Author: Chris Scully
Length: 147 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 30th, 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Happy
Blurb: Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.
When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.
As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7560
Review: I wanted to love this story. I really did. I always enjoy it when people find each other after years apart, and I had high hopes for “Happy”. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect with the characters.
I grew up around families of Mediterranean descent, and family is the most important thing in their lives. They’re utterly devoted to one another, and sometimes, that isn’t such a good thing.
Peter has allowed his family to hold him down for years and years, and it drove me freaking NUTS! Peter is trapped living in his parents’ home. Even though the basement has been converted into an “apartment”, he has zero privacy, with his mother just walking in, picking up his laundry, and hounding him about everything.
He’s stuck working in the family’s restaurant. He’s supposed to be running it, and he has so many ideas to make it more successful, but his father continues to shoot all of them down. Worst of all, he’s being forced to date a woman (of his Mother’s choosing), even though he’s gay. He’s expected to marry her and crank out babies. He’s absolutely miserable, and even though I felt sorry for him, I wanted to throttle him for tolerating all of this.
Louie has just broken up, and he’s come home to nurse his broken heart. He just so happens to be the brother of the woman poor Peter has been dating. Louie crushed on Peter back in high school, and when he sees him, he starts all over again. Knowing it should be forbidden, he allows himself to become close to Peter…as friends.
It makes him sad and angsty, and Peter gives off so many mixed signals. He flirts, he touches, and he gets jealous when Louie goes on dates. It became uncomfortable to me. Once again, I wanted to throttle Peter because of what he was doing to Louie’s heart.
I hated Peter’s family, especially his mother. She’s written stereotypically…overbearing and obnoxious. She berates Peter for hanging around with Louie because of his sexual orientation. She wants Peter to go into counseling with the priest of the Orthodox Church the family attends…to pretty much pray the gay away.
Peter had a few good friends, though, and they were relatively supportive. Louie’s relationship with HIS family is strained, to say the least. They’re shamed by his homosexuality. Thankfully, toward the end, he and his sister become close again.
I feel like I’m ranting here. Well, I guess I am. I had a queasy feeling in my stomach the entire time I was reading. There were some parts that were enjoyable. I loved the sex scenes. They were very hot. Especially the one in the dark restaurant. The way Peter and Louie come together and unite through a crisis is great as well.
The last 20% or so saved this one for me. Chris Scully’s writing style is smooth but very detailed. Even though “Happy” was only a 3.5 for me, I won’t hesitate to read some more of his work.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *