Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Counting on you (Counting #3) by Kelly Jensen - Release Day Review

91 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

The Counting series:
1. Counting Fence Posts
1.5. Counting Stars
2. Counting Down
2.5. Counting the Days
3. Counting on You

Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington DC might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.

Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?


Before I get into my review of Counting on You I need to write a sentence or two about Counting the Days, the short story taking place after Counting Down and before this new book.

The full story in Counting the Days is told in text messages between Marc and Henry because they constantly find themselves working in a place where the other isn’t, and it’s perfect (the way the story is told, not their separation). Their texts cover the whole spectrum from chatty, through cute, via uncertain, to sexy and at times downright dirty. It was without a doubt the most fun short story I have read recently and despite the fact that the format didn’t allow for anything except dialogue, or maybe because it was constructed that way, I truly felt I had gotten to know both Marc and Henry a lot better by the time they sent their last message. It was 64 pages of pure reading joy.

And now for Counting on You.

It has taken two disastrous dates, perilous (and hilariously funny) situations as well as two months of barely seeing each other at all, but at long last Marc and Henry are sent on a job together, giving them the opportunity to spend more than just a few hours together. It should have been the answer to all their prayers but of course, life is rarely that easy or perfect.

Collaborating in work may be easy for them, the whole relationship thing is still new enough to cause a few ripples. Especially since Henry still hasn’t been able to convince himself that he is more than an experiment for Marc. I have to admit this made me want to shake him once or twice.

“(…) the easiest way not to think was to kiss Marc. To just be with Marc. He had the feeling that the same proved true for the man he was kissing. Each met a need in the other. Separately they were good. Together they were whole.”

Counting on You is mostly a feel-good story with minimal angst. But, that didn’t mean my heart didn’t break for Marc more than once while reading. The moment that hit me hardest came towards the end of the story when we are presented with evidence that there was a time when his father still took joy and pride in Marc. It isn’t stated, but I imagined that was before Marc grew up and learned to think and live for himself; for me it was clear proof of conditional love.

Of course, this wouldn’t have been a ‘Counting’ story if our lovers didn’t manage to get themselves stuck somewhere. And, like on previous occasions, their dilemma meant huge grins for me as a reader.

All in all this was a wonderful conclusion (for now) to a series of stories about two men I’ve loved from the start and only grew fonder of as the story continued. I’m so glad that Kelly Jensen has hinted at more stories about these two. If only because there must be one or two places or situations they haven’t managed to get stuck in yet. J

“Yep. Stuck together is very, very good.”

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