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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) [Mason & Terry] by Amy Lane

Rating this book isn't easy for me. It was GREAT at the beginning, funny and engaging, then when Mason and Terry started their relationship I wasn't sure it was working for me, but somewhere on the last third I was SO caught up in Mason's struggles I couldn't put it down! Unlike the previous one which felt lacking because it was too short, this one, delivered a full journey for both MCs (though we only get Mason's POV). They both needed to "grow up" in their own way, they needed time, and Amy gave us this time before they were truly ready to have their HEA with one another. I really appreciated that. Yet still, I gotta say, I"m not fully convinced about this couple. They work! There's no denial in that, but it still doesn't make sense to me. Terry is a nice sweet guy, but I would have preferred seeing Mason with someone more "like him" in any sense really (which is why this is a rounded up 4 stars rating).

We've met both MCs in the previous book "Winter Ball". That one was somewhere between a short novel to a long novella. It missed the depth I so enjoyed in this one. Though it's quite long it didn't drag because both Terry and Mason needed to see how they can work together. Though I was skeptical (still am..) I gotta say - it worked! Terry and Mason were great together even if so many things seemed to keep them apart. But I'm getting ahead of myself.. As I was saying, we've met these guys before - Terry Jefferson plays on Skipper and Richie's team. All we knew about him is he has a VERY annoying mother he lives with who controls his life and makes them as hellish as she can. Mason is the VP in the company Clay Carpenter and Skipper works at. Mason's the guy who hit on Skipper when he was just suppose to ask for technical help.. I really wanted to get his story. He seems like the "foot in his mouth" kind of guy, which can be really endearing and that's EXACTLY who he is. I LOVED him for how genuine he is, and though he comes from money and making a lot of it, he's just a decent guy. He doesn't care about money, degrees and all of that even if most of the people around him seems to be all about it. But things are changing now for the better. 

Mason Hayes makes a decision, living at the Bay area has lost it's charm after his ex cheated on him with his boss so when his little brother - Dane, asks if he'd move to Sacramento so they could share a house while Dane is finishing his Veterinary studies he agrees. There's more to Dane than meets the eye. He seems like a charming guy, but he has his secrets and his reasons for wanting Mason near. Mason knowing all about that, prefers to have him near by. I loved the interaction between the brothers. It was the realest thing. All those little banters and even fights, how much they care for one another and would do ANYTHING for each other. They made fun of one another, they laughed and all that, but in the end they'd walk through fire for one another which was BEAUTIFUL to read. 

Mason had his share of relationships at the age of 36, but none of them were any good. All of them simply didn't "get" him, they didn't need him or want him like he wanted or  rather CRAVED to be cherished by his man. It's funny, I just dated this guy a week ago? He was truly a  nice guy, but he never made an effort and he didn't even realize it. When I told him - listen, it's not working.. His reaction was - Well, I'm not going to to run after a girl who doesn't want me.. and I was thinking - well, if you'd actually RAN after me, just a LITTLE bit, I'd be happy to give to a chance. Though Mason's past was FAR worse than that stupid guy I dated like twice.. I think the main thing was the same. They weren't really INTO him. Maybe something about him appealed to them "on paper", but they didn't see him for who he is, everything that he had to give and mostly - his big heart.

While forming a friendship with Skipper he is invited to play on their soccer team. I love that these guy enjoy winning but don't play for it. It really is just the fun of the game. Quite charming from my point of view :) Mason known NOTHING about playing soccer so when Terry offers to tutor him he joyfully accepts (also because he likes what he's seeing even though the chance of anything happening considering he is 11 years Terry's senior isn't promising..). 

Terry is actually VERY attracted to Mason and couldn't care LESS about his age. He wants him and he grabs him. End of story. But wait! What do you mean end of story? Mason doesn't want a fling, he wants a steady guy. Terry never had real time for himself which means at the age of 25 any sexual interaction he had - had to be bang N' go. Not only that, he isn't highly educated and besides living with his mean mother, he also never had a lot of money. Why would a guy like Mason be interested in HIM? and for more than a little fun on the side? doesn't sound likely..

Yet Mason IS interested and he does his best to show Terry just that. It's not easy on Mason, seeing all the self doubt Terry deals with on a daily basis, from life and mostly his mother so with the help of the guys he does his best to make Terry build a life of his own. Yet once he does, question is, will he choose Mason by his side or someone who is more "like him". He'll just have to wait and see even if it breaks his heart... I won't say more about Mason and Terry because though they were obviously MEANT for one another I didn't connect with Terry AT ALL. I know he was meant to be seen as "sheltered", for me it was still translating to "childish". Thinking  about it through my eyes (as I'm the same age as Mason) it feels wrong on so many levels even if the sex was great. Even though he grew up a lot throughout the book he is still a kid while Mason is a man. Yeah he act "teenagery" at times, but it doesn't change his maturity, his sense of responsibility. These things will take YEARS for Terry to accomplish and though I'm happy for Mason for finding his one, I wonder through how much growing up he'll have to wait until he actually gets an EQUAL. It just bothers me.. 

But through it all it's not just Terry who gets to grow up, and make difficult decisions about his life. It's also a time for Mason to actually build a life he always wanted even if he never realized it before. Though the soccer team he gets to be surrounded by friends who he enjoys spending time with but also knows will have his back. His work starts to mean more to him and he starts making changes ones that impact more people including the ones he holds dear. He builds a LIFE in Sacramento so different than the one he used to have back home. A life he enjoys. With people who get HIM and laugh with him and not at him. He doesn't have to pretend anymore he can just BE after a life of his quirky comments destroying so many things for him. 

I've already wrote too damn much about a book I had a really difficult time to rate. But I gotta add a few more things :) First! I LOVED Mason's secretary. She was a PLEASURE to read. Their interaction was GOLD. I also REALLY want to get Dane and Clay's romance story, I truly hope Amy will write it (sooner rather than later)! One last thing - Without saying much I also really appreciated the way Dane's difficulties were handled. I don't want to spoiler, but it was painful yet heart warming at the same time seeing how much Dane means to Mason as well as Clay and how hard it was on everyone. It's not an easy subject but I think it was handles beautifully.  

Read on:
23-24 Sep 2017

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