I’ve pretty much been squeezing every Cardeno C. book I can into my reading schedule lately. My love for this author all started with this rock star romance. Walk With Me is the third book I’ve read by him/her in the last several weeks, and in my opinion, the best.
So I was a serious guy who had never seriously fallen for anyone. And then Eli ran up.
He was holding a skateboard.
His hair was too long.
His jeans were too fitted.
His shirt was nonexistent.
He was my boss’s son.
He was way too young.
And he was a he.
This quote begins the love story of Seth Cohen and Eli Block. Seth arrives as the new associate rabbi joining a congregation headed by Eli’s father, Avi. When Eli walks into the room he’s all hormones and exuberance wrapped up in a very appealing package. He starts in with teasing and flirting and Seth doesn’t quite know what to make of him or his parents exasperated acceptance of his obvious sexual preferences. Seth is attracted, very attracted, but knows that nothing can come of it, besides he’s straight. So after assuring Eli that he’s not interested and nothing will ever develop between them they fall into an easy friendship.
Eli Block first saw the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with at summer camp. Seth was a counselor and the much younger Eli was entranced from the first moment he saw him bending over, wet from the lake, helping to unload luggage. When Seth comes back in his life he pretty much throws himself at the new rabbi, but after a while he realizes he’s making Seth uncomfortable. Because he’d rather have Seth as a friend then not at all, he puts his flirting aside and tries to focus on being the best friend Seth could ever want or need.
My love for a good angsty read aside, I’ve found that the thing I like best about Cardeno C.’s stories is that the couples easily connect and have wonderful chemistry. Walk With Me spans many years and is told in alternating POVs so readers are taken along for the ride as this couple slowly form a deep friendship and intimacy, then eventually fall into a passionate love affair. Seth is straight-laced and laid back while Eli is animated, cheerful and full of life. When they meet Eli is just leaving for college and Seth sees him as much too young for him, but over the course of their long friendship Seth comes to terms with his bisexuality and what that means for his future and Eli tries to date other men and settle for just friendship from the man he wants so much, but all the while they are growing closer and closer to the point where everyone around them can see how much they mean to each other. It’s just a matter of them figuring it out.
This book touched me. I’m not sure if it was the sweet friendship, the sense that these two were meant for each other or the fact that their families and friends were so supportive and loving, but I was all in almost from the moment I read the first page. The wedding announcements that preface each chapter were amusing and I adored how the author used them to inject humor and set the theme throughout the book. The only complaint I have, and it’s a small one, is that I would have liked a scene with Seth and Eli the first time they had full on sex. There are some very nice love scenes, but the first scene where they “go all the way” is after they’ve been with each other a while and have developed a comfortable sexual relationship. That disappointed me. The ending though… the ending made up for it. What a perfect way to end this couple’s journey together. Let me correct myself, what a perfect way to BEGIN this couple’s journey together.
Walk With Me is the seventh book in the Home series, but can easily be read as a stand-a-lone. I haven’t read the rest of the series and I had no problem following along. If the thought of reading through the whole series to get to this one feels a bit daunting, I thinks it’s safe to just skip ahead and pick this one up. Final Grade- B+
“Do I look okay?” he asked, combing his hand along the sides and back of his hair. “You’re looking at me funny.”
You’re beautiful. That’s why I’m staring. You’re so beautiful I never want to stop looking at you, I thought.
“You look nice,” I said.