Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Carson O’Shaughnessy finds himself in Florida, trying to track down his boss’ missing nephew Stassy and bring him back to Chicago. Carson figures he owes Stassy; after all, it was Carson’s kiss in the bar broom closet that sent Stassy running. While trying to track down Stassy, Carson meets Dale Arden at the local cafe. Dale offers to help Carson find Stassy and navigate the increasingly complicated problems cropping up, including the dead guy in Stassy’s hotel room.
It turns out the Dale might be exactly what Carson. Someone to lean on, someone whose bossiness helps Carson figure out some direction. Carson never thought he could have anyone like Dale in his life. But now that he has him, Carson must figure out if he can change his life and accept the happiness that Dale can bring him.
I just love Amy Lane’s writing and this story was really sweet and lovely. It is a bit different for this author, quite low on the Amy Lane Angst Meter. What we get here is a warm, comfortable story with just wonderful main characters who I loved, a little bit of a mystery, and a story that leaves you with an all over good feeling. Carson is a great POV character. Nothing is really wrong in Carson’s life, but it is all just not quite right. He works waiting tables at a bar and does stand up comedy, which is his true passion. His relationships seem to be for women, and his back room hooks ups are for men. He loves his city of Chicago and can’t imagine leaving it. But when he meets Dale, it becomes clear how much he is missing in his life — the love and the warmth and someone who really makes him happy.
For his part Dale is bossy and a bit of a free spirit. He hasn’t quite made much of his life either, but he is just where he wants to be. But everyone he falls for always seems to want more from him and from life, and Dale finds himself constantly left alone. And Carson so much wants to be that guy for Dale, the one who stays and becomes part of his life for good. He just needs to figure out how to make a break from his old life, how to take a chance on starting new.
The tone of this story is a lot of fun. A bit quirky and odd ball, which I liked a lot. From the crazy parrot owning hotel manager, to the alligators that live on Dale’s front lawn, to the mystery of what is really going on in and around the local hotel, it had just the right bit of humor to balance out the sweetness of the story.
I will say something left me just a tiny bit wanting here and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Like I just wanted the dial turned up a tiny bit here. I wish I could be clearer here, but I just wanted a bit more intensity, a little more of a sense of the emotions from these guys and what was drawing them together and what they were all about.
But really, I enjoyed this one quite a lot. There is so much to like here: wonderful layered characters who are romantic and super sexy together; a fun, quirky setting; a little bit of a mystery and some excitement; and just the warm comfortable feeling you get when you read a story that is just sweet and lovely. This is a great book for when you just want to feel good and curl up with a wonderful story.
Cover Review: I love this cover. We have the gator of course, along with just that perfect ethereal quality that fits with the quirky and surreal elements of the story. Very nice.