Despite being only twenty-five, Jonty Bloom’s life has not been an easy one. Abandoned by his mother at age eight, abused by his father until he was so badly beaten he was removed from their home at the age of fifteen, Jonty is determined not to let the past dictate his future. He is also determined to be happy, despite the ex-boyfriend who did foul things to him and who is now stalking him in order to get him back. Yes, life has not been kind to Jonty, but working at the seaside hotel as the night manager is something that makes him very happy, even when the guests are grumpy like the handsome man who is currently demanding a room well before it’s ready and wanting breakfast after service is ended. Unfortunately, the only thing Jonty isn’t able to control these days is his mouth—which is currently making the new guest even more dissatisfied. But the guy is so scrumptious, Jonty can’t help but tease him—even if it means getting a reprimand if caught doing so.
Devan is not a happy man. First, he is incensed his younger brother had the gall to ask him to be his best man after not only stealing Devan’s fiancé, but lying about the fact that they had continued to see each other after Devan found them in bed the night before his wedding. By agreeing not to tell the family why Devan and Ravi had called their wedding off, Griff got away scot free from any repercussions–much like he has most of their lives. But that’s not really what has Devan so upset. No, it’s the fact that he feels like a fool now that Griff and Ravi are getting married. So when his boss, Alan, offers him the chance to go up north to check out the acquisition of a fading hotel, Devan takes it. Now, he’s faced with a smart-mouthed young man who might just be gorgeous, but has sarcastic comebacks for every occasion that push all Devan’s already hot buttons. Devan is there to figure out if the hotel is going to make a good buy for the company, not to get involved with some surfer twink who might just be the hottest thing on two legs. So why is Devan agreeing to be escorted around the island by said guy and wanting to hear his laugh more than anything else?
The Making of Jonty Bloom is author Barbara Elsborg’s latest release and it is filled with snark, crazy dialogue gymnastics that turn on a dime and at Jonty’s whim, and a long slow burn of a romance that actually takes place in only one week. I honestly had to do a double take every time the short timeframe was mentioned in this story because it really feels like so much happens in that period. Not only do we get the entirety of Jonty and Devan’s backstory, we get all the emotional impact of two lives being unalterably changed. This story never feels rushed; the declarations of love never feel forced, yet the story moves so swiftly it made me hang on every word.
From the potential sale of the hotel, which involved Jonty and Devan’s future, to the culmination of what happens to Jonty’s ex, Brad, who maliciously stalks and mentally abuses Jonty, I found myself fully engrossed in this novel. It’s not angst that propels this story, but cleverly written action. Something is always happening and between Jonty and Devan’s rapid fire and humorous interactions, their fighting off the attraction they feel for each other and the steady revealing of the past and how it impacts Jonty and Devan to this day, this story is an absolute whirlwind of emotions. I really like this couple. Jonty is so good for the angry and withdrawn Devan and Devan provides the stability and safety net Jonty is lacking.
The story, itself, is sweet and yet sharply dramatic. The threats from Brad, the ex, are creepy and written so realistically. He is a threat always hanging over Jonty and Devan until the very end of the story. But the courtship between our two main characters is what makes this story really sing. With each quippy exchange and longing look you feel the tension build between Jonty and Devan—to the point of combustion. These two are sexy and fun, a wonderful combination.
I am thrilled that The Making of Jonty Bloom is to have at least a sequel where we will learn more about Tay—Jonty’s closest friend. Until then, I hope fans of this author will be as thrilled with this story as I am.