For six months out of the year, Lazlo Maguire is a high-priced escort in New York City; for the rest of the time he’s a laid back wind chime maker in the sweet little Florida town of Mangrove. There’s only ever been one man in his life that he has ever really seen, but he walked away from Britton Lassiter back in NYC. When Lazlo sees Britton again in Mangrove, Laz thinks that he’s going to get his second chance. But boy was he wrong, and Britton got the restraining order to prove it.
Lazlo’s life takes a jog to the left when he finds out that he has a daughter, and that Katie’s mother has just passed away. Since Britton is a lawyer, Lazlo needs the man’s help with the legal things, and since Britton can see that Lazlo is being sincere, he helps. And then suddenly Britton gets all the pieces that have been missing between them, and he understand exactly why Lazlo walked away. Now that Britton knows the whole story, he sets about showing Lazlo exactly what they mean to each other. And since Lazlo has never stopped loving Britton, he’s ready to have love and easy evenings.
Book 4 of the Mangrove series drops us into the middle of the action, and keeps up a quickly paced storyline throughout. Like all the books, it works just fine as a standalone, but I always believe these kind of stories have a little something extra when you’ve read the ones that have come before. We’ve met Britton before, and gotten to know one side of him and we’ve briefly glimpsed Lazlo. We also get some great cameos by guys from earlier books, which is always fun to see.
Like the rest of the books in the series, I really enjoyed myself with this one. It seemed a little faster paced and perhaps a little shorter than the one that came before. This worked for the most part, but it also left me just a little bit wanting. But this story had a classic Calmes feel, and it fits in nicely with the rest of the series, even if it departs from the friends to lovers theme the previous stories have working for them.
So. Lazlo. Can I just say I adore the crap out of him? He’s so much more than he first appears, and I love the way his layers were revealed as the story went on. Sometimes, that can be a bit jarring or read like the author is just trying to jam something in so it will fit. Not so here. Everything that was revealed about Laz, about his motivations, his thoughts, even the reason he is a rent boy, it’s all so fitting with his character and makes absolute sense with the kind of guy that he is. I loved that he embraced his daughter the moment he met her, and that he was willing to change his whole life. It absolutely worked for this guy, it never seemed false or forced. And I loved his character.
The reader is caught up on events that have happened previously by Lazlo filling in the story in a flashback of sorts. If you’ve read Calmes before, then you know her signature style. And for the most part, it works really well throughout the book. Lazlo is an awesome narrator, and I think he’s the perfect one to tell us his story. But I’m going to be honest here and I say that I felt a little disconnect to Britton that brought things down for me a bit. There was no doubt of their connection and feelings toward one another, and their chemistry was just insane. But I wanted more from Britton. I wanted to understand him better, and I just didn’t. As a result, I wanted more of the romance between them. In some respects, that part felt like it was over too quickly for me. So, parts of the romance worked, and some were a little lacking, leaving me with mixed feelings about that part.
This one definitely goes into the like column though, and it does fit well within the world. It’s a quick easy read, with just a hint of angst to give the story some heft. The chemistry between Lazlo and Britton leaps off the page, and the characterizations make up for any plot point that might be ever so slightly lacking. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book, especially if you’ve been reading the series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.