Newly single in his late twenties, and bored with his life in a London insurance company, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. Excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from a schooldays sports club, he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.
Dan’s first mistake is chatting online to the wrong man—Nick Carson isn’t one of the boys, but his brother. Nick isn’t offended and offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.
For Dan, the reunions with the “Gang of Four” range from startling and heartening to disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought long hidden. Dan begins to suspect he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.
Valerie Tibbs, Tibbs Design
London Lads, book 1
87 e-book pages
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Road trips, reunions with childhood friends, self-discovery and finding love (or the start of it) along the way — these are a few of the ingredients that make up the kind of stories I love to nestle into on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
While the premise was totally and completely intriguing, Chase the Ace never seemed to make much sense to me. Parts of me enjoyed parts of it, but there were parts that just didn’t seem to add up and didn’t feel very cohesive.
Alice, Daniel’s “well-meaning” sister, set my teeth on edge from the very start. Her appearances and grating naggery were relatively sporadic, but she was like that housefly you can never seem to swat, that goes into hiding but will be back any time to buzz your ear and land on a plate of cookies. I couldn’t see the point of her other than to question all of Daniels life choices and stamp his guilt trip tickets. Irksome, ya know? Especially when Daniel was doing a fine job of all that on his own.
Daniel is approaching 30, he’s thinking about where he’s been, where he’s going, what everyone else is up to and so forth, okay — good. But, the timing of the book felt off for me. I don’t think the year was ever stated, so I carried the assumption that it takes place in the very recent past. So what niggled with me was his discovery of Social Media. At 29. In the 21st century. In the Two Thousand Teens, presumptively. Where has this guy been? To be fair, I know a 45 year old man who still insists that computers are a fad, so what do I know.
Then, too, this was very much a wild goose chase as Daniel and Nick bounce around England, showing up out of the blue, uninvited, on the thresholds of folks he hadn’t seen in fifteen years — whom he’d only known from one summer at a day camp. That…ended up feeling stalkery and outright odd. WHO DOES THAT? Catching up with old friends is cool…just plan it if everyone is game, ya know? Make it a group thing to get the gang back together again over a few pints. So, what I thought would be an interesting road-trip journey ended up feeling kinda creepy. Because if that one chick from band camp ever showed up at my front door on some random afternoon? Ummm….we’d have problems. (I never went to band camp. I went to other camps. Same reaction would apply.)
Then the romance. I will say that it was mostly the sort of tentative start that I like, where attraction is sort of evident and they’re all cute about trying not to be obvious, acting all shy and whatnot, trying not to say stupid stuff. Adorbs, okay? I LOVE that. But. For Daniel’s journey, Nick wasn’t necessary. He was a tagalong. Someone he’d just met face-to-face after a case of mistaken identity (lying!) on the interwebs. So as cute as they were together, what started off as weird stayed weird for me over the course of the few days they spent together.
I’m not convinced Daniel found what he was looking for in the meet-ups with the old “Gang of Four” pals. His eyes were definitely opened to the variety of paths life can take, and maybe he found some peace within his own restless self. And, of course, there’s a guy he’s interested in exploring a relationship with now. That’s something. But, there was an imbalance with the lack of information presented about these blokes when they were teenagers for me to care much about where they are now as adults. And, as adults, they’re so so so different that I didn’t feel the reconnections were something that would stick for friendship everlasting.
So maybe the important takeaway was Daniel’s self-discovery, how glimpsing at a few lives of friends he once had reshapes how he feels about himself and his own path. Opens his eyes to what life might be like if he loosens some reins, opens his heart, takes a chance on love.
Maybe that’s it.
But maybe I was hoping for a little bit more.
About the Author:
Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!
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