I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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J.L. Merrow is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors.
I loved how very British this book was, especially the Brit-Speak. Set for the most part on the Isle of Wight, we meet Michael who's visiting the island with his current girlfriend, Trix, and gets shoved off the pier when she proposes and he wants to break up. Sopping wet and cold, Michael emerges from the sea in front of Rufus, a young gay man who thinks he's been giving his birthday wish.
Rufus takes Michael home and gives him dry clothes and more. Much more.
But Michael is an arrogant arse who only thinks of himself, and he's not keen on falling into a relationship with Rufus, but while he's on the island, he may as well have some fun, right? I wanted to slap Michael more than once when he takes advantage of Rufus' good-hearted nature. See, Michael still lives with his mum, and he thinks the sun and moon shine out of his arse, whereas Rufus is still young and naive, and only believes the best of people.
Rufus is a really sweet guy, much too good for the likes of Michael. He works at the local B&B, owned by his Dad and step-mom, cooks and cleans and would like to be a Chef, but can't leave the island, for reasons.
Rufus also has a very good friend on the island, Liz, who also has a kid. They hang out a lot, and Liz tries to help Rufus after things go south with Michael. She's totally kick-ass, and I loved her.
There were lots of humorous moments with dear old dad who foils Michael time and again, and scenes that tugged at my heart, especially when it came to Shelley who everyone thinks is ditzy, but she's not.
I really liked how the author created multi-dimensional characters that at first seem not dimensional at all, but as you peel back the layers, and get further into the story, you see that not all is as it initially seems, and that there's depth to the characters you didn't expect. Michael eventually redeems himself, and Rufus' naivete and kind heart oddly enough helps them both along to their happy ending.
Ultimately, Rufus is the stronger of the two, and both men come clean. The ending was lovely, and the epilogue gave a glimpse into the future.
Well done, indeed.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **