3.5 Hearts--When I see a new Douglas Black, I barely read the blurbs in my excitement before adding it to my TBR pile. I know that simple yet complex characters and intense situations are on menu.
With the Scottish Highlands as the main setting, "Taste in Men" is an sexual tension filled story about Taylor, an IT employee who is one foot out of the door at his company and Charles, the older silverfox head of the company. Taylor worked for the company since he was eighteen and all the hard work finally paid off with a big lucrative deal. He can finally leave the company where his technology skills were under appreciated. Down to his final two weeks at Webb, sadly, Taylor has to participate in a company team building weekend in the Scottish wilderness.
At 24 years old and carrying the baggage of a crappy childhood, Taylor is closed off, private and likes it that way. Imagine his surprise, when he feels an instant attraction to a man who doesn't fit his type of: barely legal, blonde and in the twink category. Charles is taller, older and broader than Taylor and he can't keep his eyes off the man. The sexual tension was delicious to read, I didn't expect any less from the author.
But I must say, this book isn't going to be for every reader. I think readers who don't mind contrary characters could give this a chance.
Taylor...he's interesting. I actually think Taylor has mental health concerns and undiagnosed disorders. He's antisocial but there more's to just being antisocial when it comes to Taylor. He's compulsive in his need to "not be tied down", to the point of touching slightly neurotic. And possibly on the spectrum with some of his habits displayed. He's so adamant about not being tied down, he won't buy the simplest things, though he has the coins to back it up. And his word vomit, some times it could grates the nerves.
It's perplexing at points. And Charles gets overshadowed with his baggage (loss of family) by Taylor's...uniqueness. He might be odd for some people, but there's something about his damage that made it an interesting read. I do wish it wasn't a singular POV (Taylor's). I think Charles was an equally interesting character if given a chance. His addition could be seen as telling since the reader misses out on his experience since meeting Taylor.
While the story has tension filled undertone, it wasn't saturated with abundant sex. There was outdoor sex! And a few thwarted occurrences just when the sexy times was imminent. You could just feel those blue balls for the men.
But with some good things, there were parts that weren't as solid.
Things not as strong:
There were weird loose ends, like Ray - was he interested or not? What's his deal? At times he seemed jealous, other supportive. And then as we got to the end, he just disappeared.
The epilogue was cool until the final paragraph (okay maybe 3-4 paragraphs) It was a weird spot. The growth great, but the dialogue got a little wonky. Something was a little off with the HEA feeling.
And the biggest one for me was missing out on the personal growth from Taylor. I wish there was more chances to read the interim parts of him trying to become a functioning adult with the one thing he didn't like, before skipping ahead in time.
Other than those things, the story is readable. Sexy, a little sad in parts, a little funny in others, a quick romance that I think would last. Just wish there was more elaboration in the less stronger bits.
Not my favorite for Douglas Black, "Port in a Storm", but not bad at all.
Recommended for readers who like age gaps, characters who don't emote out loud very well and sexy times outdoors.
A copy provided for an honest review.