Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
[xrr rating= 4/5]
When love wars with principle, which one will win?
Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small portion of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Determined to make amends to his neglected teenage daughter from a failed marriage, Mark swears off work—and love—so he can give her a stable home environment. But Mark’s resolve to keep his heart under wraps is tested when he meets an out and proud young man he’s instantly drawn to.
Patrick Owen is a charity worker with strong principles. He doesn’t trust easily, but he’s blown away by his attraction for the older man who’s so new to his own sexuality. Yet Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter—and Patrick refuses to live a lie.
What with Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and his flirtatious ex-colleague who’s determined to come between them, Patrick begins to wonder if they’ll ever be on the same page. And when Mark’s career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, sparks really start to fly—in all the wrong ways.
What a great series this is turning out to be. As with the other books, starting with Caught, this one is set in the village of Shamwell, about a half hour outside of London. In this one, Mark Nugent quits his lucrative job as a highly success tax adviser to the wealthy so that he can take full-time custody of his teen daughter, who is proving to be too much for his ex-wife to handle.
Florence, or Fen as she wants to be called, hates that her father is not the man he was when she was young and they were a family; she hates living in the country; she hates her new school; she pretty much hates everything—total teen angst! Mark had wanted to liberate his inner gay man, but when he gets custody, he realizes he may have to live a celibate life because he can’t imagine coming out to his teen daughter. But when he meets out-and-proud Patrick Owen, a man who heads a local charitable organization and is drop-dead gorgeous, he struggles to keep his resolve.
Just as he’s thinking maybe he can somehow get to know Patrick better, his former PA, David, comes to help him prepare for his induction into the local Spartans group—Mark had decided to set an example for his daughter by joining a local organization—but when Patrick catches David and Mark in a compromising position, he jumps to the wrong conclusion and that potential romance stalls out.
Add in complications with his daughter’s former school friends, misunderstandings and assumptions by both men in his life, and a fun three-legged race and you get a very entertaining story. There are serious issues as well, and both Patrick and Mark have to face some truths in their lives, but with perseverance and a lot of humor, Mark and Patrick find their way to their HEA.
I love this author’s writing style and sense of humor, and I swear each story gets a bit better than those that came before. I understand David will get his own story next, and I can’t wait to get started. I highly recommend this story, and the whole series, to those who enjoy MM romance, particularly stories set in rural villages in the British Isles.