“Call me if you need anything. Anything,” I said as I hugged my best friend tightly.
“I promise. Can you do me a favor?” Dylan replied […]
Andrew is good at his job. He’s spent the past ten years as a concierge of various establishments — hotels, resorts, cruise ships — making sure things go swimmingly. Unfortunately, Andrew’s ex-boyfriend screwed him over and he had to pull strings and ask friends for help finding a new job. Now, Andrew’s working on billionaire Rowan Carter’s yacht, the Now, Voyager. His first meeting with his new boss doesn’t go great, however. First, Andrew gets sprayed by a hose, leaving him in soaking wet clothes. Then, he insults the shirtless (and handsome) idiot who did this to him … who just so happens to be his new boss.
Oh Buoy is the first book in the Voyagers series, and while there is a Christmas dinner on board the boat, I wouldn’t call this a holiday romance, since Christmas lasts barely a chapter. The book is nicely balanced between a business plot, as Rowan is trying to keep his position of CEO of his family’s company; a workplace romance, as Rowan and Andrew make eyes at one another; and a set up for future books, with Rowan’s best friend and little brother both making appearances.
Andrew and Rowan get along very well, both appreciating the other’s intelligence, easy charm, and good looks, and they fall into conversations almost as if they’ve known each other more than a few days. Andrew treats Rowan like he would anyone else, trying to get his stressed boss to come with him for a brief shore leave as they visit a spa and swim in the ocean. Andrew is good at getting along with people, caring and attentive to their needs. Rowan, for all that he, too, had a bad and public breakup with his ex, is a born negotiator. He knows how to smooth ruffled feathers, how to schmooze when the situation calls for it, and exactly the tone of voice to use when he’s ordering Andrew to his knees.
However, there’s a problem. Rowan is Andrew’s boss, and considering that Andrew just broke up with a reality star whose fans still won’t leave him alone, Rowan’s name still gets traction and clicks, which means that his romance with Andrew needs to be kept a secret. If it gets out, this could ruin any future business deals for Rowan, especially with his uncle threatening to remove him as CEO of the company. So their kisses must be kept quiet, their flirtations a little less obvious, and the love between them has to be locked away and the two men must pretend it doesn’t exist. Rowan and Andrew know this; Rowan’s best friend knows this. Even Rowan’s little brother knows this. But all of it just makes the two men crave each other more.
I like seeing a balanced relationship where both parties are on equal footing — personality wise, if not penny wise. However, when it came to the romance, I just didn’t feel the connection. That’s not to say it wasn’t there; the author wrote the flirting skillfully; side characters were noticing left, right, and center how Rowan and Andrew were constantly staring at one another. However, for me, there was zero chemistry and no tension. It felt like the two were naturally in sync with one another as friends, not lovers, and it overall left me feeling slightly tepid about this book. However, even without the combustion, the characterization was strong and I honestly liked both Andrew and Rowan as people. The writing was good and smooth, and all of the story beats landed well enough. Just because this book didn’t quite do it for me doesn’t mean another reader won’t enjoy it more. If you try this book, I hope you enjoy it!