Jude is returning home, although reluctantly, after searching for his parents who have gone missing at sea. His parents ran a restaurant and inn and Jude’s sister, Louise, was left alone to run it. When devastating circumstances led to the business almost going under, Louise partnered up with Rob to help keep the business going. Jude knows Rob. They were rivals in a cooking competition and shared a flirtation and a kiss until Jude left without a word to Rob. Jude is understandably confused and angry when he finds Rob cooking in his kitchen.
Jude doesn’t understand why Rob is trying to help and he’s also upset he can’t save the business all on his own. Rob’s help has conditions, though, and Jude isn’t at all sure he can share a kitchen and a room with Rob. Rob is not only outgoing, but he’s out as well, and Jude has been hiding for a long time.
The chemistry between the men is still there, but Rob won’t go back into the closet. Jude will have to search his past to be able move forward into the future with Rob as his partner, both in business and pleasure.
This book starts the His series from Con Riley that will take place in a shared world. When the book opens, Jude is devastated. His parents have gone missing and he has been working on a yacht trying to find some hints as to exactly what happened and he returns home to find even more has changed.
I liked the story this book was telling and the relationship between Jude and Rob, but the way in which we got the information didn’t all work for me. Jude and Rob meet off page and have a history. It takes a while for that history to fully come out, it’s all told to us in an indirect way, and I didn’t feel like there was enough information to ground Jude and Rob in the relationship we were told they already had. Jude’s sister, Louise, had contacted Rob and the two of them have been working on the inn for a few months already and there was an intimacy between the two of them that came across as a little too close for them being platonic friends.
The book is character driven as Jude tries to find his way as his parents are missing and so much of his landscape has changed. He’s also struggling with coming out, which has a lot to do with his relationship with his father. There were many moments I was fully in the story to then being taken out of the story for just as many. There is so much going on here between Jude and Rob and Louise and their personal and professional relationships with each other and their families and their past and Rob’s car and the business. The issue for me was that the story or the scene was one place and then it moved to another place or to a resolution and the details to connect it all were missing. I needed more in a lot of places to be able to see the progression of the story, rather than just landing there in the next scene.
The attraction between Jude and Rob is clear, but since it was already in progress, it didn’t have as much impact as it could have. There were moments in the story that had me invested and the ending for Rob and Jude was great and left the story on a high note. The issues I had may not affect everyone and, if you have enjoyed this author’s work, you could certainly check it out for the start of a new series set in a small English tourist town.