nautical coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Calgary Wilde was just looking for a no strings hook up — and if the guy was also the owner of a gorgeous luxury yacht Cal was dying to check out, all the better. However, it turns out that Prescott is definitely NOT the owner of the ship; instead, he is the cheating, soon-to-be brother-in-law of the actual owner, Jonathan Worthington. When Worth and his siblings show up early for their week-long Caribbean sail, Cal finds himself accidentally stuck on board when the ship departs. To Cal’s surprise, rather than drop him at the next stop, Worth instead offers a deal: stay on board and pose as Worth’s boyfriend while they attempt to expose Prescott as a cheater, and Worth will consider Cal for the first mate’s job he badly wants.

It doesn’t take long before Cal and Worth realize that they actually quite like each other. Cal is enthusiastic and full of life. He loves sailing and being on the water and has embraced life in the islands captaining ships for tourists. Cal manages to charm everyone on board and his zest for life reminds Worth of how much he has been missing putting so many hours into the office. For his part, Cal finds Worth charming and sweet and he turns Cal on like crazy. But Cal knows Worth is way out of his league; the man is a billionaire, not to mention accomplished and polished. Cal can’t imagine what the man would want with him. And Worth knows he is way too old for Cal, plus, after his last bad relationship, Worth has sworn off boyfriends.

However, as the men spend days in the sun and nights sharing a bed, the temptation becomes too much and they can’t resist acting on their attraction. The connection between them both is so strong, but there seems to be no future for them. Worth has to return home to his high-pressure job, and Cal needs to figure out his next steps for his own career. However, the feelings between them can’t be denied and now Cal and Worth have to figure out if they can turn their island fling into something lasting.

NautiCal is the eighth (and seemingly last) of the Forever Wilde series and it turned out to be one of my favorites. The series follows the Wilde family and the characters appear in each other’s books. However, the individual stories stand alone and this one does in particular, as Cal is only in Hobie a short time. So you can jump in here with no problem.

This story hit so many of my hot button tropes, between the fake relationship set up, the age difference between the men, and the forced proximity as they are all on the ship together. Cal and Worth are great together, and Lennox gives us some fabulous sexual tension before they ultimately succumb to their attraction. Both men have their doubts about how things could work given their differences, but this isn’t an angsty story and it mostly focuses on the way the guys make each other feel. I couldn’t help but fall for both Cal and Worth and I really enjoyed them individually and as a couple. There is also such a lovely setting here with the beautiful islands, clear waters, and luxurious ship (if you want some serious boat envy, here is the link to Worth’s model). Lennox makes the most of the setting and the story has a nice laid back vibe that befits the location.

The set up here is really fun and some of the most entertaining moments come when Cal finds himself trapped on the ship and he first encounters Worth. It is amusingly absurd and sets the tone for the rest of the book. I will say though that you sort of have to squint a little for it to all work. Worth wants to expose Prescott by using Cal as a lure, hoping Prescott’s flirting will show Worth’s brother he is a scoundrel. But really, cheating when your fiancé isn’t in town is one thing. Is Prescott really going to risk things his millionaire (billionaire?) lover for a chance at a guy he thinks is far beneath him once they are all on a boat together? Not to mention that while Cal is supposedly on board specifically to flirt with Prescott and cause trouble between him and Lucas, he doesn’t actually really make any effort to do that. There is one point where they are seated next to each other where Cal makes nice, but beyond that, he can hardly hide his contempt for the man. Cal is definitely not making effort to seduce Prescott. I also wondered why Prescott never confronts Cal about why he is still on the ship after their tryst and what he is trying to accomplish. Prescott knows Cal isn’t really Worth’s boyfriend. As far as he knows, Cal is a broke charter captain who can be lured into sex for a chance at a fancy boat (which actually is pretty accurate). Wouldn’t he at least wonder how Cal ended up posing as Worth’s boyfriend? I will say, I found I didn’t really care much about the fact that this part didn’t totally work. The set up is just to have a reason for Cal to be on board and, once he is, the story mostly moves in a different direction. So I was fine with things not totally making sense, but wanted to at least mention it.

I have really enjoyed the Forever Wilde series and getting to know this sort of crazy family. Lennox has done such a good job with the series, showing the bond and connections, while also making each of these men distinct and their stories unique. NautiCal is another great installment and I really enjoyed both Cal and Worth.