Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 7 hours, 51 minutes
Sage Rafferty is a fabulously out gay man living his best life running his dream restaurant, Bluefin, in his hometown of Coral Pointe Inlet, Florida. Sage has lived there his whole life, and he was ecstatic when his childhood friend, Cole, returned to town about a year ago. That meant Cole’s four college besties also moved to town to open their hospitality company. Finally, Levi Hansen, one of Cole’s business partners, is around all the time, instead of only for brief visits. Sage met Levi when he tagged along to Coral Pointe Inlet on trips with Cole, and Sage has been pretty much captivated by the tall, dark, and broody man ever since. He has often shamelessly flirted with Levi, but without any success. So, after a solid year of no progress landing Levi’s attention, Sage is moving on to find himself a husband. He desperately wants a family and he wants to start working on that now. Even if it means going on bad blind dates with incompatible men to find someone besides Levi with whom to cuddle up.
Levi likes Sage a lot. He thinks he’s smart and confident and attractive. Unfortunately, Levi believes Sage is way out of his league. Levi’s always struggled with connecting to people, probably because his childhood was stained by the casual neglect of his self-centered single mother. Making friends with Cole and the rest of their crew was a lifeline in college, but his insecurity makes Levi a little dense when it comes to Sage’s teasing. Is he really hitting on Levi? His friends all say yes, and when Levi’s just convinced himself to ask Sage out, he learns that Sage has finally met a man with whom he seems compatible. And, it’s pretty crushing. But Levi won’t leave a friend in need, so he pitches in at Bluefin when Sage is too short staffed due to illness. And, that’s when they finally both connect.
Landing Levi is a sweet romance, with lots of fun and flirty moments. Levi’s struggle to believe he’s worthy of love really struck a chord for me, and Sage’s easy adoration of everyone was such a balm. I really enjoyed the audiobook, as Kirt Graves’ narration of Levi’s sexy Florida drawl was super enticing. I got lulled into the story, even as the beginning overlaps with the timeframe of Convincing Cole. The narration has strong emotive action, with good pacing and clear delineation of the many characters. I liked it the first time through, and surely enjoyed it more with further listens.
This is a good follow-up for the Shore Thing series, with deeper storytelling than Convincing Cole. Sage and Levi are great characters–one larger than life, and one who just wants to be important to someone special. Their sweetness is delicious, and their sexy times are fun and steamy. We also get great looks at the remaining three friends who have yet to find their loves. The way these characters all lean on one another was cool to experience. I definitely would read/listen to the next book.