After coming into some money, Seb Radcliffe moves from London to the small town of Porthladock and finds the prefect premises to open a café/bar called Rainbow Place. In conversation with his friends, and lamenting the lack of community, he decides to make sure Rainbow Place is a safe and inclusive space. Seb knows he’ll get some blowback, but he’s willing to take the risk.
Jason Dunn is a contractor who is very comfortable in his closet, and wants to stay there. But when he takes the job renovating the space for Rainbow Place, he spends a lot of time with Seb. The two men are attracted and drawn to one another, but Seb isn’t sure where Jason stands and Jason isn’t sure he wants to risk anything with someone local.
But one moment changes everything, and the men begin discreetly dating. Seb is fine going at Jason’s pace, especially because Jason is starting to think about things differently. But when fear keeps Jason from being at Seb’s side when Seb needs him most, it’s too much for Seb to deal with. Jason needs to prove to Seb he’s all in and ready, and that he believes in what Seb is doing.
I knew going into this book that it would be fairly low angst, with just enough heft to give the story some weight. Northcote delivers a solid story here. Not too long, but still long enough to really dive into the characters and the story. This wasn’t a perfect book for me, but there were parts I really enjoyed and it was nice read.
So I really enjoyed both characters. Northcote is great at characterization and he has a knack for making characters that seem real. I was totally on board with Seb and his enthusiasm for what he was doing and his positivity. Jason, in particular, felt real. His fears and worries were absolutely valid for the experiences he’s had, and everything about him made sense. I think, for me, Jason worked a touch better than Seb. Jason was a little deeper and had a bit more going on inside. But I liked both the MCs and I liked the way they drove the story.
This is a romance and that means we need to talk about chemistry. Unfortunately, for me, I found it a little lacking between these guys. They sparked and sizzled, but never really caught fire. I felt like something was just out of reach, and that these guys were playing on the surface at times. They were sweet together, and had moments of heat, but I definitely wished I could have felt their connection more.
Overall, the story is nice, and like I said, I really enjoyed the characters and the way they drove the story. But I do have to say that the final quarter of this book was…kind of predictable. While I don’t always have a problem with that, it didn’t work as well for me in this story. There were some big moments that I thought weren’t explored enough for the weight of them, which left things feeling a bit flat and rushed. On top of that, Seb and Jason’s “big misunderstanding” (which admittedly is a thing I really don’t enjoy) felt scripted and by rote. I was hoping for more between them, instead of a predictable misunderstanding and a quick, and predictable, resolution.
Northcote is a solid writer and he handles characterizations so well. On the whole, this is a well written story. While there were parts that didn’t work as well for me and my tastes, don’t let that stop you if this book sounds like something that piques your interest.