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Settling the Score [Paperback]

Christopher Koehler

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Book Description

16 Dec 2013

A CalPac Crew Novel

Stuart Cochrane and Philip Sundstrom make an unlikely pair. Philip’s brother, Brad, can’t imagine his brother with another man, let alone with the coxswain he razzed throughout his college rowing career. But somehow they settle into a relationship that works as Philip helps Stuart navigate the pressures of deciding between medical school and competing for a spot on the national rowing team. In turn, Stuart helps Philip with his problems at work, where he’s faced with a rebellious board of directors.

Yet soon enough, the pressures take their toll. Stuart comes to resent the easy way Philip spends money, while Philip worries about Stuart’s time commitments. He’ll do anything to come to the rescue, including spending his money to grease the rails for Stuart, but Stuart resents the rich so much it drives a wedge between them.

Then Stuart finds himself facing the greatest crisis of his life. There’s only one person he can turn to—but Philip has his own demons to battle in the form of his board trying to frame him for their own unethical actions. Will Philip be able to aid Stuart while he extricates himself from his board’s trap, or will his divided attention cost them both everything that matters?

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Want More - Right Now! 18 Dec 2013
By Andreams - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
What can I say about this novel? It’s wonderful, I love it, the writing is brilliant and the characters jump off the page and straight into your heart. Christopher Koehler, please write another book right now. I don’t even care what it’s about; I just want more of your writing.

The blurb does a good job of letting you know what the book is about but nothing can tell you how very good this book is. I've read the entire series; all books stand alone but are about related characters and this one is the best yet. That's saying a lot.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another homerun by Christopher Koehler and the CalPac Crew 26 Mar 2014
By Becky C - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Even when you have read and enjoyed every book in a series sometimes one pops up that just strikes you as a cut above and so it is with Settling the Score. Stewart is the cox’n of his crew and therefore is very small. Like jockeys size matters in the race and when you are not one of the guys pulling his weight in the race you need to be small.

Stuart has also had to work hard for everything he has and even for things that never did come his way. He doesn’t have money so his dream of going to medical school is much more difficult to achieve and involves going deeply into debt. Then into his live comes another problem, Philip Sundstrom.

Philip came from money but most of it was ill gotten and his father is in prison for it. Philip has carved out his own niche, right out from under his parents’ noses, and it is honest money that pays his way. However, his father’s friends on the board are set to oust Philip from his own company and Philip feels powerless to stop them. Can Stuart help Philip figure out a way out of this mess? And what about Philip’s brother Brad, a star crew coach? Is he tainted by dad’s chicanery?

I loved seeing how Mr. Koehler took Philip, a thoroughly unlikeable character previously in the series, from a cold, unsympathetic man to one you have to root for in this book. On the cover, that’s Philip playing with the little boy, but you don’t get to find out how this scene plays out or even who the little boy is until nearly the end of the book. Well played, Mr. Koehler.

This book is rock solid in its plot development and character building. I loved it. If you haven’t read the previous CalPac Crew books I highly recommend that you do before reading this one. However, even if you don’t, Mr. Koehler leaves enough breadcrumb trails that you can follow them out of the woods and into a crew boat to enjoy this book.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Addition to the CalPac Series 6 Feb 2014
By Xanlthorpe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good romance and character development. Interesting story line with a couple of plot elements that felt a bit too much. I would have preferred a different event in the last quarter, but won't leave any spoilers in this review. Probably OK without reading the previous books first because of the character development in this story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Men Go About Settling The Score The Hard Way 19 Jan 2014
By L. Horan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I was so looking forward to this book. I have loved Stuart since the first book, and I am so happy that he finally got his story. I was also happy to see Philip get a little bit of happy in his life.

Stuart has always been the smallest guy in the crowd. Not surprising since he hangs out with a bunch of rowers. He doesn’t have much money, and he has to work hard for everything he has. Stuart has just graduated from college and is getting ready to start Medical School. The very last thing he needs in his life is any complications. So, of course that is exactly what he gets with Philip Sundstrom.

Philip Sundstrom is a savvy businessman who did exactly what he had to do to save the family company after his father was sent to jail. Recently, he has realized that not all of his board members are happy with him at the helm of the company, and are plotting his downfall. After ending a relationship he thought may have been forever, he isn’t quite ready for Stuart when he enters his life, but he will be damned if he is going to turn him away.

These two men, Stuart and Philip, couldn’t be more different if they tried. Philip has worked his entire life to be successful. He is now a rich successful businessman, and he wants to do everything he can to make Stuart happy. Stuart, on the other hand, is scraping by after being thrown out of his family. He has very little money, and he can’t stand to be anyone’s charity case.

After one too many times of Philip “throwing his money around,” Stuart calls it quits and tries to restructure his world without Philip in it. Philip is heartbroken, but he has a company to save and can’t dwell on the loss. He ends up working himself into the ground and losing contact with the outside world, and he really couldn’t care less. Without Stuart, he doesn’t want to interact with the outside world anyway.

When tragedy strikes Stuart’s family Philip decides that he is going to be there for the man he loves whether he likes it or not. As much as Stuart hates to, he leans on Philip and lets him take over the situation. It turns out to be the very best thing he has ever done.

I loved this fourth book in the series. It is great to get a visit with all of my favorite characters from the previous books and to see the new relationship with Stuart and Philip. These two had enough issues between them for three books, but it was enjoyable to watch them work it all out. Stuart had to learn to take help when he needed it, and Philip had to learn to listen to Stuart’s wants and needs. Eventually the two will find a happy medium, but the road they traveled to get there was very entertaining.

I highly recommend this book and the entire series. Christopher Koehler has made me fall in love with rowing and all of the men that love it too.

Reviewed by Jackie for The Novel Approach Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read! 12 Jan 2014
By Carole "The Romance Reviews" - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Reviewed by Pat Henshaw

There may not be a right time to meet the perfect someone, but there's definitely a wrong one. Philip Sundstrom, whose father is in prison and whose company is facing a takeover, and Stuart Cochrane, just graduated from college and about to enter medical school, come together at what might be the wrong time in both their lives. But love overrides all outside forces.

When Philip finds out his girlfriend of three years whom he thought he would marry hasn't been faithful to him, he's stunned. Since he's bisexual and dreams of having sex with men, he decides to see if his dreams could possibly come true.

Meanwhile, Stuart, the coxswain in Koehler's CalPac Crew series of college rowers, is being pressured by his boyfriend/roommate to defer going to med school and spend a year in England. Not able to persuade his boyfriend that med school is his lifelong dream, Stuart breaks up with him and moves out.

Accidentally meeting at the grocery store where Stuart works, he and Philip hit it off and start dating. But both men have complications in their lives that could keep them apart. And dealing with those problems makes up the bulk of the story.

Both Stuart and Philip are interesting people who are neither all good or all bad. In fact, their human foibles are what make them more than cardboard cutouts. Both have family issues: Stuart was raised by fundamentalist parents who threw him out of the house when he told them he was gay. Philip's father had his other son's gay boyfriend brutally beaten nearly to death.

But while battered by their parents' actions, both men still retain a solid sense of family as Stuart tries to get his younger sister out of his parents' home and Philip works to restore the bonds between him and his younger brother. Both find that keeping the resentments and bitterness at bay, staying alert and productive in school and at work, and starting what could be a lifelong relationship strain their time and their patience.

A mirror of life itself, Christopher Koehler's story deftly illustrates just how precarious juggling personal, professional, and family lives can be. Dropping one piece sends ripples through not just the lives of the two main characters but through the lives of all those they love. True love, Koehler's book says so adeptly, doesn't just happen; it must be worked for.
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