Author ~ KC Burn
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 26 February 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Finlay McIntyre (aka Raven) is a successful adult film star with a penchant for kilts, until an accident cuts short his stardom and leaves him with zero sexual desire, lowered self-esteem, and no job. He knew his porn career wouldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t prepared for retirement at twenty-eight. While trying to figure out the rest of his life, Raven agrees to attend a high school reunion. That’s when a malfunctioning AC unit in his hotel room changes everything.
Caleb Sanderson, an entrepreneur with his own HVAC business, has no idea what to expect when he steps into Raven’s hotel room to fix his AC unit. They’re attracted to each other, but Caleb, closeted, can’t afford a gay relationship, not with his mom pressuring him to produce grandchildren. If he wants to keep Raven—who no closet could hold—he’ll need to tell his family the truth. But Raven has a few secrets of his own. He refuses to reveal his porn past to Caleb, a past that might be the final obstacle to Caleb and Raven having any kind of relationship.
Raven had a plan. He would get his business degree and save as much money as he could so years later when he was done with porn he could easily move onto something else. When his career ends unexpectedly at 28 years old, he is left scarred and lost. The acting is in Raven’s past and he has no idea what his future will be. A gig escorting one of his studio’s best clients for the public events at a high school reunion is turning into a nightmare, but puts him right in the path of a sexy AC repairman.
Caleb Sanderson is instantly attracted to the gorgeous man in room 305. Caleb is 32 and runs his own AC repair business. As far as his family is concerned he needs to find a woman and start a family. The only one in his family who knows he is gay is his cousin Jaime who came out to the family years ago. Caleb knows Jaime has been accepted by most of the family, but he has other reasons for keeping quiet.
I adored Raven! Raven’s life leading up to his porn career was not easy. He is not ashamed of what he’s done, but he knows how people have tried to shame and judge him when they find out about his job. He fears dropping the porn bombshell before he and Caleb really get to know each other and decides to wait to see if anything real will develop. Other than his self-consciousness about his injury he owns who he is, preferring to wear kilts to pants and streaking his black hair red. On the opposite end though, there is such an innocence and enthusiasm in Raven as he progresses through his first ever relationship, goes on his first date and starts to fall in love. Raven realizes the mistakes he made after his accident in pushing people away and goes about rectifying the situation with his best friend Will and even spies an opportunity for a new business venture.
My feelings about Caleb were a little more conflicted. Caleb is everything Raven needs when they are together. He is intuitive and respectful of Raven’s discomfort and limitations and he obviously really cares about him. But Caleb’s lies and his reasoning for hiding really bothered me. He is also using his cousin Jaime to deflect attention from himself at family gatherings. Every time he sees his family and entertains conversations about being set up with a woman and making a date, he is making it harder to get out of the lies, and while his reasons for keeping quiet were valid as a teen, they are not anymore. Even knowing that if he wants to keep the man he loves he has to come clean to his family, he goes through with yet another deception and involves Raven in it.
While both men were keeping some secrets, I got the feeling that Raven would definitely have told Caleb his, but Caleb would have gone on deceiving his family as long as he could. Even Jaime is getting tired of his games. Jaime was a wonderful secondary character, who brought a good energy to the story. I enjoyed both his relationship with Caleb and his growing friendship with Raven and I’d love to see him get a story in the future.
I know there are people who don’t read books with porn stars for the reason that sex occurs on set while the MC’s are dating, but rest assured that Raven’s done with porn when this book starts. In fact he is so self-conscious of his scars and his limitation of motion that he has sworn off sex until he meets Caleb.
While I enjoyed the majority of the book, I was a bit disappointed at how quickly and neatly everything tied up in the end, especially considering the appalling behavior Caleb exhibits. Aside from that, the story moved along well and I thought the relationship between the MCs developed at a natural pace. If you love a man in a kilt and are looking for a sweet, low angst love story, Tartan Candy will check all those boxes.