Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
To achieve happiness, they’ll have to find the courage to be their own men.
As first mate on a charter fishing boat, Billy Ray meets a lot of people, but not one of them has made him as uncomfortable as Skippy—because he’s drawn to Skippy as surely as the moon pulls the tides, and he’s almost as powerless to resist. Billy Ray has spent his life denying who he is to avoid the wrath of his religious father, and he can’t allow anyone to see through his carefully built façade.
Skippy is only in town on business and will have to return to Boston once he’s through. After all, his father has certain expectations, and him staying in Florida is not one of them. But he doesn’t count on Billy Ray capturing his attention and touching his heart.
Billy Ray doesn’t realize just how much he and Skippy have in common, though. They’re both living to please their fathers instead of following their own dreams—a fact that becomes painfully obvious when they get to know each other and realize how much joy they’ve denied themselves. While they can’t change the past, they can begin a future together and make up for lost time—as long as they’re willing to face the consequences of charting their own course.
Skippy is a highly successful attorney in his father’s Boston law firm, though the senior managing partner never quite acknowledges his son’s prowess in the courtroom. All his life, he’s sought his father’s approval to no avail and now, on the heels of winning a huge case that made national news, instead of praise and time off, his father hands over a new case in which the firm will represent a development company looking to purchase land that’s currently used for fishing and boating operations in Apalachicola, Florida.
Together with his PA, Alex, and a few friends, Skippy heads to Florida, determined to have fun for a few days before digging into work again. There he meets a young man named Billy Ray, who assists on the boat on which Skippy and his friends are taking a fishing expedition. The boat happens to be owned by Mike and William from Setting the Hook, though they play a minor role in this story and this one can be read as a standalone.
Like Skippy, Billy Ray has a domineering father—in his case, the man is a preacher, and oh yes, he’s the typical bad guy throughout this book, preaching, sermonizing and raining down the hellfire upon Billy Ray’s sodomite soul. Skippy and Billy Ray, who happens to be a virgin, find their way to each other—based in part on their common ground of family issues.
The story then continues in what we would expect in a family drama. Both fathers are strong personalities. Both mothers are weak-willed and working only to complement their masterful husbands. Both are guilty of child neglect in that neither young man had the nurturing love he deserved, and yet both young men have grown strong and lovable despite their starts. So I’m sure readers can see where I’m going with this. Though the setting is lovely, the story is pretty much what one would expect with this background information.
Greg Tremblay’s narration was good but since the author didn’t seem to mention the accents associated with the geographic areas the MCs are from, the narrator didn’t capitalize on the fact that Skippy was from Boston and Billy Ray from the Panhandle area of Florida where the southern accents are so thick that it’s quite evident it is well south of the Mason-Dixon line. So I was a bit disappointed in that. I think it would have greatly added to the story to be able to easily distinguish each man by accent.
In any event, it’s a sweet MM romance, following along expected lines, and those who enjoy a contemporary in which the men grow to be mature and lovable despite family influences will likely enjoy this one.