L.A. Witt could be a hit or miss for me -- but this time, I will say that I APPROVE of this story. I'm not usually a huge fan of Hollywood stories -- or stories involving closeted actors. I don't know, I feel like it is such a cliché kind of setting ... which is weird, because stories about athletes usually have similar set-up, but I tend to like them better. Or maybe in books, I just like athletes more than movies stars.
It worked for me because I thought Carter and Levi genuinely had CHEMISTRY. It was adorable the way that Carter went starstruck over Levi, that he actually watched ALL of Levi's films, including the indie ones and knew things by heart. I loved that these men started with easeness and comfortness of being friends -- even if it was clear to use readers that both had feelings for one another.
While there were a LOT of internal struggles and monologues because Levi feared of coming out, but it also brought times of them doing things together that were NOT sex!! In fact, no sex until around 80%. And as someone who always, ALWAYS, prefer romance to sex scenes, I was very happy about that. At that time, I felt that sex as the reward for my being patient reading about them watching movies, talking, cooking, playing with cats, fishing ... you know, things men do (haha!).
I also loved that Levi was not agonizing over their age-gap. Often in books where the men are having at least > 5 years old difference, they are worrying about it. But here, Levi was almost 40, and except for that one time where he thought he must have "at least fifteen years over Carter's", the issue never came up. I really liked that.
Now, I am usually not a big fan over someone giving his love interest an ultimatum about "come out or we're through" scene; because coming out was a personal process. But in this case, I thought that Levi needed the push. Levi wasn't happy ... he was depressed and it was clear that he was trying to please the people (or Hollywood) that never really going to love him back anyway. So I liked what Carter did ... and besides, the ILY scene was so sweet!!
I guess this is a good start of another small-town romance from Riptide, much like Tucker Springs, Colorado series. I wish there is more to the community involvement though, because what I like from small-town romances in M/F is the closeness of the community; you know, like the nosy neighbors or the wise-cracking elders. I want to read that in MM too