Puzzle Me This (Second Edition)

Title: Puzzle Me This
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 120
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read book blurb here

This love story between crossword puzzle author Alex and game designer Luke starts with a definitely "cute meet" as Luke figures out Alex is leaving love notes for him within the daily crossword puzzle. Luke is at the point in his life where he's ready to find a meaningful relationship and from the start he's surprised at how easy it is to be with Alex.
He liked Alex. He was intelligent and funny, seemed honest and kind, and they had a lot in common. [...] There was a brink-of-a-cliff momentousness to the situation with Alex that he'd never felt with a guy before.
Alex is equally gobsmacked by Luke:
In person, Luke was laid back, crazy funny, and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He was also hot. Not in a cover model sort of way, but in a boy-next-door, tinge-of-nerd, semi-slacker way. Which was perfect as far as Alex was concerned.
And before too long, it's hot blow jobs at a horror convention (Luke: "That was his definition of paradise right there") and a comfortable dating relationship with loads of sex and plenty of HorrorPack blu-ray viewing.

But the issue both need to deal with is Alex's wheelchair and what it represents. Alex has admirably dealt with his spina bifida birth defect and enjoys his independence. Luke has to deal with his fear of being stuck ... stuck not being able to share long mountain hikes with Alex but also afraid of hurting Alex. "What if I'm miserable then? And I couldn't leave because I would never want to cause him pain. [...] I'd never be able to hurt him. So then I'd be stuck."

Granted Luke is a bit of an asshat before finally coming to terms with his issues, but we get a frickin' sweet ending and epilogue that really leaves a nice feeling at the end of this novella. I like the heat and sweet between Alex and Luke and how we get both men's POV throughout, dislike the angst of Luke's issues but admire the way he finally figures it all out, and really enjoyed their story. 4 solid stars for "Puzzle Me This."

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