Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.
While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.
As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.
Fen Miller is back in his own story, returning to Stone Acres after getting his degree in horticulture. He meets John Barton, another man who’s just as “shorter-than-average” as he is when he rents a room in his lovely Victorian house. At first John’s reclusive ways makes it just an attraction at a distance until a cup of coffee and a conversation turns John and Fen’s relationship into something with promise.
With every Foothills story, there is a edge to the story. Here it’s John’s back history and the man that haunts him that threatens their new relationship and John’s present happiness. I always wish that Pat Henshaw would expand her stories so we could get deeper into each man’s background and emotional layers that seem to abide here. We get wonderful flashes of depth and sorrow that comes with the horrors of John’s time on the streets. And I wish we had more of Fen’s time away, his creativity with the greens and his connectivity that enables him to create the things he does. That seems to be missing here because of the length of the story. We get glimpses and bits that make the men real but, of course, I wanted more.
The Foothills series continues to grow with each couple, distinct and wonderful. I loved this one as well. Each story is a quick read so I recommend reading the series right up to this story. You’ll get the whole town as it grows! This one even has the holiday flavor!
Cover Artist: AngstyG. I just love the covers for this series. Perfect in tone and characters!