Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
This was a highly enjoyable and entertaining audiobook. In fact, I enjoyed this Tara Lain story more than any of her other stories in the past few years. I don’t know whether she changed her writing style, or whether it was simply the added boost by the narration of talented voice actor Greg Tremblay, but I simply couldn’t turn the audiobook off. I listened as often as possible, even facing teasing from my family who were surprised that I’d rather listen to the audio than to them. Imagine that!
Seriously though, this story about young Luca McGrath, a graduate chef who returns to the Napa Valley to take a position with a prestigious restaurant—while at the same time reuniting with his father and the wealthy Armstrong family for whom he works as a chauffeur—was delightful. Luca is a sweetheart, as well as being intelligent, a gifted chef, a loving son, and he’s held an unrequited love for James Armstrong ever since they were children. Even now, it doesn’t matter to Luca that James is heterosexual—he’s still stunning, sexy, and flirty with Luca—leading Luca to believe he might not be 100% straight.
In the meantime, James’s older brother, Dylan, is equally stunning, but quieter, more introspective, more of the tycoon-type businessman, and better able to hide his feelings for Luca. He’s out to prove James is not really interested in Luca, and yet he wants to protect Luca’s feelings. There are also complications related to James’s upcoming marriage to a woman whose company is about to merge with the Armstrong family holdings and a messy breakup will mess up the merger plans.
And to make matters even more complex, Luca becomes unintentionally involved in intrigue involving a local food contest that is the highlight of the local cuisine industry. Unknown to him, he’s set up to take the fall for theft of a recipe from his boss’s competitor, and when that happens, he throws in the towel and escapes back to New York. He’s done with all the Armstrongs, and with the Napa Valley as a whole. Will Dylan let him stay in New York, or will the strong-willed, quiet man finally take a risk and tell Luca how he feels?
Honestly, this is a very enjoyable story. It’s fast-paced and full of both intrigue and handsome men. There’s also lots of romance and loving—for family and for potential life partners. And Greg Tremblay brings it all to life. Each character has his—or her—own unique voice, adding to the listener’s pleasure. I definitely recommend this to lovers of contemporary MM romance and most definitely recommend it in audio format. Kudos to Ms. Lain and Mr. Tremblay!
The cover by Reese Dante is bright and attractive, featuring a close-up of young, fresh-faced Luca and a darker figure in business suit in the background—most definitely representing Dylan.
Published September 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 2nd 2017)
Original TitleReturn of the Chauffeur’s Son