The Way Back

The Way Back

Carter Quinn

How dangerous is it to love two competitive brothers? Riley Evans finds out in Quinn’s debut novel, a heady romp set in contemporary Kansas.

When Riley meets brothers Eric and Jason, he falls head over heels for Eric, only to have the guy dump him. Fortunately, Jason was around to help Riley get himself together, and they’ve been friends ever since.

Six years later, just when it looks like they might be veering toward heavy duty romance, however, a contrite Eric returns, asking Riley for another chance. Riley, who hasn’t let anyone get close to him since Eric, isn’t sure what to do. Will Jason wait while Riley hangs out with Eric to see if they were meant to be?

On the surface, Quinn’s romance is a simple, straight-forward story that’s been told and retold. But in Quinn’s hands, the plot becomes so much more, all because of the three characters who can make or break it.

Riley is a well-meaning young man whose goal in life is always to do the right thing and not to hurt anyone. He’s the kind of person who looks for the good in people – often seeing only the good and becoming blind to their faults. Consequently, he’s so easy-going that others sometimes take advantage of him.

Competitive Eric doesn’t really know what he wants out of life, but he does know that he doesn’t want his brother Jason to have it. When he sees Riley and Jason together, he realizes he made a mistake. Since he knew how much Riley loved him, Eric is confident he can get him back again.

Jason, for his part, loves Riley for who he is but doesn’t want to share him with Eric. On the surface Jason is strong and tough, but with a vulnerable streak that only Eric can see and exploit.

Riley and Jason are easy to like and befriend, and are rare finds in real life. The more difficult and more common Eric is the guy who never grew out of high school, the guy who’s always chasing something better, never satisfied with what he has. While Quinn writes the three in broad strokes, he hones them with personal quirks and attitudes that make them stand out as individuals.

The Way Back is a little story done very, very well by a novice writer. It promises good romance reading for years to come. In fact, I can’t wait to read Quinn’s next, Avery.