Review: Nicole Dennis – Whatever It Takes

whateverAuthor: Nicole Dennis
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: At a crossroads in life, one man will do whatever he must to rekindle the spark.

It takes an eye-opening talk for Riley Gordan to realize there’s something wrong in his twelve-year relationship with Conor Flemming. He creates extravagant events for same-sex proposals and weddings to over-the-top holiday parties, but he never considered one for Conor and him. Busier than ever, he realized his time with Conor had shrunk. He decides to use his event planning skills and put them to work to rekindle the spark.

Conor Flemming creates extraordinary cakes for anything from a cancer survivor’s celebration of life to a same-sex wedding, but never one for himself. When it comes to his life with Riley, he knows it’s failing, but not sure where it all went wrong. The silence hurts and worries him. Until a flurry of text messages changes the situation.
Review: This is a sweet story of how you can take things for granted until it gets to the point of ruining what you have. Riley is a party planner of the highest caliber and his business is booming. He is meticulous with details and hires only the best. His long time partner, Conor, bakes amazing cakes and this works right into Riley’s success.
The problem is that they have grown apart to the point where they don’t even really talk anymore. More like passing strangers who happen to share space. The advent of same-sex marriage means business is booming more than every but they’ve never brought up their own. “Why hadn’t they discussed exchanging vows and making their partnership permanent?” It’s so easy to let things slip. To make it worse, their businesses are in the same building, next door to each other. It takes a sound verbal thrashing from Conor’s best friend, Patricia, for Riley to realize how dreadfully wrong everything is. He tries to blame Connor as well, but Patricia is quick to put him straight. “I’ve seen him walk over to your place, only to return five minutes later with his shoulders hunched and tears in his eyes.”
Riley, ever oblivious, has to come to terms with some things, including the backhanded way his assistant, Brian, is treating Conor. I did find it difficult to believe that Brian could be that outright rude and devious and Riley didn’t notice anything, ever. Even in the beginning, how come Conor didn’t mention it?
I did question how Riley didn’t realize Conor wasn’t even living at the house anymore. He’d basically moved into a duffel bag at his shop and Riley never noticed? Patricia has found evidence of Conor sleeping at the bakery every day for two weeks and Riley didn’t realize? For his part, when Brian began his machinations, again why did Conor never say anything?
The story is about second chances and what you have to do to make things right again, if you can. How taking love for granted can be the worst thing you can do and how much work it takes to bring it back in line.

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