Review: Cardeno C – Jesse’s Diner (Hope #2)

511sa3j8HXLAuthor: Cardeno C
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: The Romance Authors
Genre: Contemporary
[xrr rating= 3/5]


Two men with a shared history and a mutual attraction must be honest with themselves and each other so both their dreams come true.

Quiet, unassuming Tanner Sellers spends his time running a diner in Hope, Arizona. Not particularly social, twenty-two-year-old Tanner keeps to himself and enjoys his simple life, but he longs for someone to call his own. In his most secret fantasy, that someone is sexy Steve Faus. But Steve is his friend’s father and mentor’s widower and therefore off-limits.

Despite some challenges, thirty-nine-year-old Steve Faus has had a good life. He’s extremely successful at work, has a great relationship with his college-age son, and lives in a wonderful town. Eighteen months after losing his partner, the one thing Steve lacks is someone to share his life. If Steve is honest with himself, that someone is the young man he has known and cared about for years. Steve and Tanner want one another, all they need is a little push in the right direction to make both their dreams come true.


This was a sweet love story, but all while I was reading it, I felt as if something was lacking. It finally occurred to me that the story would have benefited immensely from alternating POV’s to include Steve’s. What we know of him, we learn from Tanner and Jesse’s son, Mike, in flashbacks and discussions of Steve’s widowhood and loneliness. But it felt impersonal and I wasn’t as engaged with him as I was with Tanner.

Twenty-two-year-old Tanner owns Jesse’s Diner in Hope, Arizona. The original Jesse left it to him when he passed away nearly two years before. Tanner was Mike’s best friend and came to live with them when he was a teen. Jesse got him involved in the diner and it was a match made in heaven. Now that Jesse’s gone, Mike assures Tanner that his pop, Steve, and he himself, have no qualms over Jesse leaving him the diner. Mike also takes the opportunity to ask Tanner to check in on his pop since he can’t do it while he’s away at college and pop has seemed lonely lately.

This sets the stage for Tanner to bring dinner to Steve a few weeks in a row and for an always-there attraction to grow between them. Steve is a robust thirty-nine years old and apparently still interested in men if his obvious attraction to Tanner is any indication.

It doesn’t take long for their mutual attraction to become more, and when both men find out the real reason Mike set them up, rather than be shocked, they see it as Jesse having given them his blessing. Ending on an HEA or at least a HFN, there’s enough intriguing information about the town sheriff in this one to make me look forward to the soon-to-be released, Smitty’s Sheriff.

If you love age-gap, virgins, and sweet, fluffy MM love stories, this one is for you.



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