Review: Erin McLellan – Life On Pause

Author: Erin McLellan
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Mm Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.

Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.

Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.
Review: Niles has a lot of baggage. He’s living in his parents home and hasn’t done anything to make it his, even though his mother has passed away and his father is lost in the Neverland that comes from a bad stroke. He works at Bushyhead Homestead in Bison Hills and he has some insecurities and self-doubt that would fell an elephant. I mean, this guy has serious self esteem issues. He made me so sad sometimes, truly believing that he didn’t deserve anything. He let strangers use him, “…let it happen because he was so lonely and his skin ached for touch.” He has an amazing friend in Victor, which I was glad about, but that’s pretty much it. He’s on his own in a mire of self-loathing.

When he gets a flat tire, dressed in his homestead clothes, after a craptastic day at work, well, that just seems the icing on the cake. It is when a good Samaritan pulls over to help and it is the hipster god of his dreams, life just doesn’t work in Niles’ favor, now does it. But Rusty sees something in Niles, someone he’d like to get to know better.

For his part, Rusty lives in Bison Hills with his beloved sister and niece. He has a job he likes, other than the fact that he sees his ex-boyfriend, Todd, every day. He does the friend thing with Niles and has to be extra careful because of Niles’ self-esteem. Rusty tells a lie that of course comes back to bite them both and I felt bad for both of them. I could see why Rusty lied even if it wasn’t right and I could see why Niles was hurt by it.

I admit, Niles and Rusty sometimes gave me whiplash with their yes/no/yes on being together. Set against the backdrop of Bison Hills the two of them sometimes reminded me of little kids playing freeze tag. I understood why Rusty was so cautious in trying to catch Niles. I found myself often wishing Niles would just stop putting himself down so much. “I know I liked about ***, but maybe if you weren’t so insecure all the time, I wouldn’t have had to.” An excuse? Or a valid reason? I couldn’t decide.

The side characters here are worth a read on their own. Victor is incredible, supportive, loyal, sexy and funny. Rusty’s sister, Jackie, and niece, Margo, are what you’d want in a family. I liked all of them. Even Todd, the ex, wasn’t a villain and that was appreciated when I wanted to smack him.

I enjoyed this book even with the whiplash. And now if we could have Victor’s book that would be epic and lovely. Please?

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