Reviewed by PizzyGirl
SERIES: Lavender Shores #2
AUTHOR: Rosalind Abel
NARRATOR: Kirt Graves
PUBLISHER: Wings of Ink Publications
LENGTH: 8 hours, 23 minutes
RELEASE DATE: December 11, 2017
Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life.
Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay. Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.
Just a warning for those who may be triggered: There is mention of past self destructive sexual practices and suicide attempts.
Well, this was not the story I was anticipating after book one. Though to be fair, I am not 100% sure what I was anticipating, but this was surely not it. This story had darker undertones than I thought would show in this series. But I LOVED THAT.
This story was still quintessential Lavender Shores with the bubbly people and the cute setting. The town was fabulous and more people were introduced that have piqued my interest and make me want to keep coming back for more.
However, the MCs were much more broken and had a darkness to them that gave them a different kind of depth than Andrew and Joel had in the previous book. I was waiting for this story because I connected with Gilbert in book one and I was so glad I took the time to listen. Bothe Gilbert and Walden stole my heart and their journey was perfectly perfect to bring the two of them together in such a meaningful and long lasting way.
Both of these men had some serious inner turmoil and struggles that frustrated me at times and broke my heart at others. I loved seeing both men grow and change and face things in life they seemed to purposely reject as not possible. Walden’s journey was not as self flagellating as Gilbert’s seemed. Both men seemed to be punishing themselves out of guilt but Gilbert was also forcing himself into penance.
I loved that Walden wore his heart on his sleeve and that brought out instincts in Gil that ripped his self imposed walls to the ground and it was great seeing him open up and let Walden in. I didn’t understand why he connected with Walden at first, or why he kept coming back to Walden, or even why he decided Walden was the one, but once they were together and Gil kept coming back, I was rooting for them to make it. I was rooting for Gil to forgive himself and for Walden to do the same so that these men could learn to love and love well. And when they did, it was beautiful because these men were healing. They were helping each other on a never ending journey. But the acceptance they found in each other, certainly helped them forgive and learn to love. It was a wonderful feeling.
I loved the dual POV because I really got to know these men better, get into their heads, and see their reactions to each other. I don’t think this particular story would have worked in a single POV because both men were vital to this outcome and I needed to know their struggles and their thoughts. It was important for me to see both sides of the equation as both men needed to forgive themselves and grow. And they did that together.
The final thing to note was that this book was a LOT more sexualized than the previous due to the history these men brought to the table. And while I normally HATE books that focus so much on sex or use sex to demonstrate romance, it was necessary and understood in this one. It was a part of these men and this book would not have made the same impact had the sex been trivialized or watered down. It was key to understanding these men, their hurts, their broken pieces, and to see and feel their forgiveness and healing. It was HOT, but that was minor compared to the feeling the sex brought out and the way the sex highlighted the issues these men had to deal with. I thought it was done very well.
I highly recommend this series and this story. It is romance at its finest giving you everything you need and so much more. You will not regret picking this one up.
I like Kirt Graves as the narrator for this series. He emphasized the interesting, weird, and light hearted quality of the town and its people while also bringing out the emotions and the depth each character needed to be whole. His voices were not any different than the first story and often I got confused over which MC is which, but in the end, I enjoyed my journey and recommend this audiobook if you are a fan of audiobooks.