Jeremy Fitzgerald is a world-renowned concert pianist and he plays all the biggest venues and wins awards. Jeremy hasn’t been so fortunate with relationships though and when he gets into a car accident when his boyfriend is driving, Jeremy’s world flips. He’s not only hurt in the accident, but he develops an addiction to pain killers and then becomes a recluse living with his best friend, Evan. Evan is getting married soon and he wants Jeremy to play at his wedding. In order to get Jeremy ready, Evan sends him to the wedding venue, the Moonlight Inn, at the Jersey Shore, a month ahead of the wedding date.
Jeremy is reluctant to go at first, but he knows he needs to take steps to get his career and his life back. The reluctance falls away when he meets Sean O’Neil, the owner of the Moonlight Inn. Sean is different than the men Jeremy has dated in the past and his encouragement helps Jeremy feel safe. Jeremy is growing more confident every day and he’s taking steps to play on the world stage once again. But Sean has ties and responsibilities in New Jersey and Jeremy may have to reevaluate what he wants out of his career.
This is a debut book and Jeremy and Sean start off the Down the Shore series. The outline of the story was interesting, with a pianist seeking refuge in a small inn while still being recognized. Jeremy’s life is laid out for us with a background of wealthy but cold parents, making wrong choices in both boyfriends and his agent, and then a life changing accident that nearly cost him everything. Jeremy’s recovery has been slow, and without his best friend, Evan, things would have been incredibly different.
Sean inherited the inn from the previous owner who Sean had developed a close friendship with and while there was plenty of money to go around in the will, the man’s family is enraged that the property was left to Sean. Sean and Jeremy are attracted to each other at first meeting and their relationship moves fast. That is fine for me, but I need to feel that intense connection and I didn’t feel that here. This was an issue for me for the entire book, as I felt there was a lack of connection and emotion to every scene.
There is also a lot going on in this book. Jeremy and Sean both have friends that appear on page who are in relationships and many scenes came off as awkward and like these characters already had a story. There are also storylines with Jeremy’s ex, Jeremy’s family, Sean’s family, and the family of the man that Sean inherited the inn from, and there is a bodyguard and an IT specialist and inn employees and their children and homophobia and it was a lot all wedged in. We also see Jeremy play the piano often, which should add to the story, but I felt like the choices of music were too familiar and commonplace for a musician of his stature. I am also familiar with setting of the book and it seemed that certain places were added in as checkmarks and there wasn’t a natural flow to any of this. Then, towards the end we do see the potential set up for the next book.
I do like to read new authors, but for me, this book needed a tighter direction and the emotional connection to come off the page to make these guys work better.