Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella


Yuuki wouldn’t say it’s easy being a member of the Yakuza, but it’s easier than dealing with his mother’s constant requests for a grandchild. Mostly because he’s gay, but also because he can’t help but feel the pressure of his mother’s happiness weighing down on him. Not only is Yuuki her only child, but cancer has left his mother frail and tired in a way that makes Yuuki nervous. He decides to find a woman to marry to put his mother’s heart at rest. Maybe one with a child already? Sham marriages aren’t uncommon. Making one’s parents happy is, after all, a responsibility felt keenly in Japan and, for members of the LGBTQ+ community, it can be easier to marry someone who understands you, who will turn a blind eye to long dinners or weekend with friends, who will show up and make the in-laws happy with conversation and smiles. Far kinder than marrying someone who will only be made unhappy by Yuuki’s disinterest in women.

When Yuuki’s friend and boss decides to treat him to a tailored suit for his birthday, Yuuki comes face to face with his childhood sweetheart, Kazuki. Kazuki, who had been the bright, glowing class president, the confident and charismatic love of his adolescence … who, it turned out, was engaged to be married. Yuuki has never gotten past that hurt, that betrayal. But something in the way Kazuki smiles up at him makes him want to try again.

This is a standalone entry in the Yakuza Path Romance series, taking place in modern day Japan with Korean and Japanese mobs, offhand mentions of illicit activities, and a fashion show. You don’t need to be familiar either with the other books in this series or even the Yakuza in order to enjoy this book, as the focus is entirely on the reunion and growing romance between the two main characters.

Yuuki, for all that he’s in the Yakuza, is not exactly an active participant. Mostly, he’s a tech guy. Someone who fetches and carries, drives and delivers, and doesn’t really want to climb the ladder. If he could, he’d probably sneak out the back door but … that’s not how it works. Not when his aunt, currently in prison, is the head of of the Yakuza family he’s a part of. All Yuuki really wants is to take care of his mother and her dogs, and to have someone to fall in love with.

Kazuki is working himself into the ground. He was a good husband while he and his wife were married, but when it turned out he was infertile, their marriage ended. Unfortunately, everyone seems to think it was his fault, that he did this on purpose to hurt Hana, and now other designers won’t work with him. His reputation has been dragged through the mud. If it weren’t for the Yakuza constantly wanting custom made suits, Kazuki might have a hard time taking care of his new business. When he sees Yuuki again, it’s as if he’s given a moment to breathe, to look away from his work and the mess of his office and — for a moment — let his eyes linger on something beautiful. Some moment of stillness.

This is a fast novella, well written with a tight focus on the two characters. I enjoyed their maturity, but, in all honesty, I didn’t really feel a connection between them. They went from glaring to cuddling, fighting to fucking, with the same level of energy. This isn’t a bad book, I just found it to be predictable. However, it’s well done and a quick and easy read if you’re in the mood for a reconciliation with a light sprinkle of mob on the side.