Lachlan Beattie is determined that this is the year he finally talks to Taran. They’ve both had booths at the Renaissance Frolicke for the past four years, always passing by each other, checking each other out, but never really conversing. This year, their booths are right next to each other and Lachlan thinks it might be his chance. Lachlan girds his loins and walks right over to Taran before the gates even open to start a conversation.
Taran has been doing his own pining over Lachlan, so when the man himself comes to speak to him, he’s thrilled. He questions if he’s reading into it because of his own emotions, but it quickly becomes clear to both men that they are interested in each other. And they have 12 days — 6 weekends — to get to know each other. Things move quickly between them, dinner turning into dates and then more.
When a wildfire threatens the Frolicke, it also threatens Taran’s home. The overnights turn into staying at Lachlan’s home while Taran tries to sort out his life. Both men want it to be forever, but decisions like that made under duress aren’t always sound. Is what’s brewing between them enough to last a lifetime or is it a flash in the pan?
Caluen is a new-to-me author and I was intrigued by the premise of this story. I liked that both the MCs were older, settled in their lives, and looking for forever. The author did a good job showcasing how far they’ve come in life and the stage they are at now.
Both characters were well fleshed out. They were a little shy, a little timid, but they worked so well together. This is a pretty low angst book, even given the natural disaster. It’s clear from the start that the MCs were pining after each other, though I would have liked to see that more, as the reader just had to take a leap of faith that it was true. Given the set up, it seemed a little bit of a leap to really believe that with only a daily glance, these guys couldn’t stop thinking of each other. But I was willing to roll with it because as soon as they got together on page, it was a sweet ride of right place, right time. Taran and Lachlan move seamlessly into a relationship, their communication is great, and they both support each other without being overwhelming.
The narrative style took a bit to get used to though. It was as though the author was telling a story to a friend instead of writing the characters’ story. At times it worked well; at other times it pulled me from the story. It is told in alternating first-person POV, which is a favorite of mine, and gives the reader a good look into each MC. I really appreciated getting both POVs here as it moved the story along nicely. But again, at times, the writing seemed a bit too informal and those times it was jarring. While this was an issue for me, it may not be for other readers, but it’s something to be aware of.
The pacing worked against this story at times for me, as there were parts that seemed to lag. It’s not exactly a slow burn, but it does take them a bit to get together. There also wasn’t a whole lot of conflict to drive things between them, either external or internal. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re looking for a nice read of two people falling in love. But I did find that the story lacked a bit of urgency or push that would have added to the overall storytelling for me.
All in all, I liked this book. Lachlan and Taran are the definition of sweet with heat, and it was gratifying to see two men around 50 finding their happily every after. While it wasn’t without it’s flaws for me, I did enjoy this story. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, I wouldn’t hesitate to say give this one a try.