Reviewed by Mandi
First let me say, I’m not a huge fan of country music, but there is something about the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park that calls to me! I want to go and eat at the bakery, ride the rides and hear Christopher sing. Maybe it’s my love of Dolly Parton that draws me to this setting. Either way, Leta Blake does a nice job of describing Smoky Mountain Dreams park, and making it a big part of the book.
Christopher didn’t make it in Nashville, but he has found a home on stage as a singer at Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park. Since the main singer is usually too drunk to go on stage, Christopher gets a lot of stage time. He doesn’t think he has a lot of fans, but there is one guy that always comes to see him – I’ll tell you about him in a moment – spoiler alert! It’s the other hero! Christopher is gay, and after his mom remarried, he had a very hard time with coming out to his mother and his bible thumping step-father. Luckily, his grandmother took him in, sold her business to send him to private school, and even though she is in a nursing home now, she is still his biggest supporter. He is lonely and a little sad in life, but loves his job and has a few friends. Christopher decides to get a locket made for his grandmother’s birthday, and heads to the local jeweler in town.
Jesse is bisexual. After experimenting with men at a younger age and his father basically throwing him out of the house, he found a second family in what would eventually become his in-laws. But to his surprise, he marries their daughter. After getting to know her, he falls in love – they marry and have kids. But years later, she has a tragic car accident. Now lifeless, but being kept alive by machines, Jesse has tried to move on and tries to be the best single dad he can. When one of his favorite singers comes into his store for a piece of jewelry, he can’t help the feelings that start to build up.
What I really appreciated about this story is the way the author takes her time telling it. So many times these days, we get category length romance stories that can be fun, but don’t always allow us to really understand the characters and their motivations. In this book, you can sit back and relax. Both Jesse and Christopher have messy pasts, mostly due to their sexual orientation. They both have parents who don’t understand nor approve of their romantic relationships. Jesse has the added complexity of having been married to a woman who is now lifeless, and he is now having feelings towards Christopher. Jesse is very open about being a bisexual, even from the time when he first started dating his future wife. Her parents understood him and to this day, still support him greatly. While there is much conflict and bitterness in both of their lives, there is also warm family moments – Jesse with his in-laws and Christopher with his gran.
Christopher and Jesse are both pretty mature characters. Jesse’s first priority in his life are his kids and while he wants to spend as much time as possible with Christopher, he has to come second. His kids are still adjusting to losing their mom and it’s hard to bring a new love interest into their lives. I like that Christopher didn’t fit in perfectly at first. And when he learns that Jesse’s wife is still attached to machines, he reacts shocked but processes it maturely.
This book also has very (and I mean very) dirty sex scenes. Naughty, naughty boys! (you can read an excerpt here)
Solid contemporary romance with a lot of fun sexy times thrown in. Recommend this one.