Puzzle Me This
Title : Puzzle Me This
Author : Eli Easton
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Mystery/Suspense
Length : 88 pages (e-book)
Published : October 2, 2013
Rating : ★★★★1/2
Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching.
The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper.
When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?
Luke Shumaker is a game designer living in State College, Pennsylvania. He enjoys his life. He can work from home, live in a place he loves (just far enough away from his family to maintain some privacy) and go hiking everyday with his dog Trevor. One morning he returns from a walk and finds a newspaper leaning against the door of his apartment. It is the Philadelphia Examiner and he is sure it is not his. Once he determines that it is not his neighbor’s, he decides to enjoy reading the paper over breakfast. He comes across the crossword puzzle in the entertainment section and solves it before moving on to his work for the day. Luke had noticed something while completing the puzzle and goes back to look it over. What he finds is a hidden message seemingly directed at him. The next morning, he finds another paper waiting at his door. This time he goes directly to the crossword puzzle and finds another message hidden in the answers for him. He is both a little concerned but also very intrigued. He has no clue who might be sending these and starts searching for answers. After calling the paper and compiling a list of possible suspects, Luke decides to check the two places he frequents in town; Diggits, the coffee shop, and Chumley’s, a gay bar, to see if it may be someone he has met there. Not really planning on it, Luke hooks up with a guy at the bar and takes him home. It is not until Monday that he finds another message in the crossword mentioning his hook up. At this point Luke is finding it just a bit creepy because now he knows he is being watched. Then he gets a lead on how to contact the crossword puzzle designer and a meeting is planned.
Alex Shaw has been watching Luke from his apartment window. He is shy and uncertain about how to go about introducing himself to Luke. He knows Luke is a game designer and since he designs crossword puzzles, he thinks it might be a unique way to get his attention. Alex is also in a wheelchair. He has a birth defect that affects him from mid thigh down and he is afraid of being rejected.
Alex and Luke eventually meet and realize they have a lot in common and really enjoy each other’s company. Both the men have a great sense of humor and the dialogue between them is witty and playful. They both enjoy hiking and Alex and Luke take the rail trails (trails that accommodate wheel chairs) together. Alex tells Luke he is afraid that he will not want to remain in a relationship with someone in a wheel chair. Luke is reassuring and everything is going well until Luke meets Alex’s sister. She is very protective of Alex and warns Luke to be careful. If he is not really committed to the relationship, she does not want him to break her brother’s heart. Luke takes this into consideration. When things happen with his job that takes him back to San Francisco, he leaves with things unsettled between him and Alex. He is wondering if this is the relationship he wants, or can, commit to. Is what he’s feeling for Alex love? While Luke is trying to make up his mind, Alex decides to break things off before his heart can be broken any worse. Will they get back together? Does Luke figure it out before it’s too late? Will Alex even take him back? Well, you just have to read the book.
The story maintains the light humor and sexy fun while dealing with a relationship that involves some serious considerations. Alex is such a strong sweet character and is easy to like. Luke is a bit shallow in the beginning but he is really trying to seriously look at what a relationship with Alex will be like.
I thought the story portrayed the relationship well. It seemed a little stalkerish in the beginning but that was addressed once they meet. I loved seeing Luke come to his decision and what he does after that. It is a sweet story with sexy moments, humor and a “hand me a tissue” ending. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rated 4.5 stars by Deb