Title: Elements of Retrofit
Author: N.R. Walker
Series: Thomas Elkin
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: 08-04-2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 124
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?
A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his fortieth birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thinks he knows everything about architecture, about life.
Cooper Jones, twenty-two years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.
Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.
I’ve been meaning to start this series for a while now, and I’m glad I finally did. Because Walker has the ability to get you attached to her characters and make you root for them.
Expensive. Polished. Predictable.
Those words just about summed me up.
Those words sum up Thomas Elkin. Successful, in his element, he’s an expert in his field. Everything is going for him, except his lovelife. Then Cooper comes along and that changes for the better. Their story is refreshing. Because there’s really nothing overly complicated about it, and because it’s fun even though they will definitely have issues that will become obstacles in their relationship.
There’s a lot of boxes this novella ticked:
– Office Romance.
– Fucked up power dynamic (as in both have an equal footing – though their job positions don’t suggest that- and it’s fucked up that that’s not the “normal” dynamic between characters typically).
– Going for what you want.
– Secrecy and fooling around.
Of course, these are all also potential issues they will have to move past.
Cooper’s age, being half of Tom’s 44 is going to be problematic going forward. He’s his son’s age, and he went to high school with him. There isn’t just an age gap, when the difference in age is 22 years – it’s a generation gap. And although they’re kind of great together, and you can see their chemistry, it’s a big obstacle whether they like it or not that can’t be ignored.
“I’m not sure if once would be enough.”
While Tom has his doubts about starting a relationship with someone that much younger, and working as an intern at his company, I love how Cooper handles the situation. He isn’t afraid to go for what he wants, and that’s great to read. I’m glad Tom is able to put it aside for someone who obviously makes him happy though. I was worried alongside Tom, what if Cooper changed his mind? What if he broke Tom’s heart?
I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to want him. I didn’t want to like it. I didn’t want to need it.
But I did.
It didn’t make me less worried for them. One is still in his 20s which is a time in one’s life where you’re still figuring yourself out, although Cooper is very definitely someone who knows what they want and have a clear idea of what they’re working for.
The more I tried to ignore it, the worse it seemed to get.
It was all suggestive glances, shy blushes and licking lips.
So far these two were able to explore their relationship in the safety of their homes, and we haven’t seen the reactions that those around them will have. Because everyone has an opinion, and feels they have a right to dictate how you live your life. That’s why I’m most definitely looking forward to the next book where Walker explores the family’s reactions.
I really liked Cooper’s POV epilogue. I’m always curious on how the counterpart to the protagonist has felt in this case, by rather than going back and forth, Walker made an interesting choice by just giving Cooper the epilogue. It was one of the book’s highlights.
“We’re like a retrofit project, making the older, classic style integrate with the modern. When everyone says we probably shouldn’t gel, we just seem to work.”
There’s a lot that can go wrong. Many opportunities for this to become one huge mess, that will cause unnecessary drama and had it been a longer book it would have been made longer and exaggerated. Tom makes a mistake, but Cooper calls him out on it and they talk and they move past it (though not for leaving the other sweating for a few days). Its shortness, and Walker’s ability to not overdo it – made it so much better.