Author: Eli Easton
Length: Novella (88pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd October 2013)
Heat Level: Low – Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3½ – 4 Hearts
Blurb: Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching. The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper. When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?
Review: Luke is a computer games designer, works from home, he takes his dog out walking everyday, and soon realizes that someone is watching him from the message he deciphers from a crossword puzzle. Alex has watched his neighbor for a while now and decides to test the waters in a unique way, his idea works and the two begin a sweet romance. Luke things he has got it all now, but begins to have doubts about having a relationship with a man in a wheelchair, Alex begins to pull away, and Luke has to prove to both of them that he is in it for the long haul.
This is quite a sweet story of overcoming doubts and making amends. Luke is lucky. He has been able to relocate closer to his family when his firm started a ‘work from home’ policy. He has fallen into an easy routine, which is interrupted one day when he finds a newspaper on his doorstep. It leads to him meeting a man that he has an instant connection to. Alex designs crossword puzzles and he develops a crush on a neighbor, he would love to just approach the man but he is slightly shy and also doesn’t want to be rejected because he is in a wheelchair. Sending coded messages in his crossword puzzles is his way of feeling Luke out and he is delighted that Luke seems genuinely interested in him.
This story gets off to a great start with Luke trying to figure out who the messages are from, it picks up more when Luke and Alex meet with their attraction being obvious between them. They hit it off and seem well suited with Luke not caring that Alex is in a wheelchair, although Alex is a bit wary at first he quickly accepts that Luke really wants him. And then the relationship wobbles a bit…. what was going great suddenly becomes strained because Luke begins to think about all the things Alex will never get to see or do, and he is under strain at work.
I really liked this story for both Luke and Alex, Luke is someone who just accepts things, as they are, dating Alex never even brings up questions until someone mentions the difficulty it could bring, and it suddenly hits Luke all the things that being wheelchair bound means. He has things bouncing in his head but it isn’t until he nearly loses Alex that he realizes what a prat he is being. Alex is a sweetie, he hasn’t had much love from men in his past and he hasn’t much hope with Luke, but he gives it a go and is really hurt when Luke begins to act distant. Alex is great though because he refuses to be treated badly and puts his foot down. They are both great characters, with some laughs and confusion, hurt feelings and forgiveness and plenty of making up.
I recommend this to those who love relationships with their ups and downs, sweet loving, great characters, sorting through feelings and a really cute ending.