companion required audio coverStory Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Richard Reynolds
Length: 7 hours, 23 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

Kennedy Grey is a successful security company CEO, but he thinks he’s a failure at relationships. He’s 42 and his long-time partner, Patrick, walked away from him 5 years ago. Kennedy has no intentions of finding another man with whom to share his life. However, he plans a regular holiday trip with his coterie of gay friends and he’s been bringing a hired companion since Patrick left him. It’s no-strings and no sex required, but Kennedy likes a pretty young thing to show off and spend time with while traveling with his pals. Last year, Patrick attended and it was a disaster. Unfortunately, Kennedy’s options for a fit companion are thin on the ground.

Kieran West is a 29-year-old straight man, newly single, newly unemployed, and newly homeless, couch surfing at his sister’s apartment. He’s been studying for his business degree and is in dire need of cash for his own education and his younger brother’s tuition, plus he needs to get a flat. Kieran overhears Kennedy interviewing a series of young, blonde men and gets the mistaken idea that the dapper man is looking for an assistant. It’s a bit awkward when Kennedy makes it clear he wants a gay companion, though there is no requirement for sex with him. Kieran rallies, and despite being too tall, too old, too educated, too brunette, and too straight to meet Kennedy’s expectations for a traveling companion, he’s far and away the best prospect. So, they plan to undertake a platonic holiday together. And, those earnest plans go well awry. Not only because Patrick turns up on the cruise, with his younger boyfriend.

This is an enchanting, tender romance featuring a closed off man who likes to be in charge, and the engaging, charming companion who knows his own worth. The narration by Richard Reynolds is fluid and delicious, with great pacing and emotive energy. It’s a rotating POV story, and it was clear which character was speaking. Kieran is so genuine and courteous, he wins over Kennedy’s family and friends with little effort. It’s very impressive to Kennedy, who’s used to being on the outside when it comes to his family and their strained relationships. Kieran is stunned at the grandeur of traveling experiences with Kennedy, but he’s just as captivated by Kennedy himself. He hadn’t anticipated a bisexual awakening while traveling all over southeast Asia. I loved hearing Kieran’s mind being blown, as he experiences his first–and subsequently many–sexual encounters with a man.

Unfortunately, legal stipulations in Kennedy’s contract with Kieran cause a slight hiccup, but there’s a completely happy ending. The epilogue exceeded my expectations too, for HEA swoons. I just adored this book and highly recommend for fans of British contemporary romances.