I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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Work In Progress is the 2nd installment of the Belladonna Arms series, where love pollen hits even the ones who don't want to fall in love again, the ones who've been hurt and left.
Harlie Rose stumbles into the apartment building, drenched by what's apparently unusual rain in San Diego, and meets Arthur, who owns the building and dresses in drag. Arthur is a force of nature, and Harlie internal commentary had me howling in laughter before I was even two chapters in.
Then Harlie meets the other tenants, including Pete and Sylvia, Roger and Stanley (from book 1), Bruce and Charlie, the kleptos, and Ramon and ChiChi. The author cleverly introduces all the characters again, without making it feel like infodump, so this book can be read as a standalone just fine.
Harlie needs a job, and Sylvia knows just the place. Harlie takes one look at the baker in the restaurant where he's applying, and falls hard and fast. Except the baker, Milan, is grumpy and seemingly not interested.
Until he is. Hot romance ensues.
This is John Inman at his very best. It's humorous, it's romantic, and it's emotional. The sexy times are hot and sweet, and not one of them is superfluous. They all need to be there, to move the plot forward, to show how the romance is blooming and growing.
And there is heartache too. Not only are Harlie and Milan both still hurt by their former BFs, but things aren't well between Ramon and ChiChi. I sure hope that the next book gives Ramon a chance to find true love, and not the kind ChiChi gave him.
There are some subplots with Sylvia finally getting the plumbing she wants, and make her and Pete even happier.
Throughout it all there is also growth, especially for Harlie. I loved how the author made him a writer too, and how he took the "Work In Progress" concept and applied it not only to Harlie's novels, but also to Harlie's life, and that of others in the building. It drives home the point that we're ALL a work in progress, striving to be the best we can, but that we all move at our own pace, and that someone's changes may not apply to someone else.
This was wonderful. I giggled a lot, I howled with laughter at some of the zingers the author put all over this book, and I sniffled when the romantic scenes just took my breath away.
A wonderful addition. Highly recommended.
** I received a free ARC from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **