Jason is a known box office action-adventure hero. But despite his modest success on the big screen, he has never wanted a chance at a film nearly as much as the one for which he is about to audition. It may be because the heroes are gay and the setting that of Victorian England and the sea. A movie about a hardened ship captain and a member of the gentry falling in love is something Jason is really excited about. Unfortunately, he also starts off on the wrong foot after being made to wait for his chance to audition and then meeting the notoriously talented and gorgeous Colby Kent and discovering the man is as fake as his film personas—or so Jason thinks. When Jason lands the role and discovers that Colby is genuinely nice and considerate, Jason falls all over himself trying to apologize. As filming continues, Jason soon realizes there is way more to Colby than meets the eye; someone has hurt the man and left lasting scars. Now, Jason is more determined than ever to get to know the real Colby Kent, who is a master at disguises and just as talented at hiding his real self.
Seaworthy marks a new series by K. L. Noone and ends with a happy for now situation and the promise of more for its heroes, Jason and Colby. Having read other work by this author, I feel I can say with some decisiveness that this is the prettiest novel Noone has put out to date. The prose passages are gorgeously evocative and paint the picture of two men desperate to make sure they never push the other beyond what they can handle. It is a love story—a slow burn romance between two actors who are portraying lovers onscreen. As the film making progresses, so do the feelings between Colby and Jason. Jason initially thinks Colby is fake and, after having been overheard declaring it so, is positive the man also despises him. Colby is a very complex person, also desperate to be liked and to be helpful, to the point where he rarely acknowledges his own wants or needs. When these two finally find a way to work through all of Colby’s past pain and connect, it is a riveting and gorgeous moment that makes the latter third of this novel absolutely shine.
However, while I think I understand what the author attempts to do with the first two thirds of this book, it also seems staggeringly slow at points. That prose that began as so beautiful and descriptive begins to cause flow problems—slowing down an already glacial love story. I question whether we need to know every outfit Colby puts on or every time the weather takes a turn or every setting they filmed at. With the constant second guessing going on for both Colby and Jason already leaching into every scene and interrupting the intimacy of the moment, I’m not sure we also need detailed setting descriptions. After a while, I simply wanted these two men to actually communicate in full sentences with each other and lay their cards on the table. When that finally happens, this novel really begins to move and it is marvelous to read.
I really like this author’s work and believe Noone is a rich and highly enjoyable story teller. Despite the slow start to Seaworthy, it still held my interest and the ending is near perfect. So , while I feel the first part could do with a bit of editing, I will still pursue any sequels to this initial novel. Colby and Jason are made for each other and together they are simply gorgeous. Bring on the second book—I am ready to read more about these two swashbuckling heroes.