Author: Nessa L. Warin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 7th, 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥2 Hearts
Blurb: All Shawn Neale is looking for when he stumbles into All Corked Up on Christmas Eve is some wine recommendations. What he finds is an instant attraction to Royce Wilkinson, the shop’s owner. After a few weeks of flirting during shopping and some semi-dates at Royce’s wine tastings, they decide on a real date. It goes well, but life isn’t that simple.
Shawn wants to buy Delicto, the local pub he manages. He’s been planning his life around this for years, but when the owner, who believes being gay is an illness, discovers Shawn went out with Royce, he gives Shawn an ultimatum: stop dating guys or he won’t get to buy Delicto. It’s a heartbreaking quandary: Can Royce and Shawn be happy with a secret relationship until Shawn buys Delicto or is Shawn going to have to choose between his dream job and his dream guy?
Review: As I start reading this book, I feel warm and all excited. It has a very nice beginning what with Shawn showing up at Royce’s shop and wanting rec for wine, as he’s clueless; all this on Christmas Eve and chemistry flaring up with flirtation hit the heat in a heartbeat…
All lead to a very good read until Henry (Shawn’s boss) came in view and we got to see the MC’s real character. I did NOT like Shawn at all. As in “what the hell just happened?” and “how did this read got screwed up like this?”
Shawn has been working for years in a restaurant. He has been saving to buy that restaurant from his boss when he retires. His boss knows Shawn is gay and believes he’s sick, thus while he doesn’t fire him insists that Shawn should not “flaunt” his sickness and if he does so, he will not sell the place to him… And of course buying the place has been Shawn’s dream so he lets a homophobic prick interfere with his personal life. Ok, I get it, having a prick for a boss is not easy, but Shawn – his behavior and personality – was so weird that I couldn’t like him at all. All good impression I had from the beginning of the book was immediately lost and never recovered.
As for Royce, he is yet another flat character that had no appeal to me whatsoever. He seemed a bit charming as the story started and I was eager to get to know him, but he failed to exhibit anything from that point on. Al least for me.
And the rest of the crew – yeah I mean Anastasia and Clint – good God, what on earth were they and where did they come from? I can’t even begin to imagine the horror of having such friends. Perhaps it’s because my own experiences are void of such meddling and awfully prying people, but I despised them both with a passion. Honey, I love you and care for you, but for the love of everything sacred know your boundaries. I kept shuddering and cringing in horror every time those characters were mentioned.
Romance-wise this fell flat for me. Nothing, zero, zip! It was one of the most awkward things I’ve read on the romantic and erotic part. When the guys finally – finally – came together I was left feeling nothing. They simply didn’t take me with them. Perhaps it was because their first interaction happened in an alley, perhaps it was because it followed the scene when Shawn “stood up” to his boss and I kept thinking “is that how people stand up for themselves?” and constantly going back to that scene, recalling it even as I was reading the pair’s rutting. Bottom end they didn’t inspire any hot thoughts or emotions for me.
As a conclusion, while this book was not bad, it definitely didn’t do it for me.