Monday, October 22, 2012

Summer School by Tam Ames

Title: Summer School
Author: Tam Ames
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: contemporary
Length: 38k words 

Jeremy Decker is preparing for the worst summer of his life, teaching summer school and healing from his recent breakup. But maybe his sexy young teaching assistant will be able to put an end to Jeremy's summer doldrums.

English teacher Jeremy Decker's split with his boyfriend has left him with no plans for the summer and credit card debt. One solution is to teach summer history classes. College history major Lucas Van Sloan is brought in to assist Jeremy, and is thrilled to have a summer job that doesn't include supervising kids at the hometown swimming pool.

A summer heat wave has Jeremy snarlier than even upbeat Lucas can handle. Lucas drags the teacher back to his place and out of the heat, determined to pull Jeremy into his bed while he has him there. However, Jeremy's ex isn't quite ready to let go, and a college student may be no competition for a high-powered attorney.

Review

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Oh yeah, Dickens did get that line first, but it does apply to the summer session where Jeremy’s teaching a subject he’s woefully unprepared for, and Lucas is getting his first real experience in his field. They’re approaching the session from completely opposite mindsets.


Jeremy’s coming off a bad breakup—his long distance lover had more going on in the area than Jeremy could tolerate, although he made a frantic last ditch effort to salvage an 8 year relationship. That did bad things to his credit card and led him directly into this unappreciated teaching gig. He’s surly and comes off as kind of a jerk. He’s got an assistant who knows the subject inside out, but Jeremy prefers to stand up and admit he’s not sure when the sixteenth century was. A heat wave that turns his apartment into an oven is the last straw.

Lucas thinks Jeremy’s the grumpiest hotty he ever encountered, and little things that keep Jeremy from acting on his interest, like an age gap, being his supervisor, and being truly single for the first time in his adult life don’t mean as much to Lucas. He’ll reach for what he wants, and be honest about it.

Lucas is living in the lap of someone else’s luxury while he housesits, and there’s lots of room, plus a pool and other amenities. It’s a sweet set-up for Jeremy to come to terms with a lot of things, like admitting he’s really interested in Lucas, finding out what he wants and doesn’t want, and getting over David, the ex, who wanted a lot of things Jeremy didn’t know about and wouldn’t have agreed to anyway.

The story is sweet—they get past the initial difficulties, plus others that aren’t so dire, and have lots and lots and lots of sex. David never did certain things, so Lucas has plenty of chances to expand Jeremy’s horizons in some fairly basic directions. It’s kind of cute, the expectations from his experience of a long relationship are so different from his reality.

This story is really about Jeremy’s slow flowering—the relationship that consumed most of his adult life had a certain toxicity and he’s getting over that, so of course when ex makes a last play, it’s a bit stomach churning but Jeremy’s found a spine somewhere. This is the best part of the story—Lucas wants to take over but reins himself in. Although he’s desperate to tell everyone how things are going to be, he lets Jeremy direct the encounter and Jeremy needs the confidence that brings. These two are going to be good as a couple.

This author does humor well, and there are lots of little touches to keep things light, though she wasn’t going for a humor piece here. It’s a sweet romp with an underlying serious theme of knowing what you want and being willing to speak up to get it. The couple does spend a lot of time in bed, which did occasionally have me thinking “Again?” and Jeremy was hard to like at first, being prickly-funny with a side of dumb (teachers use lesson plans for a reason, Jeremy!). He grows more likeable with time. Lucas is just adorable—young and ready to grab life with both hands, he’s got lots of confidence, and he doesn’t need to change much over the course of the story because he’s got his act together.

What I didn’t get, really, was what had kept Jeremy and David together as long as they were—Jeremy was kind of clingy, but David seemed like a “want all the shinies” kind of guy. The relationship was all over except for the shouting when we meet any of these guys though, so we can’t really see why David was so cavalier for eight years and then so insistent after he was told no. Maybe it was the novelty of “no”.

The story is sweet and sexy, and if it’s not breaking major new ground, it’s still a pleasant light read. 3.75 marbles
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