finding mr. fabulousRating: 4.75 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Rex Heligan knows he should say something when it he spots a man seemingly breaking into his horrid boss’ house, but Rex isn’t sure he can bring himself to stop him. And he definitely shouldn’t end up having a hot night of sex with the would-be thief, Devesh Singh-Smith. Rex assumes things with Dev will be one and done, just like almost all of his sex partners. So Rex is surprised when he is helping out a friend for a school career day and encounters Dev again. It gives the men a chance to reconnect, even if the whole attempted thievery and hookup makes it a little awkward.

Rex adores his grandfather, who is his only family after both Rex’s parents died. Rex may be a busy banker by day, but he is also heir to his grandfather’s dukedom, a small island off the coast of Cornwall. The two of them run a refuge on the island focused on trafficking victims, which is Rex and his grandfather’s true passion. Unfortunately, Rex’s employer ties its charitable funding of the project to Rex’s job success, which means he is constantly stretched thin with never ending work. So when Rex’s grandfather is forgetting to take his medicine and seems a little off, Rex is worried, but can’t miss an important business trip to America. As it turns out, Dev is a historian who worked for Rex’s good friend Charles and his brother cataloging some of their family’s possessions and tracing their family tree. Rex and Dev work out a deal that Dev will stay with Rex’s grandfather for a few days working through the various Heligan family history, while also keeping an eye on the older man by pretending to be dating Rex.

Rex is surprised to find himself constantly thinking of Dev while he is away and enjoying his updates about his time with Rex’s grandfather. Men for Rex are usually a revolving door, so he isn’t used to someone really making a lasting impression. And when Rex returns home, he finds that he doesn’t want Dev to leave. The men connect on so many levels and Rex not only finds Dev sexy and enticing, but also enjoys spending time with him and sharing his home, his favorite place in the world. It warms Rex’s heart to see how well Dev gets along with his grandfather, and Rex enjoys hearing the stories about Dev’s own family. In fact, Rex begins to realize he wants Dev for more than just a short term visitor, he is beginning to imagine what life with Dev could be like. But turning their brief relationship into something long term isn’t going to be easy. Dev’s job takes him all over the country and when his dream opportunity comes around, Rex doesn’t want him to miss it. And when Rex gets some news of his own, it turns things upside down for him. But Dev and Rex have found something special, something neither of them expected, and both men are determined to find a way to a long and happy future together.

Finding Mr. Fabulous was such a wonderful story, full of warmth, great character development, and lots of heat and romance. This is technically a standalone novel, but fans of Con Riley’s work may remember Rex and Dev from the author’s Learning to Love series. Rex is close friends with and a former bed partner to Charles, and Dev is the man leading the project to clear out the Heppel family attics. This story will definitely work on its own, but Charles does play a prominent side role, Hugo appears a few times, and we get a couple of scenes at Glynn Harber, so the larger world ties nicely together.

I make no secret of my absolute adoration for Charles, and I am happy to say that if you enjoyed that book, I think you are really going to love this one too. The tone feels very similar to me and the characters just steal the show. I loved the set up here, with Rex stumbling upon Dev apparently stealing from Rex’s boss… and Rex thinking he hates his boss enough he isn’t sure he cares. It is just such a fun spark to kick things off, followed by a heated night for the men. There is a little bit of an enemies to lovers element here as Charles still believes Dev was up to no good that night (and we do later learn what exactly was happening), but at the same time, the men connect so quickly and effortlessly. When Rex sees how well his grandfather responds to Dev, he has no doubts about asking Dev to keep an eye on him. I love watching Rex and Dev move from minor adversaries, to short-term lovers, to realizing they were truly falling for one another. I also really enjoyed seeing each man open up and share with each other (and, as a result, with us as readers) their deep passions and the things that make them the happiest. There is just this lovely sense here of two men opening themselves up and sharing a part of themselves in a way they rarely do with others. They are smitten before they can really accept it, and it is so much fun to see.

This story is set in Cornwall and Rex’s pride and joy is his family home on a beautiful island off the coast. He and his grandfather run a group that watches the waters for wayward boats, particularly smuggling victims, and they take their role as protectors very seriously. There is a nice sense of history here, of a family that lives by certain values and takes service seriously. Rex’s sense of family and duty makes a fun juxtaposition to his sort of “man whore” vibe. Riley does such a wonderful job setting the scene for us as readers and bringing this lovely little island and the surrounding area to life. I could practically picture it as I read and it really added such a nice element to the overall story.

The plot takes a bit of a turn later in the book in a way I didn’t fully seemed coming. I think in lesser hands it could have felt like a weird detour or out of place, but Riley does such a great job tying things all together. While I didn’t anticipate what would happen, once we learn more, I could see those little seeds sown throughout the book that grounded the storyline nicely. I’ll also add that I loved the nod to Dev’s cultural history and the way the story touches on the appropriation of cultural and historical artifacts by colonizing countries. In this case, many of the families Dev works with have art and artifacts from other countries that were stolen or “protected” and a good deal of Dev’s work is finding ways to share or repatriate some of these works. So this added some nice depth to Dev’s character and the story overall.

I really found this book so rewarding, so delicious and entertaining. I loved Rex and Dev and they totally stole my heart. I adored Rex’s grandfather and found it so sweet to see the strong bond between him and Rex. I thrilled at getting some great scenes between Rex and Charles and getting a glimpse into Charles’ family life. And overall, I just loved this story and can highly recommend it.

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