What happens when friendship crosses the line into unrequited love? For Rafael Patino, it could mean losing his best friend, something that is absolutely unthinkable. Better to keep his love a secret than lose the one man who has always been there for him.
Rafael has known for quite some time that he has fallen in love with his best buddy, Dustin Vance. With the summer break looming from teaching at the local high school, Raf and Dusty will be together 24/7 as they finish working on the plane Dusty has just purchased and fly it to a convention and camping vacation in Wisconsin. This has been Dusty’s dream so Raf is not going to allow his feelings to stand in the way of his friend’s joy. But hiding how he feels is growing more difficult every day and it doesn’t help that their mutual friends are pushing Raf to come clean to Dusty. Little does Raf know that Dusty has begun to realize that he too has feelings for his friend—now it’s going to take a little courage on both of their parts to see if their mutual attraction can take wing.
With little angst and a lot of sex, the author plots a story that has some very sweet moments. While this novel had some decidedly weak areas, the chemistry between Dusty and Raf was certainly not one of them. In fact, it was their intense connection that saved this novel many times from falling into just another run of the mill romance. Their fear about losing their friendship was well scripted and believable—after all, when you have someone in your life who knows you better than anyone you would definitely be loath to risk them for what could turn out to be a disastrous relationship. Also, the author tied in a cheating ex for Dusty that most assuredly had him questioning if he could ever fully trust a boyfriend again—even one as reliable as Raf.
However, as strong as those elements were, they were also overtaxed when the novel dwelt way too long on the strength of just both men’s fears. Because that worry over losing one another became their sole focus, it began to drag down the flow of the novel and became tiresome after a while. I got the guys were anxious over losing each other, but way too much time was spent returning to Dusty’s conflicted inner dialogue between sex scenes. Then there was a minor side plot concerning one of Raf’s students that tied very loosely into the novel and seemed rather superfluous. Plus given the few interchanges Raf had with his alcoholic mother, I can safely say I felt there was more than one side issue in the book that never really got enough time on page to amount to anything. Then there was the idea that their friends saw everything coming before they did. Yet when they finally revealed to the group they were boyfriends, we were given no reaction from the guys who prior to this had been all over both of them to come clean to each other. These various unfinished moments in the book made it feel like it was more important to the author that we experience Raf and Dusty’s hot man sex than build a solid story.
Love in the Clouds was a nice romance with a friends to lovers theme that will definitely please those who are looking for a simple straightforward love story. I feel that this author has some great potential to unleash a more complete novel and will keep my eye out for more of her books in the future.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.