Riley is a solicitor (aka lawyer) who’s returned from London to the small town where he grew up. Riley had come out of a long, emotional relationship, and he’d also been caring for his ill father until he passed away. Now, Riley is living by himself in a big, old house working for the firm his father helped create. Riley has reconnected with one of his oldest, best friends and that friend has asked Riley to help his son, Dylan, out by giving him rides back and forth to his job as they’re heading the same way anyway. Riley remembers a gangly young boy, but he’s surprised to discover a smart, handsome young man who intrigues him.
Dylan has had a crush on Riley since he was 15 years old, and he’s thrilled for the opportunity to spend 90 minutes a day with him. He’s enthusiastic and can’t wait to learn more about Riley, but Dylan discovers Riley is close-mouthed about his time in London, his family, his house, and his personal life. Gradually, however, Riley finds himself relaxing in Dylan’s presence and actually enjoying their time together.
Soon, rides to work turn into some time spent outside of work in town. Their feelings grow and they’re unable to fight them any longer. Now, Riley and Dylan must face Dylan’s family, the people at their jobs, and the entire town, expecting (and in some cases being correct) their relationship to face backlash. The question is whether they and their love are strong enough to get beyond others’ opinions.
What a nice little book! I love May/December stories and I have also always liked it when the older half of the relationship is an old friend of the younger character’s parents. There’s that little bit of taboo there…the idea that they should keep their feelings to themselves (and their hands as well), but being unable to fight it. This is the case in Two for the Road.
Both Riley and Dylan are good men. Riley is stoic while Dylan is outgoing. Riley plays things close to the vest and Dylan just lays his cards on the table for everyone to see. They play perfectly off each other. It was like a choreographed dance. The men have a great chemistry and I enjoyed the idea of them getting to know each other through riding in the car. The ride is 45 minutes each way, so there’s 90 minutes to fill with conversation. The build up is a nice, slow burn. It felt natural, especially with Riley’s inner battle about being not only nearly twice Dylan’s age, but also being an old friend of Dylan’s father. Also, Riley was still trying to get over how badly his previous relationship ended, even though it’s been over a year. It has shaped who he is and how he responds to people.
I liked Dylan’s persistence. He wasn’t obnoxious, but he knew what he wanted and was willing to go after it. He was also willing to wait until Riley knew what he wanted. Dylan’s excitement about numbers was contagious…even though I hate numbers. He described them as being like music, and I was willing to go along with that. He’s a friendly young man who loves his parents, his friends, and, as time passes, the people at his new job. Milne was able to bring a good balance to the character to keep him from coming across as a caricature. Basically, Dylan was an all around great guy and I rooted for him through this whole book.
I felt like the plot was realistic and the idea the men didn’t jump into bed right away was a great choice by the author. I loved reading about their descent into love…especially Riley. Oh, he fought it, but in the end, it was no use. He did have to get over himself a little, but other than harping a bit on the age difference and some tense moments between him and Dylan’s father, there was no real conflict to be had. The sexytimes were incredibly sexy and the romance was tummy fluttering.
There are a few background characters that played a role in the story, including Dylan’s parents; Sue, who was Riley’s father’s care taker; Dylan’s friends Matt and Dan; and a young coworker of Riley named Katie. They all worked nicely into the book, doing their jobs while not being in the way. They added to the plot rather than drawing all the attention to themselves. They were written with dimension and felt like “real” people.
The ending was as expected, and I am more than good with that. There was a teeny bit of a wrench coming into the home stretch, but it was almost an afterthought. The epilogue was delightful and made me smile. I could easy and happily envision it…elephants and all (you’ll just have to see). I highly recommend Two for the Road. It’s an easy and sweet read, and Riley and Dylan will capture your heart like they captured mine.