Chris & Lyle (Arrested Hearts #2), Jayda Marx
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Publisher: Jayda Marx
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Cops, Humor, Insta- Love, Romance
Purchase At: Amazon.com
*** This review has slight spoilers, including from the first book. ***
Chris – People say I’m a cocky, loud, foul-mouthed, sarcastic asshole of a man whore. And well…they’d be right. But there’s more to me than that; more than anyone knows. Pain from my past has made me uninterested in any connection with a man beyond a night of fun. That is, until Lyle Watson comes onto the scene. The secret and mystery behind the sweet little redhead’s eyes drive me to distraction wondering what his story is. I long to crack open his shell and get a glimpse into his true personality. When I get that glimpse, I become insatiable. But I quickly discover I’m not the only one with a hard story. Can I break through the walls Lyle has surrounded himself with? Can I let go of my past and change my ways? Is it possible to believe in things like love and forever again?
Lyle – I can’t get the hunky cop off my mind. He’s absolutely gorgeous, from his buff body, his scruffy blond hair and those warm brown eyes that dance with mischief. Even the way he carries himself screams confidence and strength. He is everything I should know to leave alone by now, but everything I can’t resist. I can only push him away so long before I end up in his arms. He’s the first man in years to make me think of things like relationships and love again. But what happens when the past comes back to haunt me?
*This M/M romance is for readers 18 and up! It contains a sexy, ornery cop, his guarded, wounded sweetie, and their hilariously feisty best friends. It has no cheating or cliffhangers, and a very happy HEA.
**Trigger warning: This book contains mention/description of domestic violence.
Like with Gage & Tyson, leave reality at the door if you go to read this. There is nothing even remotely realistic about this book. While it worked in the first book, I found myself struggling with the lack of reality in the second one.
Chris and Lyle were both introduced in Gage and Tyson’s story. Chris, a proud man whore (his words, not mine) is Gage’s work partner and best friend. Lyle is Tyson’s somewhat reclusive former neighbor who quickly became his close friend after events that occurred in the first book. Chris and Lyle have met several times but they don’t really talk until they, the friends from the police force, and Gage are celebrating Tyson’s twenty-first birthday. They’re at the bar where the cop buddies always go on Saturday nights for drinks. While Tyson is being, well, Ty, and Gage is perving on him, Chris and Lyle strike up a conversation. A few days later, they bump into each other in the park and agree to a date. Lyle’s an artist so their date is at an art museum and then to dinner. The night ends exactly as expected – Chris takes Lyle home and they end up in bed. Not a bad thing, but then Lyle freaks out and kicks Chris out.
Chris doesn’t do relationships. Ever. This was mentioned constantly in the first book. It was actually quite funny the way he joked with everybody and they joked with him over all the guys he’d had sex with. But when he’s asked by Lyle to leave after their first time – no doubt as he’d asked a bunch of guys to leave his place after sex in the past – he’s devastated. For the first time in years he’s wanting a relationship. Not just that… he’s gone and fallen in love with Lyle.
Long story short, the next time they see each other there’s a misunderstanding, lots of tears, and they’re kissing and making up. Not just kissing and making up. They’re declaring their love for each other and planning a future.
On their second date.
I knew going in that it was insta-love. Ty and Gage fell in love real quick too. Strangely, it worked beautifully with those two. With Chris and Lyle, I just wasn’t feeling it. Not in the beginning anyway. On the first date they both shared secrets. It was pretty obvious in the last book that Lyle had been in an abusive relationship. Those details come out pretty quickly. Chris and the reasons for his former commitment phobia is also explained.
They’re planning their future as Tyson and Gage plan their wedding. Everything is going well until suddenly it’s not. Lyle’s past has caught up with him in a big way.
This is where you really have to leave reality at the door. I’m the first one to say, “Oh, it’s fiction and it’s stated everywhere that it’s not supposed to be taken too seriously,” but certain things stood out that had me rolling my eyes a little. I won’t go into details of what, but I will say that there’s no way on this planet that would’ve happened as far as police procedure, jurisdictions, etc. Also, Gage would’ve been the first person called when it was all going down.
Sorry to be cryptic but that’s a major spoiler.
I really liked Chris and Lyle together, but…
I’m probably going to shock the hell out of my blog partner when I say this, but there was just way too much sex. And not just with Chris and Lyle. I knew Tyson was a randy little devil, but almost every single time they were on page they were talking about sex, grinding against each other, or going to the bathroom for sex. Not a problem, really, because they were cute. With Chris and Lyle, I admit to skimming over some of the sex scenes. This book was also a little more crude than the other one. I don’t mind dirty talk – I usually think it’s sexy – but sometimes these guys (Chris mainly) were a bit much. There’s being crude with each other, and even with their friends. Doing it in public in front of little old ladies, not so much.
I’m all about pet names. I’m a southerner, after all. 😉 However, sexy and sweets just didn’t sound right to me. There’s also a LOT of crying in both books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about men showing their emotions. Seriously. I just felt that some of the tears weren’t really necessary for particular scenes.
Another thing I was able to overlook in Gage & Tyson that I couldn’t with Chris & Lyle – the editing. I don’t understand all the semi-colons and exclamation points. A missed comma or quotation mark here and there are no biggie. But (and I know I sound like a broken record when I say this…) !!!!!! drives me nuts,especially when there are so many on each page. They are so distracting and take away from the story for me.
I know it doesn’t sound like it but I really did like Chris and Lyle together. I just would’ve liked to have seen them build up to the “I love yous” a little more. It just seemed a little out of character for Chris, who did nothing but go on about being a horny bastard who’d do any guy willing in the last book, even after he’d met Lyle many times.
I’m looking forward to the next book, Mike & Jonah (I think it is?). I’ve already met both guys and liked them, especially Jonah. I will be reading more by this author.