Nick Henderson is a junior in college, taking a break from his studies at Rutgers. He’s arranged to live in his best friend’s family’s summer house on the Jersey Shore during the off-season and also take classes at a local community college. One night, Nick drops into Martelli’s Pizzaria, a local joint, and meets the attractive Lou Martelli, youngest son of the family and dedicated pizza chef.
Nick thinks he and Lou strike a spark, but Nick’s not sure if Lou feels the same. Or, if he’s even gay. A few more stops for food assure Nick that Lou is interested in dating. He wants to go slow, and Nick thinks that’s great, but he’s nervous that Lou is so settled, as Nick’s plans for Jersey Shore life expire when winter ends. Still, that’s months away and he won’t shut Lou down.
Then Hurricane Sandy hits and wipes the boardwalk and Nick’s winter rental into the Atlantic. Lou takes Nick in during the evacuation, but Nick’s unsure how long he should stay in Lou’s tiny apartment over the pizza shop. It doesn’t help that Lou is really stressed out, and Nick’s father is pressuring him to return to Rutgers for the winter term.
I liked this New Adult romance. Nick is a decent guy in some difficult situations. He’s unhappy with his college major–heavily influenced by his demanding father’s advice. He likes Lou a lot, but their easy camaraderie is dissipating under the weight of family pressures, school pressures, and sudden co-habitation. Nick is sure Lou wants him to leave, but is too polite to ask. The story seemed very realistic, and the added destruction of Hurricane Sandy gave extenuating circumstances that pushed Nick and Lou both together–and apart. They originally do get along great, but small slights and larger insecurities keep Nick from being honest with Lou about his tenuous finances and his desire to stay, even when his father–and his instincts–are telling him to go.
There is a nice amount of sexytimes and some enjoyable side characters who help Nick make good choices. Lou is a good guy facing his own pressures. His family has gotten complacent, pushing more and more responsibility onto him, and his frustration overruns his relationships. I liked how he was there for Nick and everyone. His self-sacrificing nature is endearing, and I loved how Nick and Lou worked everything out in the end. It’s a satisfying HEA for these guys.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.