Review: Rustic Memory by Nic Starr (Rustic #2)

Note: This ARC was provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“No, let me finish. I need to get this out. I like you, Ty. Really like you. I would love nothing more but to see where this thing between us could take us, but I’m going to grant you your wish. I can’t turn off my feelings like you supposedly can.” He released Ty’s arms. “Hell, I don’t want to turn off my feelings. I want to be in love. I want someone to love me back. I want a relationship and everything that goes with it, the good and the bad.” Mac smiled softly at Ty. “I’m going to give you your space. I need to protect my own heart… because I’m falling, Ty.”

With a series starter that raised the bar quite high, Rustic Memory, the second book in author Nic Starr's Rustic series, was going to have to give me a story and main characters that were, at the very least, worth falling in love with. And this sequel did exactly that, courtesy of two men who meet again fifteen years after they were once in each other's lives. Tragedy had one leaving Armidale, creating a new life in the city and finding love yet again. But when fate deals him another devastating blow, he returns to the place that he once called home, hoping to find peace amid old memories. Instead, he finds love, one he doesn't want.

Thirty-three-year-old Tyler Samuels returns to Armidale after being away for fifteen years. He buys the Central Hotel, hoping to put his experience in the hospitality business to good use while creating yet another new life for himself. He's already loved twice and lost the men who owned his heart both times to circumstances beyond anyone's control. Now, all he wants is an escape from too many memories that stir up pain and heartache. When a mountain of a man with arresting features shows up at the pub, little does Ty expect that the man who has captured his attention is Mac McGrath, younger brother of an old friend.

Three years were more than enough to make Robert "little Robbie" McGrath feel like he wasn't in the same league as his older brother and his brother's friends. But it's one friend in particular that's always fascinated him, and at fifteen, he was nursing a very unrequited crush on Tyler Samuels. Fifteen years later and working as an electrician for the family business, he hears that Ty has returned, and when Ty notices that little Robbie is now all grown up as Mac MacGrath, Mac is thrilled that the attraction is no longer one-sided. Ty is now not just his brother's friend but becomes a friend of Mac's too...maybe more.

With their attraction sizzling between them, Ty makes it clear that he isn't looking for a relationship. Casual sex has never been Mac's thing, but he wants to be with Ty, and doesn't mind them hooking up, until it becomes increasingly obvious that Ty will never accept the possibility of them becoming more than friends with benefits. Their feelings are entangled with their physical desires, but while Ty believes he can separate the two and still remain just friends with Mac, Mac has already put his heart on the line, falling for his teenage crush. Will Ty be able to let go of his fears and the ghosts of the past for a future with Mac?

And here I was thinking that the first book was going to be difficult to beat. Ty and Mac's love story had me sighing--both in happiness and in frustration--and I do believe I actually was a teeny, tiny bit even more invested in these two than I was with Joey Callaway and Adam Chambers from Rustic Melody. The demons that Ty is running from are far more potent because they're tied to him emotionally, making it difficult to break away even when he's distanced himself physically. I loved how understanding and patient Mac was and his love for his dog Shadow made him more endearing. Five-plus stars for Rustic Memory. ♥

Date Read: 14 April 2016

Learn more about Nic Starr.

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