I'm a little (okay, a lot) late with this review, seeing how this was published in early November, but life gets in the way so I'm playing catch-up.
This is the 3rd book in The Walker Boys series, which are all part of the overall Dreamspun Desires umbrella, but can be read entirely as a standalone.
Devin Walker wants to be a chef, but is currently working on the Poseidon, a cruise ship, as a bartender. He flirts innocently with the guests, and bides his time until a position becomes open that will allow him to get into the kitchen.
Paul Bailey is on the ship as part of his training to take over the cruise ship company as its heir, but he's incognito, pretending to be just one of the company execs, and there's only one person on the ship who knows his real identity. He's given Devin as a guide while on board, so he can inconspicuously visit in the areas that are for employees only.
Paul has another secret - he lost his leg in a car accident and believes that he really isn't attractive to anyone anymore because of that.
Devin makes it his mission to show the exec a good time, while also giving him a tour of the ship, as well as enticing the quiet man to enjoy exploring the ports in which they stop.
Romance ensues, obviously. I really liked the characters - they were opposites in some ways, but both were complex and nuanced. I enjoyed getting to know them both, and I definitely enjoyed Devin's efforts to pull Paul out of his shell. The descriptions of the tropical locales were well done, and I had no trouble at all envisioning the beauty of these islands. With close proximity, what with being on a ship, comes a relationship that burns brightly from the start, even if Paul hesitates to open his heart again. But Devin is persistent, giving him room to make choices, gently encouraging Paul to trust. I really enjoyed watching their budding relationship bloom.
As with all secrets - eventually they come out, and as Devin finds out just who Paul really is, and his manager sticking her nose where it really doesn't belong, he runs. It's not so much a big misunderstanding as it is Devin not wanting to be anyone's toy. Being lied to breaks the fragile relationship they have built so far, and I didn't blame the guy for tucking tail and going home to lick his wounds.
This is a romance, so obviously it doesn't end there. There's the expected grand gesture, and we get to visit with some of the characters from previous books in this series. I liked that the Walker family protected their own, and that the eventual reunion wasn't "forgive and forget".
There were a couple of things primarily around Paul's prosthetic leg that I questioned - walking on sand, getting it wet, that sort of stuff. I have zero experience with these things but I wondered whether the descriptions here were accurate.
I enjoyed reading this book. It's the kind of book you want to pick up to spend a few quiet hours sitting on your back porch and enjoying your favorite drink. ** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **