For What It's Worth

Thursday, October 26, 2017

review: tender with a twist (rainbow cove #2) by annabeth albert

35913152One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers. ~

Source: Kindle Unlimited (it will be available on KU for the first 90 days of publication)

I’m such a fan of Annabeth Albert’s romances. She’s an auto-buy author for me but I have to be honest and say I haven’t enjoy the last few books I’ve read by her. Specifically– the last 2 in the Out of Uniform series and when I saw that Tender with a Twist had BDSM elements (pain, D/s)– not my thing at all so I was wary. 

The only reason I grabbed it is because it was on KU and I figured I could just bail if I wasn’t enjoying it. I’m SO glad I gave it a try because I adored this one.

Curtis and Logan agree to a BDSM arrangement where Logan can safely explore his dominate side. He's a smaller man that likes to dominate larger men and that hasn't gone well for him in the past. While Curtis can give into the submission he craves and had with his former lover who died a few years ago. No strings attached.

Yes, there’s kink, and I don’t usually enjoy reading about it but there are so many layers to their relationship so that this isn’t all about the bedroom scenes but they do in fact play a roll in revealing more about the characters so I actually ended up loving that aspect of the story.

There’s a tenderness between the two, even during their D/s scenes, that helps Mr. Crankypants Woodcarver, Curtis, heal under Logan’s bright personality and tender care.

Another thing I loved about this book is that while Logan and Curtis’s friends and family love them dearly – they weren’t always kind in the ways they chose to support the men. Logan's parents made me SO angry and Curtis's friends barbs about moving on especially with a younger man, cut deeply - even though all of it was meant to protect them and came from a place of love.

Why did I like that? Because I think it’s real. I love supportive friends and family in books but let’s face it – in real life advice doesn’t always come from an objective place. People have their own baggage and motivations when they try to *help*. 

While Curtis and Logan were affected by well meaning comments and advice that threatened to derail their blossoming relationship, they learn how to navigate it and do what felt right for them and I loved watching as the two men learned to find their own voices but still leave room to heal their relationships with the others. I think that kind of thing is a helpful example in how to navigate toxic  family and friendships.

This story was filled with love and emotion and was surprisingly low on the angst. I loved the first book in the series, Trust with a Chaser, as well. You can read each as stand alone but I do recommend the series.


  1. Sounds great. Like you, I don’t usually enjoy pure BDSM or reads that focus mostly on that. It sometimes turns me off. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, Karen, and it turned out emotionally deeper. I enjoyed those kinda of books. Thanks for sharing. Awesome review. I’ll check out this book and the author. 😁❤️

    1. My favorite kinky-ish author is Cara McKenna. I think you would like her a lot.

  2. Interesting! I haven't read anything by this author, but you have piqued my interest. I'm not big on kinky/BDSM books (romance with sexy scenes, yes, definitely), which is why I had a hard time with Fifty Shades of Grey. This sounds different, though.

    Lovely review. :)

    1. She writes M/M romance. Most aren't BDSM but I love her romances and this one just worked for me. There was a lot of emotion between them - even during the steamier scenes.

  3. I still need to read both of these! I do love this author. I don't really mind BDSM/kinky books but it can't be the sole focus. I want a story apart from that, and I have to really like the characters. That sounds like the case here!


    1. You haven't read this series yet Lauren?? You will love it!

  4. I must read this and find out more about "Mr. Crankypants Woodcarver" once I'm finished up with horror October.

  5. I can not stop staring at that beard

  6. I love Albert's series. Her military one is pretty good too.

  7. This sounds like a really good read! Not my normal kind of book, but I'll admit it's caught my attention. I may have to check it out!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  8. Yes! I agree with your review. I am not typically a fan of BDSM, either. Though depending on the author, I can enjoy the read. Annabeth Albert did it so wonderfully and made it an essential part of the story. I loved Logan and Curtis.

    Great review!