We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: MM Contemporary
Review: Ever since he was a little boy, Boyd, an auto mechanic from Syracuse, New York, has been saving his dollars and cents with the goal of one day owning a classic ’69 Plymouth Road Runner for the sole purpose of visiting all of the places in the United States that have come to have meaning to him over that time. For years, he’s been marking the US map with pushpins as new places seemed to call to him for many reasons—a location from a favorite TV show, or the place where his grade school sweetheart moved, or even because it’s a well known place like Las Vegas or Nashville.
When he finds his ideal car through a classic car website, he gathers his savings and flies out to California to pick her up. She’s a beauty, just as he expected, and as he starts the journey home, he heads to a few places in California which were pushpins on his map and then on to Las Vegas. He decides to spend a little time there watching people, and it’s lucky he does because when he spots the young man who seems to be about to place his last bill in a slot machine, something about the guy screams destitute while something also seems to grab Boyd and not let him go.
The young man, Oliver, is indeed destitute and is ready to head back east as well, though he doesn’t have the means to get there. On impulse, after a brief conversation and a cup of coffee, Boyd offers Oliver a ride to Oliver’s stepmother’s place in Towson, Maryland, with the caveat that Oliver is not to scratch or mar his car in any way, shape or form. When Oliver seems like he’s going to refuse, Boyd promises him that he won’t take advantage of him in any way, and that he’s not interested in the sex, just offering to give Oliver a ride home.
As they travel the country, the two talk and laugh and learn a bit more about each other. When Oliver spots balloons in the sky near Albuquerque, New Mexico, Boyd pulls over so they can watch closely. And when Boyd hesitates to make a stop at a horse ranch where’s he’s always wanted to ride, it’s Oliver who encourages him to take the time to fulfill his dreams. Oliver continues to offer encouragement even later in the week when Boyd is running behind schedule and is not likely to make it back to his job in time. The two have established a friendship and maybe a bit more, though Boyd holds out little hope for anything long term since he’s 35 and Oliver’s 24. Boyd doesn’t give himself much credit in the looks department either, at least not compared to Oliver who Boyd thinks is gorgeous.
When they get to Maryland, they discover that Oliver’s simple reason for leaving Vegas really wasn’t so simple after all, and when his past catches up to him, it’s Boyd who comes up with a solution to get them out of a tight spot. These two MCs are unlikely and seemingly mismatched, but in reality they totally complement each other, and the author provided just the right mix of angst and humor to make the story believable.
This is one of the nicest road trips I’ve been on in quite a while and the best part was that I got to experience the trip with Boyd and Oliver. Along the way, in addition to being reminded of how very beautiful the US is, I got to experience a sweet, slow-building romance, with two MCs who were rather ordinary people but with extraordinary dreams. There is, as I hoped, a HEA for the guys and it’s a story that I would recommend to those who enjoy the classics—from cars to music, and to those who like an age-gap story and/or a slow-building relationship drama. It’s definitely going in my re-read pile. Highly recommend.