Wild Raspberries by Jane Davitt
When Daniel Seaton inadvertently trespasses on Tyler Edward’s land, things almost go very, very wrong. It’s bad enough that Dan’s a runaway, but when Tyler nearly shoots him on sight, Dan knows he’s in trouble. Tyler’s got a lot of years under his belt, and his past doesn’t let him accept strangers easily. Dan’s situation is dire enough that Tyler takes him home, at least for a little while, and that turns out to be a good decision when Dan decides to stay on and help out with the chores. Tyler might be learning to trust, and Dan might be settling in to a new life, but things are not always what they seem. Between interfering friends, injuries, and their attraction to each other, Tyler and Dan have plenty of troubles. More trouble turns up in the form of Tyler’s past, which catches up to them with a vengeance, and they decide to start a new life together, one that requires them to leave everything behind. Can they overcome what lies in the past to have a future with each other?
Wild Raspberries is not as angst filled as I expected due to the blurb, but it is character driven so the two men spend a lot of time together avoiding talking. Here Dan is a runaway that happens to stumble hungry and filthy onto Tyler’s land. Tyler, an ex-sniper with a twitchy trigger finger, barely stops himself from shooting Dan but soon discovers the young man too exhausted to move on. Tyler decides to help the younger man and offer him food and a place to stay for a while. This causes their unwitting attraction to soon sparks in close quarters. However, Dan is still pretty immature and Tyler is very jumpy from his previous job so a happy ending takes a bit of work to get to. The journey is interesting and absorbing for the most part though.
The characters are well developed and fully three dimensional, even if I didn’t always like them. Dan is a very young twenty and he often struggles with his instinctive pouting responses versus more mature reactions. He frequently pouts and runs away as a response rather than hold a conversation and be an adult. Not to say that he hasn’t had a difficult upbringing and coming to terms with his sexuality was always easy, but he clings to his youth and immaturity a little long. Offset by this is Tyler’s emotionally closed off personality. Due to his past, he rarely confides and has no idea how to have a relationship with someone. He can offer quick release or a helping hand, but he has a problem with anything more complex and resembling commitment. Thus the two men are often combative and misunderstand each other. They both want to be together but it takes a while for each to admit it. Tyler especially can’t imagine a younger man like Dan wanting to stay with him. To his credit, Dan does seem to want to stay with Tyler because it’s easy and Tyler is the first man to really care for Dan.
Since the story is almost completely about the two men and their relationship, the few actions scenes mostly comprise of Dan running away and Tyler chasing him. Dan’s immaturity stretched my patience and Tyler’s endless ability to handle Dan’s attitude is almost saint like. However, Dan does get Tyler to open up and share more in small bits. Their sexual relationship is the easiest aspect of their relationship and other than a few concerns, the age difference is never really considered. Tyler does worry Dan will leave but this is not an immediate fear. There are a few outside sources that offer advice or commentary but for the vast majority of the book, the two men are in a very small cabin working out how to live together. By the end of the book Tyler is perhaps the most changed and it’d be interesting to see if the couple stayed together. There is a happy for now ending that is fitting but not sure I believe it.
Overall I was invested in the book and wanted to see the outcome, even as some of the antics ran a little long. I wanted Dan to mature and stop acting like a child – especially given his experiences I was surprised he was still so immature. Tyler handled this well and became a more sympathetic character in some ways, even as his own issues took a while to get resolved. I can suggest this story for those that like drama and angst even as it doesn’t overwhelm the characters. I’m not sure I’ll read the sequel but I’m thinking about it. If you’re looking for a quick, engrossing read about character development, check this out.
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