I will admit to being tentative going into this book based on the back-cover description. An age gap between two consenting adults doesn’t bother me, but I didn’t want or need a lot of angst related to Poe being the son of Jericho’s best friend. Luckily, the perk to everyone being an adult is that healthy communication abounds once the secret is out. I also appreciate that Poe’s dad was more concerned about his son’s emotional health than about the relationship’s existence. Supportive parents are fantastic.

Of course, a romance novel’s whole point is that getting to the relationship stage isn’t easy. In this book, I enjoyed the multiple stages of the journey. Attraction exists between Poe and Jericho on a physical level because they are each other’s “types.” Still, neither man is inclined to act on that attraction until they establish an actual sort of friendship. Jericho also does his best to maintain a professional distance due to his role as Poe’s mentor in the tattoo business, but this is still a romance novel, so the sexy bits win out over time. However, Gale and Vaughn have done such an excellent job with their character creation that the relationship’s strong basis implies a lack of trouble later.

Though this book’s premise treats Poe as a “kid,” and Jericho sees him that way due to their age differences, Poe is still very much an adult. He is also very much an adult of contemporary America, where the “traditional” routes to economic freedom no longer exist and using art as a path to success is not appreciated in a capitalistic society. Tattooing provides Poe with an opportunity for structure and success, but it’s not his passion. That’s okay because it’s Jericho’s passion, and relationships should not consist of matched sets.

I’m bummed that there are not yet any other books in this series, but I have a feeling I know who the next pairing will be. I look forward to reading that book when it is released.

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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