When a swerving car leaves him sprawled on the snowy sidewalk with a broken ankle, being rescued by his new neighbor, young, sinfully pretty Jeremy, seems like the start of something good, even if twenty years separate the two men. But Travis isn’t content to let Dave slip away and Dave’s his own worst enemy, holding Jeremy at arms’ length when Jeremy wants to get as close as possible.
With decisions about his future complicated by his tangled past, can Dave accept the second chance Jeremy offers or will his heart stay empty of love?
I was really looking forward to this one when it came through as a review request to the clubhouse. I love the series and the unique personalities. I think the first it still my favorite, the dynamics that Shane and Ben have is tough to go up against. The strength in this series is in the characters and The Empty Box did not disappoint. Shane and Ben were there as well as Vin and Patrick and I loved reading about them all again. I was worried I would be a little lost since I read The Broken Triangle two years ago but I had no trouble picking up where that one left off which says a lot for the strength of all the characters in the series.
Jeremy is the new addition and he appealed to me immediately. He “rescues” Dave one late night and is attracted to him from the beginning. An older man is definitely his thing and Dave pushes all his buttons. Jeremy is no kid though, he’s 29, successful and independent. His experience with men is sparse, but he’s been with plenty of women. You know the saying, “what he lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm”? That’s Jeremy. He gets tongue tied around Dave and his stream of consciousness conversations are really quite charming.
The first half of the book is Jeremy and Dave getting to know one another and Dave struggling with how to fit Jeremy into his life in a realistic way. He’s not convinced that Jeremy could be interested in him long term because he’s so much younger and he’s beautiful and he’s an eternal optimist and all the ridiculous things a dude with a messed up head thinks. Dave doesn’t get his own appeal so he doesn’t understand Jeremy’s attraction. Dave also has the specter of his long term love with Travis hanging over him and it really had made him into a hot mess. I’ve got to admit, I got frustrated with Dave and his attitude. I mean, I got it, his whole frame of reference with relationships is broken, but not giving Jeremy the benefit of deciding for himself what he did or did not want got old and was just plain disrespectful after a while. It was unfair to put his issues on Jeremy.
Half way through the book I hit a wall of what-the-fuckery. Beware, minor spoilers ahead. The evil ex makes his appearance and threatens Jeremy. Frankly, Jeremy’s reaction surprised me. I understood he was scared, and rightfully so, but until the resolution of their relationship a few chapters later I felt like a new character had taken over Jeremy’s body. His speech and actions didn’t connect at all with his character in the first half of the book and I lost the momentum in the story.
From then on out Travis is a major focus of the book even if his character isn’t present. Jeremy took a bit of a backseat and it just made me sad for him. He deserved better. I really couldn’t blame Dave a whole lot, again, his inner relationship guide is broken, but it was just a big old, fat-ass, hairy bummer for me. Things got way worse for the guys before they got better and they didn’t get better until the very end. By then I was so completely over Travis but he’d been front and center for so long that I had trouble reconciling Jeremy and Dave back together. Dave spent a lot of time pushing Jeremy away and Jeremy spent a lot of time being patient. So very fucking patient. I have to say that it read realistically though. If Dave would have miraculously gotten his head straight I would have called BS.
My wish would be that Travis got less page time and there was more of Dave and Jeremy as a couple at the end. I think I needed that different balance to put them back together as a couple in my head. I’ll be ready for the next one when it’s rolls around. At least I hope there’s going to be a next one, please tell me there will be! I really like how the authors flow from one story to the next. It’s very smooth with well written reminders of prior stories and characters without a complete rehash that takes up a big chunk of the new story. So, that means I would get more Jeremy and Dave. I need to get back to liking Dave and read about him loving Jeremy. I need to get resolution on the balance of their relationship. Not to mention I love Jeremy’s ramblings and anytime I can read more of Shane and his attitude I’m a happy unicorn.
Read more about The Empty Box over on Goodreads.
**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**