Title: Cold Pressed
Series: Seacroft Stories: Book Two
Author: Allison Temple
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 250 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: While I appreciate the premise, this one was a mixed bag for me. There were things I liked but also things that didn’t make sense or left me disappointed.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: No strings attached is all Oliver can offer. He’s hiding a broken heart that holds him back from diving into a new relationship, but he’ll go on a blind date to make his family happy. Just one date, though; he doesn’t have time for love to derail his plans.
Divorced and demoted to the night shift, Nick has his own problems. He’s got an ex-wife who needs him and a kid with one foot in juvie. The last thing Nick needs is to butt heads – or other body parts – with a tempting hipster who wears a sad smile on their blind date.
Their chemistry can’t be denied, though, in an argument or in bed. No strings sex is uncomplicated and that’s what Nick and Oliver need. But getting into bed together is one thing. Staying out of each other’s hearts soon becomes so much more complicated than either one imagined.
Review: From the blurb: Cold Pressed is an 81k contemporary MM romance. It features a smoldering bisexual single dad, a broken-hearted hipster with a thing for beet juice, and a friends-with-benefits arrangement that blooms into the HEA you’ve been looking for.
I don’t know if Allison Temple writes her own blurbs, but they sure are good at sucking me in! How could I not want to read a book with that cute little tagline?? Give me all your smoldering bisexuals and hipsters and HEAs, man. I’m here for it. 😉 But based on that, I was sort of expecting a different book than I got. It’s worth noting too, though, that my expectation was also partly based on my previous experience with Temple’s books. I read The Pick Up when it was released early last year, and it was more fun and lighthearted. I think I was, perhaps unfairly, hoping for more of the same with this one. It IS cute and fun in places, but it’s also heavier than I thought it would be (heavy isn’t a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting it), and it also felt a bit rushed and disjointed at times.
Cold Pressed is the second book in the Seacroft series, but it works perfectly well as a standalone. Seb and Martin, the MCs from the first book, do play a role in this book—Seb is Oliver’s brother—but I didn’t feel like I was missing any vital information for jumping ahead to this story. Oliver is a new resident of Seacroft, having moved there to start a small business and be close to his brother, but Nick grew up there. In fact, grew up, married his best friend from high school, had a child, and became a firefighter there. Oliver’s life went in another direction entirely. He became an attorney at a ritzy law firm, and had a more decadent, fast-paced lifestyle. But, things didn’t remain picture perfect for either one of them.
When we meet Nick, he’s still with the fire department, but has been permanently relegated to dispatch duty after being injured on the job. He’s also divorced, and his ex-wife and teenage son, who is on house arrest, are both living with him. Nothing in his life is going according to plan. Similarly, Oliver’s life is also a mess. He’s busting his ass to open the juicing and wellness coaching business he and his partner of ten years were supposed to be opening together, until said partner stabbed him in the back and bailed on him. But nothing is going according to plan, and he’s starting to lose heart. After being set up on a blind date with each other—that also doesn’t go so great—Oliver decides that what they both need is just some stress relief. So, he proposes a sex-only arrangement that Nick agrees to, with the caveat that they never discuss anything personal.
While I appreciate the premise, that neither one of them had space in their lives for an actual relationship, I just wish it had played out differently. Once it became clear that that wasn’t going to be the situation, I wish more time had been spent developing the relationship, because I really did like them together at the end. But it literally went from strictly friends-with-benefits—they even had a safeword for when too much personal information was shared—to “I love you.” And, I think friends-with-benefits is maybe even a stretch. They really weren’t portrayed as even being particularly ‘friendly’, i.e., no personal sharing, so when those feelings suddenly showed up and started getting tossed around, I just didn’t buy it. I wasn’t in it with them.
I will say I liked both characters individually. Oliver seemed like a sweet guy, and I liked where he ended up in the book. I loved how he becomes kind of a mama bear, looking out for Nick and Hayden, as well another funny side character. And, I love how dedicated Nick was to his family, and how much he wanted to make things right with Hayden. He was such a good guy and definitely deserved to end up someplace happy. I was also intrigued by Oliver’s business and by a little fight he was having with the board of directors of the local farmer’s market. But, there was a loose end or two there that were never tied up. We never got any real closure regarding his business, or with regard to his ex, who re-appeared in the picture. It honestly felt like we were left hanging on a few things.
So, yeah, this one was a mixed bag for me. There were things I liked but also things that didn’t make sense or left me disappointed. It sounds like the next book in the series is about Avery, a character I liked and who had a funny little role in this book…so that could be fun. I dunno. I guess we’ll have to see if I get reeled in by another tempting blurb.
You can buy Cold Pressed here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07THN4KJ9?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]