James Hastings is having a bad week. All he wants to do is buy a six-pack and spend an evening moping. Instead, he wins a weeklong trip to Hawaii, thanks to a young man at the liquor store.
Tattoo and piercing artist Travis Barton is surprised when the cute guy he helped out wins a trip and invites him to come along. Still, he’s not about to pass up a free trip to Hawaii.
Travis’s idea of a no-strings fling goes against James’s nature, but it seems like a great way to make the trip even better. Then their hot, uninhibited nights together start to blur into something more, and James starts to imagine Christmas ever after — Travis, with strings attached.
I don’t read a lot of holiday-themed books because by the time I “find” them, the holiday is over and I’m no longer in the holiday mood. But because we’re doing a Christmas in July theme for the blog, I had a great excuse to find some Christmas-themed books to read and Strings Attached was at the top of my list. Based on the blurb, I expected to get an enjoyable read as two complete strangers embarked upon a no-strings attached affair while on a Hawaiian vacation – a little steamy fun in the sun read. And while I did enjoy the book and the steamy fun in the sun it offered, Ms. Gold gave me even more than I bargained for.
When the blurb says that “James Hastings is having a bad week.” let me tell you that THAT is one heck of an understatement. As I read the first few pages of the book, I completely understood why he headed straight to the liquor store after work because if ever there were a reason to drown your sorrows, James had three of them. While at first it doesn’t look like his luck is getting any better when he goes to pay for his purchase and realizes that he’s left his wallet in the car, he gets a helping hand from a stranger who sees paying for James’s beer as his good deed for the season. And for once, a good deed not only goes unpunished but it gets rewarded as James’s purchase wins him an all-expense week long vacation in Hawaii. Because he doesn’t have someone to go with him, James finds himself inviting Travis along. We learn later that Travis accepting the invite was just as out of character for him as it was for James to issue the invitation. When the guys find themselves checked into the honeymoon suite, neither is sure of what to do because they assume the other is straight. Once that misconception is cleared up and they spend some time together, Travis suggests a no-strings attached vacation fling and the heat ramps up between them quickly. A lot.
I really liked the whole opposites attract and don’t judge a book by its cover messages that seemed to drive this book. Were it not for the trip, neither James nor Travis would have given the other a second look as they weren’t representative of the kind of guy they usually liked – James seemed like too much of a stuffed shirt to Travis, while Travis’s tattoos, piercings, and emo vibe were the antithesis of James’s typical dates. Yet as they spent time together outside of the suite, they learned that they had a lot in common and their chemistry in the bedroom was unmatched by any of their previous lovers. Despite how well they clicked, both guys possessed just a little too much of the “man gene” and neither was willing to talk about how they really felt, choosing to accept that the agreement that began their week was still what the other wanted and they parted ways at the airport. OY, MEN!!! While I don’t want to ruin the ending, I will say that it’s a good thing that James seems to attract helpful strangers and he gets the kick in the pants he needs to go get his man. I loved Strings Attached and hope that the author plans to rerelease the other books in the Fantasies series.