Xander Ekman has given up on the idea of a long-lasting relationship, instead fulfilling his physical needs with a series of one-night stands. Xander’s best friend and flatmate, Eric, expresses his concern about Xander’s choices and challenges Xander to a bet: Xander has to stay celibate for a whole month without reducing himself to a social hermit and loss means responsibility for the household chores! Unhappy with the direction his love-life is taking, Xander agrees to Eric’s bet, even taking the drastic and impulsive step of having the Kanji symbol for patience tattooed on his hand, which is how Xander meets Troy Moriarty.
Troy is the reluctant owner of Pins and Needles, a new tattoo parlor in Dublin. Troy was encouraged to open the shop by an ex-colleague who also committed to being Troy’s business partner, only to abandon Troy at the last minute for a job offer in Florida. Troy feels hurt and betrayed and is unhappy living in the rooms behind the shop, having been forced to use the money from the sale of his apartment to plow into Pins and Needles.
When Troy needs a custom-designed tattoo for one of his customers, artist Xander offers and the two men try to fight the attraction between them. The issue is that Troy and Xander are both keeping secrets from one another and their unwillingness to talk may destroy any chance of them both finding the relationship they both crave.
Patience is a captivating novel in which Helena Stone’s writing flows easily but with great detail about the lives and emotions of her two protagonists, using a third-person narrative. However, Stone’s choice of writing style does not detach us from Troy and Xander and she uses alternate chapters to explore the personalities of the two men fully.
Neither Troy or Xander are particularly complex characters, but for me, this was a refreshing change from other novels I have read recently, though Troy is more angsty than his artist counterpart. I felt that I understood why these two men were a good match and the fact that they are unknowingly connected only adds an extra layer of interest.
Stone is very measured in her storytelling during Patience and I felt this made me more relaxed as a reader. The comfortable pace may not suit every reader who is looking for hot and heavy man-on-man action, but it is exactly appropriate for the subject of the story and the characters. This does not mean that Stone dismisses the intensity between Troy and Xander either. On several occasions, I thought Xander might lose his bet with Eric, and the fact that I had to wait for a sex scene only made it more explosive!
I really like how Lorcan and Eric, Troy and Xander’s best friends, are the voices of reason, giving the most sound advice when the protagonists seem to be on the edge. Though they do not play a huge part in the story, Stone has teased us with the chance of a relationship between them and I wonder whether Eric and Lorcan will be the subjects of the second Dublin Virtues book.
Patience is obviously set in Dublin and Stone captures the cosmopolitan vibe of the city, with art fairs, galleries, and the nightlife. The only drawback for me was that I know the Southern Irish have very specific speech patterns, which Stone does not fully convey. However, I also understand that she may not have wanted to be stereotypical or create a barrier of understanding between the characters and her readers.
Patience is a novel in which Stone delivers an authentic romance between engaging characters and I think, because of this, it will have a wide appeal to readers of the genre.