New Tricks Book Cover New Tricks
Andrew Grey
M/M Romance
Dreamspinner Press
December 11, 2018
202

In matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as business as usual.

Thomas Stepford spent years building a very successful business and now at thirty-nine, he wants a quieter life. With his parents needing help, he decides to return home. He can’t get away from business completely and needs an assistant—but the man who is hired isn’t quite what he had in mind.

Brandon Wilson, the ink on his degree barely dry, needs a job, and his mother helps him get one as Mr. Stepford’s assistant. Thomas doesn’t seem to remember, but Brandon worked mowing the stunningly attractive older man’s lawn years ago. Thomas was Brandon’s teenage fantasy, and now he’s Brandon’s boss.

Thomas and Brandon are both determined to keep their relationship strictly business, but the old attraction is still there. They learn to work together even as the tension between them reaches the boiling point. But just as they start to surrender, Thomas’s old life in New York calls him. Even if he resists that pull, can their newfound relationship survive when Brandon receives the call of his dreams... from Hollywood?

Reviewed by: Ulysses Dietz

Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team

“Love doesn’t just plop in your lap like some saloon hooker in an old Western.”

Every inch the classic m/m romance, New Tricks presents us with an age-gap duo and a teenage fantasy come true. Brandon has dreamed of Thomas since he was fifteen and first saw the young entrepreneur shirtless when he mowed his lawn in Colorado Springs. Thomas, on his side, left Colorado for New York and expanded his business into a corporate powerhouse, developing commercial real estate and amassing millions with his best friend Blaze.

Looming middle age (i.e. 40 in this universe) and accumulated stress moves Thomas to return to his hometown, both to be with his aging parents, and to achieve something closer to quietness than he’s known in a long time. When he discovers that his new assistant is none other than the cute teenager he vaguely remembers from his own younger years, the one who mowed his lawn way back when, he is thrown into a brief midlife crisis. This is both because of Brandon’s youth, but also from the scars – literal and figurative – that another workplace romance has caused.

This is not a high-angst romance, and that’s fine with me. This is about two men who are drawn to each other in spite of a significant age gap between them. The elder has achieved his dreams but finds himself still missing something. The younger has yet to attain his dreams and is torn because of his genuine love for his employer.

Both Brandon and Thomas are appealing characters, and in spite of their complications, not terribly complicated. Ironically, Thomas is close to his parents, who embraced his gayness without question, while the much younger Brandon has been rejected by his parents and has turned to his grandmother for the shelter and support he needs.

Ultimately, the undergirding story here is that things change, lives change, and everyone must figure out how they will face change when it presents itself. Nobody knows where life will take them, even with the most carefully laid-out plans.

There’s a lot of love to go around in this classic story, and Grey delivers it with his usual aplomb and gentle hand.