it did take a toll on my heart...
'All Wheel Drive' is book number 18 in the 'Bluewater Bay' series and like the third book, 'Hell on Wheels' it's written by Z. A. Maxfield, an author that I'm kind of partial to. So of course I was all grabby hands for this one because 'Hell on Wheels' is one of my favorite books in this series so far.
If this is a series that you're reading than you'll remember that 'Hell on Wheels' was about Nash Holly and in this book, we get a closer look at Healey Holly, Nash's twin brother and seriously can we talk about that name? Healey, really? I have to admit it just wasn't working for me, but, aside from the name, I really liked Healey. While Nash and Healey may look alike on the outside it's inside where the differences really begin, although both of these men are good and decent people who love their family and are loyal to the extreme with those they care about. Healey is crazy smart and has spent most of his adult life in the world of academia unlike his brother Nash.
The last thing that Healey expects when he knocks on the door of his childhood home broken, battered and bruised on the outside and just wanting to rent the apartment over the garage so that he can let his shattered heart and body heal is to be greeted by a man in a wheelchair who recognizes the look of helpless anxiety that he sees in Healey's eyes after all Diego's seen that same look often enough in the mirror in the days following the accident that put him in a wheelchair and again after losing his mother it's become a familiar sight as he tries to piece his own life back together.
For me 'All Wheel Drive' was as much a book about learning to live with a new reality and forgiving yourself as it was about finding someone to love. Both Healey and Diego have issues…lots and lots of issues.
Healey’s come back to his childhood home in Bluewater Bay more as an emotional reflex reaction to his recent experiences than any kind of practical or even logical decision. He’s hurting physically and emotionally following a car accident and the end of his long-time relationship with ‘Ford’ the man he loved and the man who nearly cost Healey his life.
‘All Wheel Drive’ was for want of a better word at times a bit convoluted. Especially the part that dealt with Healey and the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Ford and why he returned to Bluewater Bay and while I’m not often a fan of stories that twist and turn the way Healey’s does, in this instance I don’t honestly think that there was a direct path to take with his story. His relationship with Ford was complicated to say the least because of Ford’s circumstances and his family. The dynamics between Healey and Ford were…well let’s just say ‘it was complicated’ and truthfully from the information we were given it never really seemed that they were meant to be, but we don’t always get to pick who we love and when that love ends sometimes it takes a while for the heart to understand what the head already knows and this seemed to be part of what Healey had to deal with in letting go of his relationship with Ford.
As well Healey and Diego definitely had issues when it came to communication but given how emotionally fragile both men were…especially Healey. I’m not sure I would have believed anything different. I certainly would have found it a bit of a fairy tale if the author had given us an ‘insta-love, all-my-problems-are-solved-now-that-you’re-in-my-life’ kind of story. Healey didn’t even trust himself anymore much less trust someone else and Diego because of his accident believed that there were things in his life that were lost to him forever…especially the physical aspects of an intimate relationship and both men were trying to protect themselves from further heartache…so communication at best between these two was guarded and putting everything out there when neither of them had fully pieced themselves back together was a scary concept and often times done in a very roundabout fashion.
‘All Wheel Drive’ is by no means a typical romance story, it was complicated and as I said at the beginning it was often ‘convoluted’, but for me it was also the epitome of second chance stories and finding love when and where you least expect it. There was definitely some sexy times between these two, that on more than one occasion turned out to be funny and messy and so very fragile as both men tried to guard their heart and still be what the other man needed.
Just like real life ‘All Wheel Drive’ was complicated, messy, frustrating, funny, awkward, sexy, full of love and kindness and in the end worth the effort.
An ARC of 'All Wheel Drive' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.