Neil Findley is the right hand man for the president of Smith Resorts, and he heads out to their new property to help prepare for The Lake House’s big winter bash. But he also goes because he can’t wait to see the head chef, Jamie McRae. They met once and spent a lovely day together, but nothing more ever came of it. But the constant emails and phone calls between them as they prepare for the party have set their flirtation to simmer. However, Neil doesn’t believe he can ever have more than a fling, and Jamie won’t settle for anything less than forever. These two men have a lot working against them. But their attraction is strong, and hints at something deeper. Now they just need to figure out if they can let follow their hearts to a happily ever after.
Okay, let me start by saying that this short novella is actually part of four book series, the other three featuring het couples. And here’s the thing, while this story technically works as a standalone, and the author gives you everything you need to know, I did feel just a bit like I was missing something by not having read the two that come before this one. But honestly, that was just one of several things that lowered my enjoyment of this story.
This is a sweet, quick read. And for what it was, I thought it was a very nice story. The plot moved along at a good pace, and the writing had a nice, easy style to it that kept me engaged. I thought the premise had a lot of promise, and was even willing to overlook one or two holes in the plot that could have been an issue. Like I said, it was a nice, easy read without a lot of depth. But I had problems with the characters themselves.
My biggest issue in this story were the contradictions, and we got it from both Neil and Jamie. Neil, however, was the bigger offender. He would think one thing, only to then think the complete opposite in the next sentence or paragraph. He starts the book by telling us that he wants Jamie desperately and why, and says that he’s going to have him. Then he turns around and says getting together with Jamie would be a really bad idea. That was just one example and it happened over and over again, especially in regards to the romantic aspects of the story. Jamie, to a lesser degree, was the same way. So I never really felt like I understood exactly what these guys were thinking.
Not to mention that I never really felt the chemistry between Neil and Jamie either. Neil tells us about the phone calls and emails and how they affected him. Jamie too, shares how he’s been thinking about Neil. But when Neil shows up, they sort of avoid each other, and then come together quickly. Then retreat again. And then they are miraculously in love and will be together forever. But hardly any of this was actually shown. There was too much telling going on, too much glossing over. Had there even been a few more short scenes showing us their interaction, I could have believed it easier. As it was, I had a hard time believing that these guys even connected, let alone have something that could see them through the rest of their lives.
So yeah. This one missed the mark for me. What could have been a great little story just fell apart by having inconsistent characters without chemistry, and the easy, nice writing style wasn’t enough to save it.