Open SeatingRating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Two weeks before their long anticipated cruise to celebrate their twenty-year anniversary, Seth Wilder’s partner committed suicide after he realized his health was rapidly declining due to a degenerative disease he kept secret from everyone. Without cancellation insurance, Seth is forced to ask his late-partner’s gym buddy – Bryce McFarland – to accompany him on the trip and allow him to recoup at least part of his money.

Bryce is the exact opposite of Seth. Where Seth is happy sitting at home writing his romance novels, Bryce is a man who has major commitment issues and doesn’t look for anything more serious than a hookup with one of the guys he finds on Grindr. Despite their differences, the two forge a tentative rapport as they find themselves sharing a room on a cruise ship for the next three weeks.

As the two head off on the cruise, romance is the last thing on either of their minds. Yet, as the two begin to help each other come to terms with their issues, the lines become blurred and barriers are crossed as a love affair is kindled.

This is one of those reviews that I dread giving because there was so much potential in this book for it to be a wonderful romance story, but it just wasn’t working for me. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around Seth’s ability to move on/function after the whole sudden loss of Mark, his partner of twenty years. Mark committed suicide after his health began to rapidly fail from a degenerative disease that he had kept a secret from everyone around him. The idea of Seth getting onto a cruise ship two measly weeks later (because you didn’t buy cancellation insurance) and asking someone to come along to defray the cost – someone you really don’t know all that well or particularly like – seemed a bit over the top for me. I’m sorry; I have a really hard time imagining myself being able to get out of bed two weeks after a devastating event such as this. Had the timeline been more realistic, say six months down the road, it might have been a less bitter pill for me to swallow.

Then there was this whole issue with Bryce. Bryce is a bit of a sexaholic and has some serious commitment issues. This is the guy who can’t keep it in his pants between the airplane landing and the cruise ship departing! He just wasn’t the type of guy I expected someone like Seth to want to be around, never mind fall for. Yet, this story wants me to believe that this man has the ability to commit to a grieving man and offer him a happily ever after?

While the sex scenes were spicy and romantic all rolled into one, I couldn’t get past the fact that Mark was barely cold in his grave and Seth was already bumping uglies with his dead lover’s good friend.

Then there was the whole issue with giving readers too much information. Call me a prude, but there are some things in life that are strictly taboo and I really don’t want to read about in my romance novels. Food poisoning and its aftereffects are one of those things that I really didn’t need.

For me, there were just too many issues dealing with the whole timeline and dead lover that really made me uncomfortable watching this romance play out. Others of you may not have the same problems. If you like a story where there is a hurt/comfort theme, a bit of instant love, and complete opposites fighting their attraction to one another, you might like this book.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

Wendy sig