Friday, January 4, 2013

Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2, by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

Riptide Publishing, ISBN 9781937551575, September 2012

Paul is a young man who has been dumped by his girlfriend Stacey for a man with better prospects. Paul, sadly, is still hung up on her. El--Emmanuel Rozal--runs the pawn shop he inherited from his granddad and avoids all relationships because he sees all the failed relationships (but not the successful ones) all around him. El, by the way, is gay and out, and however mixed up his family is in other ways, it's just not an issue for them.

One day, spurred on by the need to do some outside maintenance on the rundown rented house Stacey picked and then left him with, Paul walks into El's shop.

You know where this is going, and overall, it's a nicely done light romance novel. There's enough explicit sex that it will not be to everyone's taste because of that, but on the other hand, there's also a very cute little dog involved, and Paul works at a veterinary clinic. (Yes, for some of us, these are pluses.)

I do have one significant reservation about the book, though. Women romance readers are well acquainted with the phenomenon where, despite the required feminine pen name on the cover, it's perfectly clear that the author is a man because what goes on inside the female lead's head is just not what ever happened inside the mind of any woman ever. In these cases, a little digging always turns up the fact that the writer's real gender is male. It may be a fine story in every other way, but no woman ever looked at her reflection in a mirror and was 100% pleased--and that's just one simple, obvious example.

Second Hand has two female authors, and I suspect med will have much the same complaint about what goes on inside Paul's head. It seems too much like what goes on inside the head of a particularly unconfident, just barely adult young woman. I might be wrong; after all, I've never actually been inside a man's head. But I am skeptical of Paul.

Still, recommended as light reading if you enjoy romances.

Book trailer

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

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