Snow & Secrets (Stanford Creek #3) by R.J. Scott #mm #review


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NB – This title was previously published with All Romance. The book remains the same with brand new cover art. Stanford Creek is a series of individual stories and this book can be read as a standalone.

First comes trust, then love… then the fight to stay alive.

Pop star Tyler Hart is desperate for peace after a humiliating public scandal. It seems like Stanford Creek may well be the place to lay low. After all, it worked for his friends and former bandmates, Cody and Danny. He borrows a cabin and settles in for a quiet Christmas…well, not quite.

Garrett Campbell is on the run. Wounded in the line of duty, he escapes to the only place he feels safe, Stanford Creek and his brother’s cabin. Only he doesn’t realize he’ll have a roommate, and a sexy one at that.

Amid snow falls and winter winds, passion burns bright. When danger threatens to follow Garrett, he has to decide whether to run again before his secrets could kill him and the man of his dreams.

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Snow and Secrets is the third in the Stanford Creek it is the story of Garrett, Megan’s (book 1) mysterious brother and Tyler, who is the third bandmate of Danny and Cody (books 1 and 2). Tyler is trying to escape a Hollywood sex tape scandal, and Garrett has been injured on the job and is recovering. Unbeknownst to one another, they’ve both been told they could use the same cabin in the woods above Stanford Creek over the holidays. Of course, they both also happen to be gay and instantly attracted to each other.

I admit before I read this book I was hoping it would be better than the other two in the series. While the author is new to writing M/F romance, she is quite well known in M/M romance circles so I hoped the story would improve due to her familiarity and comfort level with the genre. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that wasn’t the case. This book started out terribly slow. I felt like Tyler and Garrett spent the first half of the book fantasizing about having sex with one another and bemoaning the fact that that fantasy would never become reality. By the time they actually got together, I was almost to the point of losing patience. Granted, all romance should have some push-pull between the characters, but there should be some movement toward. The reader should be able to sense them inching ever closer to one another, heightening anticipation. I didn’t see that here. I was left with a sense of irritation and “just get over yourselves and get on with it already”. Thankfully, the second half of the book once they finally got together got a lot better. There was a good bit of action in the end of the book that I really enjoyed. I just wish there had been a more gradual ramping up to that action in the beginning of the book rather than a flat beginning that seemed to go on forever.

Also, I frankly take issue with one of the main conflicts of the book. One of the main plot lines is that Garrett because of his job as a translator for the government and military special forces, cannot tell his family what he really does. As such, he tells his family that he is a pharmaceutical salesman, resulting in him having to spend evermore ridiculous tables to explain what he’s doing on the job. That is untrue as well as totally unnecessary. While a special forces soldier may not be able to tell people what it is they do, there is no reason they cannot tell someone they are in the military, just not the details. By the same token, Garrett, as a translator, could do the same thing. It would’ve been perfectly reasonable to tell his family that he was working as a translator for the government, just not when or where or how. It would have still worked to have them assume that he worked in an office building in Washington so that the reveal of what he truly did would have been just as shocking without the need for the ludicrous pharmaceuticals salesman stories that kept popping up throughout the plot. For me, it just didn’t work.

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