Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When their plane crashed, their desire took flight.
CEO Maine Braxton and his invaluable assistant, Colby, don’t realize they share a deep secret: they’re in love—with each other. That secret may have never come to light but for a terrifying plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that changes everything.
In a struggle for survival, the two men brave bears, storms, and a life-threatening flood to make it out of the wilderness alive. The proximity to death makes them realize the importance of love over propriety. Confessions emerge. Passions ignite. They escape the wilds renewed and openly in love.
When they return to civilization, though, forces are already plotting to snuff out their short-lived romance and ruin everything both have worked so hard to achieve.
In Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed the familiar and often loved trope addressed with the plot is the boss/employee romance, starting off with the employee crushing hard on the oblivious boss. The boss or CEO in this case is Maine Braxton, gorgeous, hardworking who is currently under siege at his company and job. But that mystery is a thread that runs through the book and its a lovely one that we don’t jump into immediately. The second part of the romance? That would be Maine’s man Friday, Colby. Someone who has made himself invaluable to Maine, right down to helping the man and his fiancé plan their honeymoon and parts of their wedding. Right. His boss is getting married. Something that breaks Colby’s heart even as he hides it from the man he has grown to love.
Then comes a plan crash. And this part of the book is just terrific. The authors handle both the crash and the fight for survival with remarkable feeling and an ability to connect the readers with the couple that you really feel their desperation and vulnerability out in the wild. All of which is a good thing because as much as I liked Colby, Maine was a character I was having a hard time getting into. And some of that still continued throughout the novel, although this section helped tremendously. Colby is everything I love in a main character. Charming, self depreciating, easy to fall in love with Colby. His boss? That’s the question.
The odd thing is that I can’t exactly pinpoint why I couldn’t connect with their romance and Maine. It wasn’t his closeted status or confusion over his sexuality. Maybe I felt he lacked a certain amount of depth the other characters in the stories had, including his fiancé Helen. Who contrary to most stories, was a lovely person, understanding and layered. I love it when authors write the other “women” in the mens lives as complete, believable people. In many ways I liked her better than Maine.
There were some other issues here, a rescue that was more than a tad unrealistic but given some of the other Dreamspun Desires story lines, I felt that sort of fell into the genre and was in keeping with the overall romance tale I was expecting. Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed is, in short, a lovely, sweet contemporary romance in the style of the stories everyone used to gobble up by the dozens. We have our beloved trope turned M/M romance, a mystery thread, and a happy if for now ending. Its a light hearted, quick read. And that too is exactly what I remember from those stories as well. If this is what you are looking for this summer, pick up Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed and get started reading today.
Cover artist Paul Richmond again does a wonderful job with both branding the Dreamspun Desires series and the novel with parts of the storyline. Love it.
ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634772563 (ISBN13: 9781634772563)