I was constantly frustrated and wanting to drag him and Logan together. But his resistance was completely understandable. He’s had to endure the worst kind of heartbreak in having his husband suddenly taken from him, and constantly feels like he’s never to have any sunshine in his life again. He can’t allow himself to get close, because it could all be torn away again.

But Logan is a gem of a character in the way he’s always pushing for more from Curtis, not backing down and scurrying away and hopelessly waiting for him to change his mind. It was a refreshing outlook, something I feel like I don’t read enough of. I loved Logan’s tenacity, his drive, his courage in trying to be the person he’s always wanted to be. His parents drove me up the wall, and it felt like everyone apart from Curtis was forever underestimating him. So it was great to see him free himself from the limitations his family had tried to place on him.

Logan and Curtis’ relationship was healing for the both of them, and they really worked for each other, fought against themselves to get their happy ending. The moment where Curtis looks at Logan and knows that his husband would have liked him warmed my soul and broke my heart all at once. And it pretty much sums up my experience with this book. That hurt for Curtis being soothed by the universe handing him his second chance at love.

4.5/5 stars

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