Publisher: Riptide Publishing
How did I get this book: Netgalley
Release date: Out now
Former boy band member Justin Hayes isn’t looking for a man. He just wants a quiet, scandal-free Christmas at home in Chicago, out of the public eye. But his best friend and bandmate is subjecting everyone to his destination wedding, and Justin can’t dodge the “best man” bullet. All he has to do is get to the island on time, survive the reunion, and get Chuck to the altar with as little drama as possible. What could possibly go wrong?
Jack Bassinger’s own plans for a quiet Christmas have been dashed by the summons to his daughter’s hasty wedding with a man Jack has hardly met. On the bumpy flight to the island, he finds himself comforting a nervous—and extremely attractive—young man. One hasty sexual encounter in an airport bathroom later, they both feel much better. No one ever has to know, after all.
Now Justin and Jack must find a way to explore their attraction, despite the distractions of disapproving family members, unexpected announcements, an impromptu concert, and an island paradise that proves there’s no place like home.
*Blurb taken from Goodreads*
I really liked the sound of this novella with the pop star hero falling for the father of the bride of his best friend’s fiancé. The beginning started off well with the plane ride. I loved the description of air turbulence and the tension Justin experienced. Right from the start with Jack sitting next to Justin, you get the sense of authority from Jack as he stayed calm and helped Justin cope.
The tension between them was strung tight with Jack holding Justin’s hand in full view of everyone. Justin had not come out publicly yet but in that moment the feel of Jack’s hand kept him grounded. There was some good tension, and the sparks of humour with Justin not wanting to die from “cloud farts,” and his reaction afterwards of Jack, the “grabby man coddler” was hilarious. But when the plane journey came to an end, Justin did a quick runner because of what happened with Jack. I enjoyed the fast pace of Justin’s POV when he ran away physically and mentally. It built-up until it suddenly came to a crescendo when Jack cornered him and they both had an intense hand foreplay session together in the airport’s restroom. I was enjoying everything up to that point but when the reveal came of who Jack and Justin were, I had issues with the pace of the story and the forced humour.
Jack and Justin barely have a romance in the story. There were so many secondary and surplus characters that their romance got put to one side and I felt there wasn’t any strong sexual or emotional connection. It seemed to have disappeared. There were lots and lots of characters for a novella. And because of that, the story suffered with no emotional connection between Jack and Justin and the sex scenes weren’t very sexy. The one time they start fooling around, I had a hard time believing that Jack would be so blasé about his son and Justin’s bandmates catching them in the act. And the reactions of some of the characters felt like a caricature. There is no build-up of tension between Justin and Jack because they hardly spend any alone-time together for a romance. There’s a quick and convenient epilogue where Jack and Justin have their HEA, yet the entire build-up of a romance was missing. The whole story is concentrated on the humour of Justin’s bandmates and their reactions. There was lots of banter that felt like forced humour and I didn’t quite get the humour.
I did like the beginning of the novella but the rest of the story lacked romance and suffered from way too many characters for a novella.
I give it a C-