Michael O’Grady keeps his bisexuality under wraps, figuring in the end he’ll settle down with a woman to keep from breaking his mother’s heart. When on a trip to the Isle of Wight with his girlfriend, Michael realizes it’s not working and breaks it off. Of course, he’s so lost in his own head he doesn’t realize that his girlfriend of a few weeks is proposing. When she takes it badly, Michael ends up in the ocean. And when he pulls himself back on land, he runs into Rufus Kewell.
Rufus is twenty years old, but it’s only his fifth true birthday as he’s a leap year baby. He thinks he’s been granted a special birthday gift when the beautiful Michael shows up on the sand, dripping wet. Rufus takes Michael back to the B&B his parents own so that he can dry off, and the two of them act on their lust right there in Rufus’s bed. But Michael runs off the moment it’s over. Rufus is left reeling, but weirdly happy. And that only increases when circumstances have Michael showing back up and taking a room.
There’s no denying the two men have a connection, but sneaking off for sexy times isn’t the most ideal situation. Rufus has hopes that things can last between them, and that they can continue on after Michael’s stay ends. But miscommunication forces them apart, with neither man getting to explain his side of the story. It’s only after Michael is gone that Rufus sets out to win Michael back, convinced they can work it out, if only they try. But things aren’t easy for them, and both men have to give their parents truths they would rather not. It’s only when they can be truly honest that they have any hope of having a future.
This was a story where I had to take a little bit of a leap, no pun intended, in order to get on board with it. Some of the characters and situations are a bit over the top, and I had a little trouble with the instalove of it all. But overall it was really well written, and a very sweet story about two men finding themselves and love at the same time.
I adored the crap out of Rufus. He was both cheeky and shy, a perfect balance of confident and nervous. He’s got such a big heart. He’s suffered some in his life, and he’s got a determination to do what is right. Or at least, what he feels is right. He read a little bit older than his actual age, but that actually worked for his character, as he’s had to take on more responsibility. While sometimes I wanted to shake him, not quite understanding his motivation, he was by far my favorite character in the book and I really adored him.
Michael was, honestly, harder to like. I was able to chalk up a lot of it to just his personality, but I found his abrasive and derisive at times. Some of this was hiding his softer center, and some of it was just his immaturity. He’s been coddled his entire life, being the youngest and the only boy. And so part of it is just him being spoiled. But also, he didn’t have a tender heart underneath. It didn’t always work perfectly for me, as I thought he was a bit too crude for what I think the author was intending. But I can say that was probably personal preference.
I really liked Rufus and Michael’s romance. It was sweet and adorable, with Michael really doing some growing about accepting his own sexuality. He’s always identified as bi, but never wanted to admit it. So I really liked him embracing his bisexuality. I thought this part was really well done. And there’s no doubt that Rufus and Michael absolutely had chemistry, so that totally worked as well. Did I feel the intenseness they did? That edge of love after such a short time? Not so much. If it had been a slower build, over a longer time within the story, I would have believed it a little more. But these guys definitely had spark and work together well.
I have to admit I had some issues with the story as well. Miscommunication was used heavily in this book. Sometimes it worked, other times it felt more like a plot device. I also got kind of tired of everyone thinking they knew what was best for everyone else without actually having a conversation. With Rufus, this was a part of his personality. But other secondary characters had the same problem. And like I said, there were some moments that were completely over the top, going just a little too far for me. I won’t spoil them, because I think that this story is worth a read, but I think if they’d been dialed back just a bit I would have enjoyed it more.
Overall, I thought it was a nice story. Well written with good pacing, and characters that I enjoyed, Rufus in particular. I can absolutely recommend this to any Merrow fans, as it has the author’s trademark style. And if you’re looking for a bisexual romance, and a pleasant read with just a big of angst to give the story weight, then I suggest you pick this one up.