Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Just as he’s finally ready to take a romantic Valentine’s Day gay cruise, travel agent Lee Jones discovers that his partner Ryan not only wants to have sex with other men while on the cruise, he’s already done so right under Lee’s nose. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and Lee dumps him, not needing to continue to put up with Ryan’s self-centered ways.
When he finds out Ryan is still planning to go on the cruise and share their room, a room Lee paid for, it just adds insult to injury, and Lee puts out the extra bucks to get half of the only other room available—the Presidential Suite. It turns out the other half is occupied by Joseph Cole, a gorgeous lawyer who was on the wait list due to Lee’s own work. Cole had come into the office during the previous week, wanting to get a spot on a fully booked cruise so Lee put him on the waiting list. As far as Lee is concerned, this is a win:win situation. Cole is hot, virile, wealthy, and just the thing to help Lee forget Ryan.
But Cole isn’t interested in the cruise so much as he’s interested in a young man on the cruise, and Lee is continually disappointed that he’s not the center of Cole’s attention. When Cole and Lee discover they have a bit of a kink for leather and spankings, they spend a night creating memories that Lee knows he’ll never forget. But, yet again, Cole’s attention wanders to the young man the next day.
Pushed to the limit, Lee confronts Cole and finally gets the answer. The young man is Cole’s nephew and is recovering from the death of his partner. Unfortunately, over the next few days, his behaviors interfere with the budding romance between Lee and Cole, and when a near-tragedy occurs, Cole has to leave the cruise to escort the boy home, and he departs, Lee loses all hope for any future contact. What happens next is not something I’m about to detail in the review due to spoilers, but it ultimately leads to a very definitely hopeful future for these well-matched men.
I enjoyed this story very much. The author allows the characters to explore their kinky side to the point where the story might be classed as light BDSM, yet she also gives them life beyond the bedroom. Their shared enjoyment of various activities, topics of conversation, and life circumstances all combine to make their compatibility very evident, despite the mismatch in their careers and economic status. . Their personalities are well-developed; their attraction to each other is believable; and the story is interesting and fun.
If you love contemporary M/M romance, you should enjoy this. The BDSM is light, so those who normally aren’t attracted shouldn’t have any major issues with it. Those who like it will enjoy the leather and spanking kink, and those who just want to find a good book to read at the beach should look no further.
Cover Art by LC Chase depicts a birds-eye view of two men lying on deck chairs on the balcony of their cruise ship suite. It’s very bright and colorful and beautifully sums up rest and relaxation in the sun.
ebook, 150 pages
Published May 25th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published May 23rd 2015)
original titleClosing the Loop