After barely making it out of an abusive relationship with his life, Wilder Torres relocated to Cherry Creek, CO, where he opened up a gluten-free cupcake shop. It took him a while to get settled into his new life, especially as the old bakery that he took over was so beloved. But Wilder now has close friends, a solid business, and a new sense of peace about his life. It was a long time coming, as he went from living with an abusive mother to an abusive boyfriend, but Wilder has found his place and happiness in Cherry Creek.
Lorenzo Moretti is feeling at loose ends in his life. He has plenty of money, but his life is shallow and filled with people who only care for what he can do for him. His siblings are all successful and seem to have found purpose in their lives, while Lorenzo drifts along without finding any real direction. After seeing how happy his brother, Rocco, is after visiting Cherry Creek (coming back with the love of his life), Lorenzo decides to give it a try himself. While he doesn’t expect miracles, he hopes that visiting the small town might give him some much needed perspective and a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, Lorenzo finds himself stumbling when he first arrives in town and wonders if his opportunity will be over before it even starts.
When Wilder sees poor Lorenzo looking lost and broken, he takes a chance and reaches out to the man. The two form a connection, and a friendship and an attraction begins to develop between them. Wilder hasn’t been in a relationship since things ended with his ex, and he is nervous about trying to build something with Lorenzo. But Lorenzo is patient and kind and happy for whatever Wilder can give. It gives Wilder the confidence to take steps forward into building something with Lorenzo. For his part, Lorenzo finds in Wilder someone to care about him without strings. Wilder wants Lorenzo for who he is, not what his money can buy or the flashy lifestyle he can provide. But both of these men have a lot of emotional baggage to work through, and building a relationship is not easy. Now Lorenzo and Wilder have to be strong for each other and take a chance on what they have built together.
Love Him Steady is the fourth book in E.M. Lindsey’s On the Market series and gives us Wilder and Lorenzo’s story. We have met both characters in previous books in this series (and in Wilder’s case, in the Room for Love series as well), and I was really excited to get Wilder’s story, as he has been a favorite side character of mine. The story really is lovely, following these two men with difficult pasts as they find their way to one another. What I thought was most interesting is the way they are both in different spots in similar journeys. Wilder grew up with an abusive mother who hated him because he was a hearing child in her deaf world. He then lived with an abusive boyfriend who nearly killed him. Wilder managed to rebuild his life in Cherry Creek, finding a place for himself where he can stand on his own and reclaim his sense of self worth. Lorenzo is at the beginning of his similar journey, having reached the point of realizing he is unhappy, but not quite sure how to fix it yet. So it was interesting to watch these two men together and see how they were able to support one another and learn from each other.
Wilder does face some conflicts of his own, as he must face his family again after moving away from a horrible situation with them. But this story does feel like more Lorenzo’s as he is starting from further behind. He feels like his life is shallow, that people only care about him for what he can do for them, and he has almost a desperation about him as he comes to Cherry Creek hoping the town can work the same magic as it did for his brother (whose book started the series with Love Him Free). I appreciated that Lorenzo’s redemption comes from within, realizing his own sense of self worth and that he is a person worthy of love and care for himself, not just what he can provide others. While he is figuring out his next steps in life, Lorenzo’s epiphany doesn’t come from finding a new career or a new passion, but from coming to accept his own value, which I really liked.
I am such a fan of this world Lindsey and author Kate Hawthorne have built (Hawthorne’s Room for Love series is set in the same town). As always, we get a lot of characters appearing from the series, and I particularly enjoyed Wilder’s friendship with Theo (from Fearless). We also meet a new (?) side character in Raphael, who becomes Lorenzo’s close friend and whose story is coming up. There is such a great since of community and found family here and I love watching all these characters interact. So this was another nice installment in the series and I am looking forward to more.
P.S. Just wanted to give a shout out to this cover. Not only is it gorgeous (as they all are), but it also ties Lorenzo together so nicely with his brother Rocco in appearance.