To borrow a phrase from this novella, you won’t want to miss this “quick but meaningful” introduction to Fox’s next series. Most novellas that act as this sort of prelude leave me both overwhelmed by introductions to secondary characters and underwhelmed by the story itself. Proving once again why Fox is one of my favorite writers, this story is none of those things.
Even stories set in the “real” world still need elements of worldbuilding to introduce the reader to the setting. Fox takes that one step further by using Tristan’s personal history with the town of Seguin to reveal both how the town is evolving and the all-important “vibe” of the setting itself. Tristan becomes a sort of stand-in for the reader as, with him, we’re introduced to the core group of characters we’ll see in future books and get hints of the backstory leading to how they became the Lost Boys.
None of this drowns out the story at the core of this novella, which still works as a lovely stand-alone romance in its own right. Tristan and Joel’s story involves all the humor and steam I’ve come to expect from this author without sacrificing any of the solid emotions necessary for any romance. The way Joel and Tristan first clash is essentially the equivalent of pulling pigtails for attention, which could have led to annoyingly immature conflict between adults. This is where Fox’s excellent character work shines, as she instead brings the men together in a high-heat romance that still has a solid “how to make the relationship work in the long-term” throughline – and intersects nicely with potential external stories we might see in the main series.
I was already excited for these next books by Fox. Getting more glimpses of Tristan and Joel being adorable together will simply be an added bonus.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.