Review - "Mercury in Retrograde" by CJane Elliott
Soul mates in the making
Alex is an actor, heading surely and inevitably towards 30, wanting nothing more than to have his soul mate by his side. He has a successful career, money out the yang, houses, travel when he wants, and the promise by his astrologer that he will meet his soul mate within the next few months. When old lover Jeff shows back up in his life, he is sure Jeff is The One.
So Alex, in between movies and in need of a vacation, rents a lodge in Oregon for a week for just him and a few of his closest friends. A week in the woods, no fans, romance in the air, and nothing to do but bond with Jeff is the plan.
Ben is on staff at the lodge. He's the rafting guide, a free spirit who follows his inner voice to Oregon after finishing his degree. He trusts the little voice, whatever it is, to show him what he needs. He is 25, single and loves the outdoors. This life is good for him. For now.
The two men meet, and there is attraction and chemistry, but Alex is convinced Jeff is is soul mate, and Ben is too good a man to poach. Even when Alex gets a rude awakening. The friendship grows between the two, and when the week is over, Alex hopes they can still stay in touch when he returns to LA.
Life has a way of waylaying the best laid plans and intentions. Will a chance encounter in LA reunite these two, or drive them even further apart?
This is a sweet and touching tale of a man who knows what he wants, but is sometimes his own worst enemy in getting it. Alex is every one of us - wanting love, determined to have it but oh-so-blind about the truth in others' hearts. The heart wants what the heart wants, and poor Alex thinks he wants Jeff. Even though it has blown up in his face before, he just wants love to happen so badly he is willing to settle. And when something really good shows up in his face, he is just so blind to it.
CJAne Elliott has shown how even the smartest of us can be dense. How love can make a man blind and yes, dumb. And how good intentions can be so misguided as to almost ruin a very good thing. I alternated between wanting to knock Alex's head off and going, "Awwww". His heart was in the right place, but man, could his head use some work!
And Ben - how could a man not fall in love with him. Romantic, sexy, interesting. Everything Alex wants. Isn't it funny how misunderstandings, pride and sheer stubbornness can keep us from the very things we want?
And when Alex finally surrendered - so nice. So sweet. "He felt held - not literally with the way Ben's strong arms gripped him - but held, caressed, like his soul was being gently rocked, and it was amazing, too much almost, but perfect and terrifying and exhilarating and...right". Sigh.
Very nice story. Read it with your heart, and forgive foolish pride.