Title: There’s Something About Ari by L.B. Gregg
Bluewater Bay Series Book Two
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 95 pages/Word Count: 25,000
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Buck Ellis’s future seems pretty damn bright. With a full college scholarship in hand, he’s going to ditch Bluewater Bay and pave the way for his kid brother Charlie to do the same. The only fly in Buck’s ointment is his ten-year addiction to his best friend since second grade, his true love, and his Achilles heel: Ari Valentine, Mr. Least Likely to Succeed.
But then Buck’s mother dies, changing everything, and five years later, his future is still on hold. It’s a struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and Charlie on the straight and narrow. Buck can’t afford any temptation, especially in the form of the newly returned, super hot, super confident, super successful television star Ari Valentine.
ADHD poster-child Ari Valentine left for Hollywood and lost everything, including his bad reputation. Then the breakthrough role of his skyrocketing career lands him back in Bluewater Bay, to the stunned disbelief of, well, everyone. But there’s only one person Ari longs to impress—the only person who ever really mattered to him, the person he left behind: Buck Ellis.
Fans of L.B. Gregg and the Bluewater Bay series are going to love There’s Something About Ari. This second installment in the series is a fast-paced and engaging novella that is quite engrossing. Intensely emotional, it is a very heartwarming and sometimes poignant second chance at love romance between two reunited friends.
Buck Ellis and Ari Valentine’s close childhood friendship abruptly ended when Ari left Baywater Bay just before their high school graduation. His departure coincided with Buck’s mother’s death and this double loss hit Buck hard as his future forever changed. Buck abandoned his college plans to care for his younger brother Charlie and while he gladly sacrificed his future for Charlie’s sake, Ari’s unexpected return brings a few regrets to the surface. While their lives have gone in very different directions, one thing still quickly becomes clear: Buck’s longtime attraction to Ari burns hotter than ever, but it remains to be seen whether he will find the courage to act on it.
Buck and Ari are absolutely wonderful characters and their pasts are absolutely heartbreaking. Ari’s childhood was incredibly dysfunctional due to his mother’s erratic behavior but he eventually triumphed over his chaotic past. Ari is finally at a good place in his life and he has mostly come to terms with the baggage from his past.
For the most part, Buck has made peace with a lot of his past as well, but he still harbors a lot of anger toward Ari. Barely keeping his head above water, Buck is still working the same job he did in high school and his dreams of college remain out of reach until Charlie is on his own. He has no desire to pick up where he and Ari left off, and his continued attraction to the seemingly unattainable Ari is definitely part of the reason why. A shocking revelation leads to a surprising encounter, but will Buck fully let Ari back into his life?
L.B. Gregg’s There’s Something About Ari is a short read, but the storyline and characters are fully developed. Written in first person from Buck’s perspective, readers fully experience his often turbulent emotions as he comes to terms with the changes in his life. It is the perfect contribution to the fabulous Bluewater Bay series and while it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the entire series.