Mason Hayes's love life has a long history of losers who don't see that Mason's heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love - and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it's a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend's soccer teammate. The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other. But Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn't want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he's found a man worth sharing his heart with.
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(Small spoilers near the end – I’ll warn you before they come!)
So, you remember Mason as the executive who kept flirting with Skip and then later played golf with him. He’s a great guy who’s a bit socially awkward and hasn’t had much luck with men. His latest ex tossed him over for his boss and that, coupled with his brother, Dane’s, troubles instigated his move to Sacramento from San Francisco. He’s got a wonderfully supportive family and a job he excels at, but he’s lonely.
Terry is another guy on the soccer team that plays with Skip. He can’t be “gay” because his mother would never allow it and he still lives with her. He’s working a fairly low-paying job and doesn’t love it, but he doesn’t know how to do anything differently. His mother has pretty much convinced him he’s worthless and beholden to her for his very existence.
There is absolutely NO WAY these two should ever hook-up, much less have any chance at something long term. But somehow – they just click.
Just like Winter Ball showed us two blue collar guys trying to make the best of their lives and to rise above mediocrity by claiming something for their very own, Summer Lessons looks at two “simple” guys who aren’t necessarily struggling against impossible odds, but who are really just unhappy with their current lot in life and who find “magic” in loving one another. That’s the simple beauty of this story.
Because it’s Amy, it can’t be simple. Oh, no it can’t! First we have an age gap, an economic gap and an education gap. Then, we have Terry’s mother and to a certain extent Mason’s brother to contend with. (Dane is hopefully getting his own story next!) It’s not enough to bridge those gaps and cross those hurdles. Oh, no it isn’t! Amy adds in another little “twist” that just about kills you along about the 70% mark in the story. (No spoilers – just be warned – Amy gets her angst in there, don’t let down your guard!)
Of course I found myself riveted, totally unable to put this story down. My heart literally bled for Mason. I wanted him to be happy so, so badly. I loved that he loved Terry and that the two of them seemed to “get” one another so well, but I do wish I’d been able to see a bit more of just WHY a bit more. Mason is reported to be pretty fascinated by sex and has supposedly messed up some things in his life with this fascination, so it makes sense that he and Terry (especially at first) really bond on a physical level. They do – later- hang out a bit – and to a certain extent I could see some of the fascination. But….
When Mason let’s Terry be free and they “take a break” I really, really wanted Terry to be more sad, more devoted upon return and more “broken” by the break up. It killed me that he even went on dates with other guys. How could he not see how wonderful Mason was??? I could totally understand both of them needing proof that Terry could be independent – but did he have to date???
In any case, I really loved seeing these guys find each other and found Mason to be about as loveable as a big, floppy puppy. He was all heart and just so open and honest and such a breath of fresh air. He was delightful! Terry, while probably sweet, didn’t wow me nearly as much and I wasn’t ever quite sure he deserved our Mason.
The other thing that really kept this story moving along was Dane and Carpenter’s relationship. Oooo, la la! That’s gonna be a heart string ripper and I can’t wait!
For fans of the author and especially Winter Ball this will delight. It’s definitely okay as a stand-alone, and I think anyone looking for “real men” falling in love will absolutely adore this!
4.5 of 5 stars
I just love Nick J Russo – I say that every time – but I do! I grew to love his version of Mason- I was worried about this – but it definitely seemed to fit. He portrayed Terry about as I’d imagined as well. I’m really looking forward to Dane and Carpenter’s story – I hope Nick does their audiobook, too!