Book Title: Budding Attraction
Author: Saxon James
Release Date: November 16, 2022
Genres: M/M Later-in-Life Romance
Tropes: Bi-awakening, small-town
I’ve never thought much about Orson Naples.
He’s a cute guy who I’d seen around town a few times, but then one day he up and left and didn’t reappear until a few years later. No one knows where he went or what he was doing, all this gossipy town knows is that he’s a widower, owns the florist, and is friends with that divorced group that hang out at the Killer Brew all the time.
But then one day I step into his flower shop and go from rarely thinking about him, to him constantly being on my mind.
There’s a restlessness to him that I’m dying to unlock answers to.
And his eyes linger on me a little too long for a straight man …
Ford Thomas is a pest. A delightful one. A tempting one. But I’m too old for games.
The ones I’ve played in the past have always led me to trouble which is why I vowed to settle down and live a quiet life.
So when Ford walks into my shop all uncontained energy and flirty quips in a pair of heavy work boots, I know I should show him the door.
I don’t need fun. I don’t need experiences.
Especially when those experiences have me questioning things I thought I knew about myself.
I have immensely enjoyed the Divorced Men’s Club series thus far, so I was so excited to read Budding Attraction—the newest book in the series! The first book, Roommate Arrangement, is still my favorite (I don’t know if anything will be able to top my love for Payne and Beau), but Budding Attraction was a wonderful addition to an already great group of books.
This one definitely had more of a serious tone to it, despite the ever-present sarcasm and teasing that I’m used to in a Saxon James book. Both main characters have been through some heavy stuff during their lifetimes, and Budding Attraction follows their journey of healing and growing as they become closer to each other. Orson, the town’s flower shop owner, lost his wife a few years ago, while Ford, the town mechanic, did some time in jail during his teen years. These are both difficult subjects for the two of them to talk about and cope with, but even so, they’re there for each other through it all.
I absolutely adored the domesticity of this book. Some of my favorite scenes were the quiet moments between Orson and Ford—when they just existed with each other. It makes my heart melt every time! These are guys getting a second chance in life they never thought would be possible, and they are there for each other every step of the way.
One thing I absolutely have to praise this book for is the way it handled Orson’s late wife, Tara. I’ve read a few second-chance romances, but a lot of them barely mention the previous partner, even though they were a huge part of that person’s life. Thankfully, Budding Attraction did not shy away from those conversations. In fact, it was something Orson struggled with a lot during the beginning of his relationship with Ford. He felt guilty for being happy, for loving someone other than Tara. It was something he had to deal and come to terms with, but it was a journey that was essential for him. I loved the way it was handled and I’m so, so happy it was included.
Also, I just have to say that this book includes my favorite miscommunication ever. I usually hate the miscommunication trope, but the way it happened here almost felt like it was making fun of the trope and I thought it was hilarious. Because of spoilers, I won’t go into specifics, but it had me dying. I loved it so much.
While this book had some deeper topics covered and had a more somber tone at times, the last 20% was pure happiness. I could not stop smiling as I was reading. It was late, and part of me knew I should go to bed, but I was way too invested to care. There were some seriously heart melting moments towards the end. You have got to read it!
Overall, I enjoyed Budding Attraction a lot! It was a little more insta-lovey than I was expecting, so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with their relationship, but I was happy to find it wasn’t an issue. If you’ve enjoyed the other books in the Divorced Men’s Club, you’ll no doubt love Orson and Ford’s story.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
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About the Author
Saxon James unapologetically writes happy endings for LGBT+ characters.
While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.
Member of SCBWI.
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