Adverse Conditions, Reclaimed Hearts #1 by Elle Keaton

Cooper Springs may be a small town, but Xavier has high hopes for the future of his hometown if he can get his sexy neighbor that does the property appraisals to help and not hinder him. Vincent may be a stickler when it comes to his job and his life, but he may be willing to loosen up for Xavier if given the chance. Small town gossip and a possible local murder will not stop these two men from finding happiness together. Adverse Conditions is the start of a new series by Elle Keaton.

From the blurb:

The town is worth saving, as long as conspiracy theorists, serial killers, and Vincent Barone all stay out of Xavier’s way.

Xavier swore he’d never move back to the flyspeck of a town he’d grown up in and he kept that
promise for over twenty years. Now he's back for good.

Vincent never left. After earning his teaching certificate, he stayed in town to be close to his elderly parents. These days he’s the single dad of a fifteen-year-old daughter and working two jobs to make ends meet. He's perfectly happy with his life.

Xavier's mission is to save Cooper Springs. But his efforts are being hindered by his stodgy, straight-laced, rule-following neighbor, Vincent Barone. Dark-eyed, broad-shouldered, and muscly Vincent, who Xav stealthily ogles when he toils in his yard sans shirt. For a high school shop teacher, Vincent is too sexy. And he has a kid. And he infuriates Xavier. And anyway, love is for suckers.

Vincent doesn't have time to date. And he certainly wouldn’t date his flashy, arrogant, neighbor who he absolutely did not have a crush on in high school. Who did Xavier think he was, moving back to town and throwing his weight around, causing butterflies in Vincent's stomach, and making his stupid heart beat faster every time he saw him?

Cooper Springs has changed since they were kids, and maybe two guys can move from hate to love. But are they ready? Will Vincent bend a few of his rules? Will Xavier reign in his chaotic tendencies? Is love in the air?

Then there’s the matter of the grisly discovery in the woods, murder is bad for business.

Welcome to Cooper Springs, home to UFO chasers, Sasquatch believers, conspiracy theorists, chainsaw artists, and regular folk just trying to make a living. And, quite possibly, a killer.

Adverse Conditions is the first in the Reclaimed Hearts series, set in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, it is an opposites-attract, older lovers, silver fox, enemies to lovers, small-town romance, with a little murder.

SNik's Review:

First in series (Reclaimed Hearts). Mature main characters. Opposites attract. Dual POV. 

Realtor Xavier has returned to his small hometown and hopes to build the town back up to its former glory, if he can stop ogling his neighbor Vincent. Being a high school teacher and a single dad, Vincent also has a second job as a real estate appraiser and seems to always be annoying Xavier with his reports, but he just wants to be thorough and he can’t help crushing on the man he keeps antagonizing. 

Adverse Conditions is partly a build for the town’s characters and the series, with a slow building relationship between two men not looking for love but finding it anyway. Vincent is a rule follower whose priority is his daughter, and Xavier is a big dreamer who also knows how important family is. 

Both men are likable and have backgrounds that explain their motivations and hesitancy towards relationships, but I appreciated that Vincent embraced his first relationship with another man and did not hesitate in public or in private. 

A fun start to a new series where we get hints of many HEA’s to come in the small town of Cooper Springs.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Adverse Conditions is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.