Guest Review: Tender with a Twist (Rainbow Cove #2) by Annabeth Albert

One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Reviewer: Lost in a Book

"One kinky wood carver."


That's all it took to decide I had to read it. I didn't stop and read the rest of the blurb, I went all MINE and never looked back. I probably should have since I had mixed feelings about the first book in the series but I had my sights set on a big, muscly, bearded, tattooed, growly, lumberjackesque, kinky as hell bottom. Hell to the yes.

Curtis was introduced in book one as being the broody friend of the police chief. He didn't have a lot of happy in his life and with the loss of his husband two years prior, he was just making it day to day. Curtis was a sub without a Dom. A pain slut looking for the relief that being dominated and pain brings. With luck finally shining down on him, he stumbles upon a Dom that may be just what the doctor ordered.

Logan; chef at Rainbow Tavern and aspiring Dom. At a leather night hosted by the tavern, Logan gets in an altercation with a big beefy drunk Dom. With his aikido training, Logan makes it clear that he isn't weak nor a sub. He is a Dom. *Yessir* Curtis just happens to be within hearing distance and has an extra skip in his step... all the way to kinky-sub-space-land at Logan's house that night.

”This was the place I craved. No more thinking, just existing from electric touch to electric touch, the pain both grounding me and setting me free to soar.”

What was supposed to be a one time thing led to Curtis agreeing to provide lessons for the very inexperienced baby Dom, Logan.

Now, here is where I have mixed feelings on the book. If I would have just kept reading the blurb, I would have known Logan was an inexperienced Dom. Alas, I'm a slacker and got distracted. It was very Kink/Dom 101 for the first half. This is to be expected considering the blurb but was also a reason why it dragged for me. I'm used to diving right into my kink books already in the submissive position ready to say "Yes, Sir" because the Doms are experienced. This is more my preference than the books fault. I enjoyed it more as the scenes became less teachy.

For much of the first half, Logan and Curtis' interactions and scenes were hot but sterile. They had many scenes without any emotion and zero kissing.

“You’re so all fired to get me trussed up. How about you tie me to the bed and fuck me until I can’t think?”


Like I said, hot. But, it was strictly about fulfilling a physical need. The shift in their relationship happened slowly and each scene became more intimate than the last. It became about more than getting off and somehow a friendship and then feelings snuck through the walls Curtis had built. I had a hard time connecting with them for a bit but was fully on board with their transformation by the end. They were perfect for each other. It was enjoyable to see that their bedroom dynamics didn't hinder the other parts of their lives but enhanced them. I liked that they weren't locked into their roles as D/s in the bedroom and would sometimes switch and allow themselves to be vulnerable. These tender moments had me rooting for them whether it was a flogging with fucking or forehead kisses and blow job. I believed them.

“Things were changing between us, encounter by encounter, moment by moment, and while it scared me, I also reveled in it.”


One of the things that had me scratching my head and wanting to take a hammer to my kindle was the way everyone treated Logan. It was WAY OTT on the lack of confidence they had in Logan and his ability to adult. His friends and family were all guilty of this Logan-is-a-shrinking-violet-and-can't-take-a-piss-without-a-helping-hand mentality. The comments and behaviors lacked justification. His parents made me ragey AF and apparently never cut the umbilical cord. Another plot point was Curtis' hang up with the age difference. The age difference was STILL brought up in the "7 months later" chapter. *smdh*

Anyway, it was a well earned HEA with a sugary sweet ending where everything was wrapped up neatly in a pretty bow. If you're new to kink and are interested in D/s, pain, etc., this would be a good starter for you. I enjoyed Tender with a Twist more than the first book in the series and I'm glad I didn't skip it. Thank goodness for kinky wood carvers. Recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment