Rating 4 stars out of 5
Baker Luke Henderson loves his job, and owning a bakery at Coogee Beach makes it even better. His Black Dog bakery is becoming known for its delicious concoctions and Luke dreams of spreading out to other restaurants and stores. Each morning before Luke opens up his bakery, he heads to the beach for his favorite pastime, watching surfers, a particular surfer. Little does he know that the surfer has been looking back.
Cameron Brown, surfer, chef, and café owner of a popular beach front cafe, spies Luke leaning against the wall, watching him surf but nothing more. A chance meeting occurs when Luke pops into Cameron’s restaurant to sample their food and deserts, hoping to get the owner to take his bakery goods on consignment. Cameron is intrigued by Luke, and his scrumptious deserts, and soon a deal is struck.
Working together brings Cam and Luke closer but there remains several obstacles to romance. The main one being Cameron’s idea of the perfect man, physical perfection being a key. That’s something that Luke can never attain. Can Cameron put aside his “ideal man” in order to find love with the real one in front of him?
Whitewater (part of the Under the Southern Cross Anthology but can be purchased separately) is a perfect example why I love Meredith Shayne so much. The characters of Luke Henderson and Cameron Brown are so marvelously textured, so nuanced that it puts them far outside the norm of the typical romantic leading characters. Luke Henderson has cerebral palsy. It gives him a decided limp but the real driving force in Luke is his passion for baking, the other is just a small part of who he is. I love the matter of fact treatment given to his disability and his outlook. Luke is a beautifully well rounded character, full of hopes and dreams and wonderful concoctions that makes him so easy to connect with, especially when he’s covered in flour, immersed in his recipes.
Cameron, the surf god who also happens to be a chef and restaurant owner, long ago lost the passion that Luke thrives on. Cameron’s search for perfection happens not in the kitchen but in gay bars and hookups nightly. Those men he finds are easy to discard, but Luke? Imperfect Luke becomes the itch Cameron can’t scratch and Cameron is intelligent enough to look inside for the answers.
What did I wish for? A longer story. Luke and Cameron cry out for a full length novel. I wanted a little more of the life they were building at the end. But that would be the icing on the cake for this reader, others readers will love it as it is.
As in her other stories, Shayne brings the local settings and locations vividly into focus. The Black Dog Bakery and Cameron’s restaurant reside on or near Coogee Beach in New South Wales, Australia near Sydney. Shayne captures all the flavor and atmosphere of this beachside suburb of the little town known as “Sydney’s Seaside Village”. I got a real feel for the people and shops that fill the streets and line the shore, the nightlife and the family packed pools. The full picture is so enticing, that like all the other places Meredith Shayne writes so lovingly about, I’m ready to pack up and go see it for myself.
Not familiar with author Meredith Shayne? Whitewater is a wonderful introduction. Read it, love it, and then go looking for all the other stories that we have tucked close to our hearts, including Cutting Out. I absolutely recommend Whitewater and its author, Meredith Shayne! Happy Reading.
Cover artist: Anne Cain. I like the cover but don’t love it. It’s just too generic considering what she had to work with.
ebook, 117 pages
Published March 13th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 12th 2013)
ISBN 162380468X (ISBN13: 9781623804688)
Anthology/series: Under the Southern Cross