This is the second book in Jay Northcote’s Owen & Nathan series. It can be read as a standalone.
Owen and Nathan have been in a stable committed relationship for two years. They are in love and wish to spend their lives together. Nathan wants a marriage; his parents and brother all have successful marriages and he has had good examples. Owen’s father cheated and then left his mother to raise their five kids. He’s never felt close to his dad, and the relationship has become more strained since Owen came out. Owen’s been vocal about his objection to marriage, but he sees his best friend get married, and he’s a bit sentimental, and drunk(ish), and proposes to Nathan.
Nathan isn’t sure if Owen’s proposal is real, but the next morning’s discussion proves it to be true. They sit on it for a week, then decide to share their engagement with their families. The wedding plans begin, and Owen’s job is in question. With all the money stress, Owen’s feet turn to ice. Will he be able to go through with it, or ruin his relationship with Nathan?
Like the previous book in this series, the story clips along with alternating point of view. Privately, both Owen and Nathan are struggling with the wedding plans, and each other. Owen’s job stress felt very real, and I could really understand his reluctance to spending gobs of cash on a single day’s event. Watching him pull back from Nathan was difficult. Nathan is so open, he’s just shattered by Owen’s hesitance, and that was palpable.
The books moves quickly through the planning months, and I liked how close we got to Owen’s family. His mother and youngest sister play a big role in the turning point for Owen, and they were so down-to-Earth, I adored them. The side conflicts of this story were also very engaging. Owen’s job situation, the wedding tension, homophobic issues within Owen’s family, and Monroe-bagging mishaps all rounded out the narrative. Nathan’s response to Owen’s pre-wedding explosion seemed in character, and reasonable, I was glad to see a solid resolution to the wedding question—so romantic.