Anne Tenino captures all the whimsy, patience, and courage it takes to make a relationship work. In her new novel, Wedding Favors, she mixes in just a bit of angst and a sweet teaspoon of kink and comes up with a romantic comedy that just blew me away. By novel’s end, I really adored this amazing cast of characters and have placed this novel on my reread shelf for the foreseeable future.
Twelve years in the past a terrible misunderstanding of motivation causes two young men to say goodbye to one another for good…or so they thought. Gabe was a logger, born and bred, never wanting or needing to leave the town of Bluewater Bay. He knows that Lucas is destined for something greater, better than this sleepy town, but that does not stop him from wanting just one moment with the boy. So Gabe gives in and has one night, one encounter with the boy he has secretly crushed on for oh so long. Lucas, hiding in the closet during high school, is shattered when the one intimate encounter with Gabe seems to be nothing more than a casual thing and feels dismissed by the very boy for whom he, too, harbored feelings. Now, Lucas’ best friend Audrey is marrying his brother, Zach, and Lucas finds himself returning to Bluewater to be her Man of Honor, only to find that Gabe is the best man.
Feeling adrift and facing a looming deadline for the next gallery showing of his craftware, Lucas needs a place to create wedding favors for Audrey’s upcoming nuptials. Gabe’s farm is the perfect place. But this time, if Gabe manages to get Lucas in his grasp, he will not make the mistake of letting go.
If you are looking for deep angst or a twisted plot line, Wedding Favors is not the novel for you. However, if you are looking for witty dialogue, steamy and deeply intimate encounters, and a secondary cast who is as creatively written as the main characters, then this is most assuredly a novel right up your alley. I am not sure which man captivated me more. Gabe, a ruggedly handsome and beefy bear-like man, who was so deliciously normal and so very smitten with Lucas. His running internal dialogue gave such insight to the depth of regard he had for Lucas. He was a friend foremost, his love wrapped in a sincere wish that Lucas be all that he can be and his art be given voice and attention by the outside world.
Lucas, so weary, coming off a failed relationship he had held onto for far too long, sees only the pain that Gabe once caused him to feel. When he understands that Gabe really “gets him” and that his motivations now and twelve years before are born out of love and care, Lucas feels himself falling head first and actually entertaining the idea of remaining in his hometown. But what if Gabe really doesn’t want him? What if this was just a fling?
To watch the slow burning dance between these two men erupt into a passion that consumes them both was just magical. This novel did it all—made me laugh, curse the stubbornness, sigh over the intimacy, and cry happy tears at the outcome. Wedding Favors, a Bluewater Bay novel is by far one of the best in this series and I highly recommend it to you.