Paul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she’s left him with a house he can’t afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he’s not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic. El Rozal doesn’t do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn’t apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself. Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There’s no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El’s line of work, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn’t mean second best. This title is part of the Tucker Springs universe.
Paul is a really sweet guy and beyond naive. That fact will probably bother a lot of readers, but I kind of found it endearing. I think it didn’t bother me so much because his naiveness was mostly because he had little or no self confidence. That self confidence was lacking in both his work life and his personal life. He was one of those characters that brought out the mom in me. He was loving, sweet and deserved so much more than he let himself have.
Then there was El. His family was a mess, but he loved and supported them as much as he could. He had a lot of friends and owned his own business. He was cool, self confident, funny and very, very lonely. He wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he was sure he didn’t want to fall for the straight guy who was still hopelessly in love with his ex-girlfriend. That’s where his heart was headed though and the more time he spent with Paul the harder it was to keep denying the inevitable.
Second Hand was a story of love and realization. Paul not only had to come to terms with the fact that he had been denying who he really was but he also had to realize that he was deserving of so much more than he gave himself credit for. El had some things to come to terms with himself. He put up a really good front, but his life was missing something and he had to risk getting hurt to let go and follow his heart.
There was also an unique aspect of Second Hand that is worth mentioning. The POV switched between El and Paul, which wasn’t unusual, but the way the authors handled it was. Paul’s voice was in 1st person but when it switched to El the voice changed to 3rd person. I’m not sure how other readers will feel about this but I kind of enjoyed it. It was different and kept me on my toes from a reading stand point.
Second Hand is the second book in the Tucker Springs series, but I think it does a pretty good job as a stand alone. The story was pretty predictable, but the witty dialog and the relationship between the characters and the supporting characters made up for it. The sex scenes were fairly explicit, which may not be for everyone, so consider yourself warned. I haven’t read anything from either one of these authors or any other books in the Tucker Springs series, but I might just have to check a few more of them out.