Chef Dylan Trevino screwed up bad, and he knows it. When he left Texas, his job, and his boyfriend behind, Dylan was confident Aston would follow him to New York. Now he’s back home and working for the worst caterer in Austin just to pay the rent. Being head chef at a party thrown by a famous rocker doesn’t make up for serving bland tacos while dressed like a dime-store cowboy. Thank god his ex can’t see him now.
Aston Winkler’s steampunk guitar mods are all the rage with musicians and he’s got invites to every hot party in town. Too bad he’d rather be listening to garage bands than networking in a penthouse. From his 6’7” vantage point, Aston has no problem spotting Dylan at the crowded SXSW party. Getting his boyfriend back? That’s a tall order.
Having enjoyed Preston’s M/M romance You Can Leave Your Boots On, I was quite happy for the chance to read Tall Order. Because Dylan and Win have a past, there’s no need for relationship building. However, the author does a nice job of trickling out the information about their past as it is needed to heighten the tension between the men as they dance around possible reconciliation a year later. Between Dylan’s pride and Win’s shyness, their reconciliation is not only long in coming, it’s also not clear as you read that it’ll actually happen.
Dylan has returned to Austin after his dream to become an accomplished chef in New York went down in flames. As if having his dream crushed were not enough, Dylan finds himself accepting work with one of the area’s worst caterers and the current event’s menu is only salvaged because the organizer insisted on gluten-free fare. While the menu provided Dylan the opportunity to flex his culinary muscle, the owner’s shenanigans and Win’s unexpected appearance at the party means that Dylan’s bad night is getting worse. In what the reader learns is a change in roles, Win comes to Dylan’s rescue and the two men leave the party for a chance to catch up because Win feels he needs closure. Unfortunately, a year apart has not improved either man’s communication skills and misunderstandings abound as they each discuss their past, their present, and what they see happening in the future.
I really enjoyed both characters, but for different reasons. I related to Win’s introverted nature and it was easy to see that he wasn’t comfortable in the crowded party, but he also found the intense one-on-one conversation with Dylan to be just as disconcerting. And despite him taking Win for granted in the past, I found Dylan’s circumstance to be dreadful – wanting to prove himself at his first “real” catering job in Austin and being sabotaged by a cheap employer. I actually said “YAY!” when Dylan walked out on the party in order to spend time with Win. Because the reader gets a look inside both men’s heads, there was more than once that I wanted to smack them both on the back of the head to knock some sense into them, especially Dylan, who kept letting his pride get in the way, preventing him from communicating fully with Win. Needless to say, it was a relief for me as the reader when the two men finally started talking AND listening to one another, admitting their feelings, and working toward a future together, rather than one apart. I liked how the book ended with a promise, rather than trying to tie everything up in a pretty little package. Tall Order was an enjoyable read and I look forward to checking out more of Preston’s writing.