Review: Tru Smoke (Ember Peak #1) by Edie Danford
Growing up in Ember Peak, Colorado, Jones Hudson nurtured dreams as big as the Rockies. Why else would a flat-broke college student believe he has a shot with Truitt Larkin, the billionaire CEO of Larkin Corp? And, sure, Tru might own the fab, five-thousand-acre Ember Peak Ranch, where Jones is just the son of a ranch employee, but that doesn’t mean a future with Tru is doomed, does it? When he finally, finally convinces Tru to break his chiseled-in-rock no-sex-ever policy, Jones is sure smoke will never shroud Tru’s silver-flame eyes again.
But fire burns and dreams crash. And Jones leaves Ember Peak—and a big chunk of his heart—behind.
Tru knows he’s responsible for fracturing his valued friendship with Jones. Indulging his attraction to the younger man was selfish and destructive—something he’ll always regret. When Jones returns to Ember Peak for a family wedding, Tru wants a chance to heal their friendship and give back to Jones the comfort of coming home. But sparks fly the moment they reunite, and they scramble to douse the passion that’s burned them both before. Yet a flicker of hope glows brightly, and soon they need all their courage to see their way to a future together.
This book was so good. Like stupidly good in a way that I don’t quite know how to put into words for a review. You know those books that grab you from the first chapter, pull you in close and whisper, “You with me kid?” and all you can do if offer your capitulation? Yeah, this was one of those books.
Now, I am a self-proclaimed angst whore and this book was my trick over and over again. Good lord was it ever and I think I need a fix now that I am done.
Told in the dual POV of Jones Hudson and Truitt Larkin, we meet the men as they are deep into one another after Jones surprised Tru by knocking on his hotel door the day after his 21st birthday. The week following is gorgeous, it’s fuckhot and it broke my damn heart. It was stunning to get so much emotion from just one chapter, to already get a feel for who Tru and Jones are to one another and who they think they are deep down inside but it hurt, y’all. It hurt and it was the best kind of hurt a hopeless romantic hoarder of romance novels can ask for.
Jones has had a crush on all things Tru forever. Tru was the first person to ground Jones when he arrived at Ember Peak Ranch with his mother at the tender age of four. It was then that Tru became family and the feelings that Jones had begun to change over time. I love, LOVE stories where the MC’s have known each other for years, even as young as Jones was when he met Tru but in this story, Tru wasn’t a child, in fact, Tru is 15 years older than Jones and of course that means Tru thinks he knows what is best. Tsk Tsk Tsk…
So back to that first chapter. Chemistry and emotions are aplenty through it and then it ends. My heart breaks and I turn the page… Three. Years. Later. Fuck. Without even reading another word I know that it’s been three years since these two have seen one another and my stomach dropped. I had to keep reading, I needed Truitt to see his ginger haired boy and do whatever he had to do to make amends but I also wanted to see Jones stand up for himself for whatever they would be together. I didn’t have to wait long as the men are reunited back at the ranch for Jones’ mom’s wedding.
To say the angst ever let up in this book would be a lie. It wasn’t terrible but it was this low hum of being on the edge with no real survival skills in sight. I loved it so much. I loved how the men reunite and the steps they take to make a summer on the ranch as lovers work. I ADORE that the author gave us both POV’s because I had to know what was in Tru’s head and heart as we walked this path. How he sees Jones as a grown man and when he uses that damn swoonworthy endearment. Sigh I am a sucker for endearments but when they have actual meaning behind them and not just “baby” or “honey” you have me in a big pile of goo and goo is always good.
But this story, it’s all about need. It’s the need of Jones to have the one man he’s been in love with his whole life and it’s Jones needing Tru to NEED him. Not just want him around or in his bed but to need Jones in his life.
Truitt is a fascinating and complicating man. He has this history with his father that is no pleasant and while he is rich AF, he isn’t crass about it and takes the responsibility of the Larkin Corp, the ranch and all that work for him seriously. He’s a good man who always wants to do what’s right for people even if that means sacrificing his own happiness. But Jones won’t let him be unhappy and seeing their relationship change and grow over the summer was beautiful.
The author doesn’t play on the stereotype with the age gap either and makes Jones a smart and capable man. He may be younger than Tru but that doesn’t mean he is a doormat. He’s learned from his mistakes and is making plans to get his man. Good lord. This book was really something else and I just loved it.
I like that three spoken words would mean everything to both men but it wasn’t the total goal. The life of them together, learning how to be together in this new way and not fucking it up was what they were both working toward even though it took Tru a bit longer to really catch on but catch on he did. I loved the end and had a feeling of where it would be going after Tru had the run in with the Jones doppelganger. He realized then what was important talking to Cody and Zeke and the way this book ended had me sliding off my chair in one major swoon.
I think I’ll shut up now and I’m just going to think of sun porches, trail rides, what happens on overnights, movie marathons under tables, revelations in walk in closets (ha!) meal in cabins, the love of three damn dogs and horses and all the swoony emotions that come with Truitt and Jones. Yeah, this was a good one and I have so many notes and highlights from it that I was going to use but instead, I’m going to tuck those away for my own keeping so I can swoon over them a few or more times.
OH! I love that this isn’t the end of Tru and Jones either and that we get them in book two…. I need that book, like now. *grabby hands* Gimme!
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