Dylan has been an actor since he was a kid and he still loves the industry and is trying to make a bigger name for himself. Well, he wants to be known for his acting and not only for being one of the biggest players in Hollywood. Dylan loves the art of seduction and he never has an empty bed as men and women both fall for his dedicated charm. He soothes himself with bed partners, as he’s in love with his two best friends, Jason and Ben, but they are in love with each other. Dylan had his chance with Jason and, while monogamy isn’t in Dylan’s vocabulary, it doesn’t take the sting out of seeing Jason and Ben so happy.
Still, Dylan finds himself on an extended vacation with Jason and Ben in the Bahamas at a resort that claims to be like the show Fantasy Island—not the reboot, but the 80s version (as according to Ben, that’s the best version). Dylan has his list of priorities, which includes getting laid and finding the famous director that is also on the island. His plans take a detour when he meets Connor, who is still healing from a breakup and wary of Dylan’s reputation. At first, Dylan just wants to get Connor into bed, but he finds himself thinking of the man all of the time and looking forward to their tennis and dinner dates. Connor refuses to let himself be seduced by Dylan, but the island has its own plans for the men and their vacation in the sun may be more than either of them want to handle.
Winter Dreams was the surprise book of the year for me as its predecessor, Winter Oranges, was released back in 2015. The first book was magical and featured Jason and Ben, with Dylan as Jason’s friend with benefits. I remembered so much about Jason and Ben and less about Dylan, but I got quickly reacquainted with him in this new book. While this is Dylan’s story, Jason and Ben are central figures here as well and I felt it did help to have the entire backstory from Winter Oranges.
I liked Dylan’s first-person narrative right from the start, as he tells it like he sees it. Dylan is a player. He knows this and he loves seduction, but not just the easy ones; he loves the challenges as well. We get more insight into Dylan’s relationship with Jason and how their time together and then their time apart has affected Dylan. We also get more insight into Dylan and the challenges he has faced that make him the way he is.
Connor was more bland for me and I would have liked to see Dylan paired with someone a little more dynamic. Connor also has his own story tied to a breakup and his job that I felt was so clearly telegraphed from the start and I didn’t understand how this was supposed to be a big reveal. And, at the end, I didn’t see what it was about Connor that made Dylan so secure and want to change his ways. The island was almost another character as wishes, desires, and dreams can prey upon the guests and while it wasn’t a new idea, it still made for an interesting backdrop.
This book was less magical than the first, but still managed to create its own special scenes. It truly was a highlight to check in with Ben and Jason and then see Dylan evolve so much over the story to get his own HEA.