A lovely romance to round out what’s been a superb series from the Expanded World of True North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a lovely way to end the Vino & Veritas series and also the second (or third) book I’ve read which is based on a Gay News story.
The basic premise is that one poster was worried they were homophobic because they hated everyone their flatmate dated. Turns out, they were in love with the flatmate – all ended happily at time of printing 😀
You can read the Reddit thread here: https://www.reddit.com/r/SuddenlyGay/…
Leslie McAdam’s version is super sweet and involves one of my favourite characters in the whole expanded World of True North – Murph, who works behind the bar at V&V and who is Reeve’s best friend from Marley Valentine’s Unforgettable
Murph is out and proud, he’s a ray of sunshine with all the sass, but he’s also vulnerable and hiding deep hurt.
When he becomes Jason’s flatmate, there is an instant connection between the two, but Jason’s straight, right?
What I loved most about the narrative is the friendship – irrespective of any attraction from either side – that the men genuinely have between them. They are ridiculous sweet and so good for each other, encouraging the best and putting new possibilities for a different future.
Jason is stuck in a job working with his father, he’s spent his whole life repressing anything which doesn’t fit into the conservative worldview of his dad and he’s still looking for his approval.
He has a hook-up for sex but he’s never desired anything more than that. He’s still smarting over his mum leaving years before and is vulnerable to pressure from outside opinions.
Murph’s vulnerabilities are all internal. He left Vegas and a toxic relationship where he was forced to hide and pretend he wasn’t involved with his boyfriend while he met women and behaved as if he was a single man. It’s made Murph feel he’s not worthy of love.
Jason’s sister Becky provides a wonderful sounding block for him to re-examine his earlier years and wake him up to the fact he’s jealous. Jason begins to understand he’s actually bisexual and has been attracted to men before.
Their slow build-up into an actual relationship, both emotional and physical, is super sweet, and quite steamy at times. It’s not all plain sailing of course, Jason’s hook-up causes problems, his dad is an ar$e and Murph runs.
There is a bit of drama before they both accept that they are deserving of the other, and it’s that which took my rating down a star.
I can’t be doing with self-sabotaging and it’s definitely a me thing, as I know it’s quite realistic, I just don’t particularly care to read it when it comes down to what essentially works out as woe is me type posturing.
For Murph, he needed to get over his martyrdom tendencies and bestie Reeve is on hand to hold a less than shiney mirror up for him to finally face his fears.
Jason is absolutely committed to making Murph his and he does it in spectacular fashion. I loved how he was so willing to embrace his new reality once he’d woken up to the fact he was in love with Murph and that he wanted to make changes elsewhere in his life too.
My only other comment would be that both Murph and Jason read as older (23 and 26 accordingly). Not that it’s necessarily a problem per se, but if their ages hadn’t been mentioned, I’d have put both much closer to their 30s simply because of their behaviour.
Ultimately, all’s well, and there is a lovely Epilogue which firmly seals these two together and brings a happy ending to the series.
#ARC kindly received from the publishers Heart Eyes Press in return for an honest and unbiased review