Dylan loves working at Rainbow Place and, as a bonus, he gets to check out the customers when there are a few extra minutes. That’s how he spots Joe, banging away at his keyboard. With some quick thinking, Dylan introduces himself and serves Joe coffee. And then starts looking for Joe every time he comes in. Dylan’s intrigued by the older man, and wants to get to know him better. He even gets up the courage to give Joe his phone number.
After being made redundant, Joe is trying to make a go at being a writer. His partner of ten years, Harry, agreed that Joe could try before looking for work again. But things aren’t great. While Joe is working on his novel, Harry has become even more lazy around the house and has started drinking even more. Joe gets out of the house by writing at the café and enjoys Dylan’s company. He’s shocked when Dylan gives him his phone number, but he tells Dylan the truth: he’s in a relationship.
But things go from bad to worse at home for Joe, and Dylan has seen this kind of behavior before. He’s lived it with an ex. He tries to talk to Joe about Harry’s behavior, but Joe blows him off. Eventually, Joe sees what’s right in front of him and decides it’s time for a change. Talking to Harry doesn’t work and Joe ends things. But all the while, he’s been growing closer to Dylan.
Though it’s fast, Joe and Dylan begin dating. But Harry still tries to have control, and Dylan is worried about how fast he and Joe are moving, considering both their histories. Though they enjoy each other a lot, miscommunication and an unwillingness to listen might just spell their doom. But they both don’t want things to end, and when they finally talk, Dylan and Joe realize they are finally both in a better place.
I’ve been reading the Rainbow Place series right along, and I’ve enjoyed the way this small cast of characters are all finding their HEA. I love that the café brings them together and that Seb has a way of connecting everyone. I will say though, I had some problems with this book, and I think it’s my least favorite of the three so far.
I enjoyed both Dylan and Joe. They each have their own hurdles to face, and they both do a lot of growing throughout the story. Dylan has had a rough past, and he’s finally in a good place with his life, ready to start dating again. Joe is ready for changes and to stop making excuses for his partner’s behavior. They’re both solid, likeable guys, but a bit two dimensional. I would have liked to see their personalities and inner thoughts fleshed out a bit more, as it seemed like we only got the surface. I felt like exploring them more would have really enhanced their characters.
The plot is paced pretty well, on the whole, but I had issues with he dialogue at points. Dylan, in particular, burst out with questions that seemed out of place, or at least not something he would say in the situation, and it felt like they were just there to move the plot forward. And that’s where I had the biggest issue. There were times when the story felt choppy to me, where it would just abruptly move forward. I’m not talking about time jumps here, but rather the questions asked would seem slightly out of left field, with seemingly the sole intent of moving the plot to the next point.
I will also make mention of the emotional and mental abuse that is portrayed in this book. It’s not too graphic or detailed, and pretty tame in depiction, though that doesn’t make it any less impactful. It’s a very real issue, and Joe needs to deal with the way it affects him. I thought the fall out and aftermath could have been handled a bit better, and for it to be explored more, but was appreciative that this kind of abuse was depicted and addressed, at it is so often dismissed or overlooked.
Overall, this was a nice story, but for me, it wasn’t as well developed as the first two in the series, and I definitely had issues with a few of the plot points. I would cautiously recommend this book to readers who are a fan of the author and this series.