Review: Rosalind Abel – The Garden (Lavender Shores #2)

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Author: Rosalind Abel
Reviewer: Natalie
Publisher: Wings of Ink Publications, LLC
Genre: Mm

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary: 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.

Review: I just fell more in love with Lavender Shores! Even better than book 1 for my tastes, there’s a deeper, more emotional storyline, given more impact by access to the MC’s inner dialogue, through alternating POV’s.

Gilbert is Andrew’s best friend and owned the cabin Andrew and Joel bought. So it’s already known that something in his past keeps him away from Lavender. He sees Walden at the gym, while visiting Andrew, and they hook up, against Walden’s better instincts. But neither is looking for more and part ways easily at first. Yet they each felt a connection and after hooking up again unexpectedly, they can’t forget each other.

It’s hurt/comfort times two, with a layer of angst and Rosalind Abel wrote this just the way I like. Both men have painful episodes in their past, although Gilbert has had the worst repercussions. And while they don’t share every detail right away, they don’t keep their troubles secret from each other or hide the way it’s affected their current views on relationships. The characters are strongly written and I really became absorbed in their stories and emotional over their struggles. There’s the addition of a new secondary character, Donovan, who is Gilbert’s therapist, and the return of most characters from book 1. The Lavender Shores setting is marvelous, the small town personality encompassed in a LGBTQ friendly atmosphere, but still set firmly in the real world; a haven but not a utopia.

It can be read as a standalone story but I’d hate for anyone to miss the first romantic story of Andrew and Joel. It also explains the origins of the town and its residents. With this second offering, I think this series will take its place among my favorites. Can’t wait for the next installment and Donovan’s story!

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2 Comments

  1. Yay great review!! Have it pre ordered

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