Erryn reviews ‘Mystic Man’ by E.J. Russell. The ebook was released January 16, 2020. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: A friend recommended the book and I’m so glad I tried it.
When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.
Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?
Mystic Man is a 32,000-word novella featuring a pertinent internal playlist, suggestive shellfish consumption, and a six-year-old who thinks history should have more girls. HEA guaranteed.
2018-2019 Rainbow Awards Runner-up, Best Gay Contemporary Romance & Romantic Comedy
Sometimes I’m in the mood for something light and simple. Low angst, happy characters, and a breath of fresh air. Fresh Connecticut air, to be precise. Not sure I could find the state on a map, but would definitely now consider visiting. I live near the Pacific, but don’t visit nearly as often as I should. After reading this book, I was tempted to go and smell the salty breeze and remember why it is I live on the coast.
Cody has lived in Connecticut his entire life. He’s a mariner by birth, and has some tall tales to share. He loves his hometown, but he’s also got a serious case of wanderlust and he’s traveled the globe. He’s about to set off on another adventure, much to his sister’s consternation. She wants him home. She wants him safe. Cody, although appreciative of his sister, wants out. It’s been too long since he went out into the big world.
Aaron has the opposite problem. He’s never left SoCal, but the fiasco with his ex has him flying across the country to interview for a job. Seeing as he’s never left his comfort zone, this is a big deal for him. He’s about to chicken out when he finds himself encountering the hottest tour guide he’s ever met. He and Cody have immediate chemistry and Aaron finds himself agreeing to be shown the sights. They embark on several adventures together while Aaron interviews for the job at a local private school and waits to hear whether or not he got the job.
Aaron shot Cody an exasperated glare. “Why would I have brought trunks? I was interviewing as a teacher, not a lifeguard. And last I checked, most libraries aren’t located in a swimming pool.” He balled his socks up and tucked them inside one of his shoes. “Anyway, you don’t need to see me in my fish-belly-white glory.”
Cody waggled his eyebrows. “How do you know that isn’t why I planned this whole thing? So I could see your fish-belly-white glory and revel in it?”
“So you’re going to revel and regale?”
“I’m going to revel. The regaling is your responsibility.”
“Well, as it happens, there can be no reveling because I don’t have any trunks with me.”
“Aha. You have reckoned without your host.”
Aaron smiled. “So now we’re reckoning as well as reveling and regaling? Have you been reading the RE section of the dictionary as light bedtime fare?”
“Nope. Strictly serendipity. I’d ask you to skinny-dip, but this is a shared private beach, so you never know who else from the church might show up.” Cody stuck his hand between the towels and pulled out a second pair of trunks. “Voilà!”
Aaron burst out laughing. “I’m impressed. However, I think I’ll stick to wading anyway. That’s the most I’ve ever done in the Pacific. I wouldn’t want it to feel slighted.”
“All right. I won’t push.” See? I’m learning. I can let him set his own comfort-zone limits.
Cody stripped off his T-shirt and tossed it on his towel. When he looked up, Aaron was staring at his chest. When Aaron licked his lips, Cody’s cock perked up and said Hello, sailor. Yikes!
I love the lighthearted banter in the book. Cody is completely loveable, and Aaron is completely neurotic. With good reason, but it was nice to see Cody rubbing off on him. When the rubber hits the road, so to speak, the question was whether or not they could make it work. The book has an HEA guarantee, so I’d say yes. But they have to work out some issues before they sail off into the sunset.
I quickly want to mention Cody’s niece. For a secondary character, she packed quite a punch. I loved her take that there should be more of women’s stories in history. Her revisionist perspective was just plain fun.
E.J. Russell is a new-to-me author and I’ll definitely read more of her books. This book was just the palette cleanser I was looking for after a couple of dark books I recently enjoyed. Like I said, fun and flirty. In other words, perfect.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Reality? Eh, not so much.