Life on Pause

Erin McLellan. Riptide, $17.99 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-62649-657-6
McLellan (Controlled Burn) proves that love is all you need—after plenty of agita and endless, sometimes irritating soul-searching for the exasperating central couple—in this contemporary romance. When music teacher Rusty Adams stops to help a motorist with a shredded tire, he doesn’t expect to walk away with a boyfriend. Bison Hills, Okla., is a Grindr wasteland. Niles Longfellow, a historical reenactor at a local homestead museum, is a socially awkward man who seems to fear his sexuality, despite having come out as gay. Rusty and Niles’s attraction is immediate, but Niles’s fear is greater than his bravery, and he abandons Rusty for a trumped-up reason when it looks like they’re getting close to real romance. When Rusty decides to leave town, Niles has to face his feelings and his fear, or lose the best chance at love he’s ever had. The lack of communication between the protagonists is exhausting to read; as Rusty’s sister points out to him, “You’re sometimes really bad about telling [Niles] the important things.” Despite this flaw, the vulnerability of the couple triumphs over the questionable bits of plot to keep readers on board. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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