REVIEWED BY CINDY
TITLE: Without a Compass
AUTHOR: Helen Juliet
LENGTH: 422 Pages
RELEASE DATE: August 22, 2017
Riley Anderson isn’t an outdoorsy guy. He’s a desk jockey, office by day and couch by night. So when his family insists on a camping trip for his father’s 50th birthday he’s hardly thrilled. Things only get worse when Kai shows up, too.
Kai Brandt’s more than eager to go camping with his best buddy, but his buddy’s little brother Riley is all grown up now, and hotter than hell. Kai’s willing to help him pitch more than just a tent… Which is weird, because Kai never swung that way before.
Events conspire to out Riley’s secret AND leave him stranded in Kai’s care for longer than they’d planned for. Trapped together in the wilderness, they’re going to have to face a few hard truths if they’re going to make it back to the world.
But even if they manage it, the experience will leave them forever changed.
Riley and Kai have known each other for a long time. Kai is Riley’s brother’s best friend and he’s been crushing on the older man from afar for a long time.
His father’s birthday is the only thing that could possibly convince him to go camping, something he stopped enjoying a long time ago. Having Kai show up only adds to his anxiety about the whole thing, especially when Kai seems determined to spend as much time with him as possible.
I liked this story. Riley and Kai are both likeable characters who are very human in the funniest of ways. I found myself cheering for them right from the start.
I did have a bit of a problem with Kai’s realisation about his feelings about Riley though. I just had a hard time with how easily he accepted something about himself although it did lead to some humour moments (and a few heartbreaking ones) with Riley.
There’s a lot of sweetness in this story and I was in a mood where that really worked for me. I usually prefer a little more angst in my stories because I find the anticipation adds to my enjoyment of the story. There was more “awkward moments” than outright angst here, but it still pulled me along for a very cute ride. The blurb made the story sound far more dramatic than it turned out to be.
The interactions with the side characters made me smile, although I did find the “villians” of the story to be a little cartoonish. There was no doubt about where their nastiness was going to lead.
All in all, it was a nice story to read on a lazy afternoon, tucked under a blanket with a cup of tea. No really twist and turns, just characters that made me smile and a HEA worthy of the name.