Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Nathan Bridges hadn’t intended to settle down in his home town of Porthkennack—he just ended up staying after saving the family business from ruin. The truth is, Nathan can’t stop himself from stepping in when problems arise. He’s a fixer, the man everyone turns to. But even fixers can’t solve everything.
When Nathan’s sister needs an organ transplant, it’s his stepbrother, Mack, who the family turns to as Rosie’s only potential living donor. Nathan’s curiosity about the stepbrother he’s never met turns to shock when he realises that Mack is his latest—and hottest ever—one-night stand.
Nathan and Mack agree to forget their single night together, but that’s easier said than done. When Mack moves in to Nathan’s place to recuperate after surgery, it’s not just the sexual tension between them that keeps growing. Against all the odds, and despite Mack’s wariness of intimacy, the two men grow close enough that Nathan begins to wonder what it would take to mend the rift that’s kept Mack and his father estranged for over a decade . . . and whether Mack might consider staying with Nathan in Porthkennack for good.
Sometimes, when the writing, the themes, and, the characters all come together, then a place comes alive for a reader. You feel like you can walk down the pathways, watch the wild seas, look in through the glass windows into the pubs and storefronts of a place and feel you know it intimately because it’s now real for you. Porthkennack is now that place or me. Which is more amazing because the series isn’t written by one author but by five (at least for the moment). Each one adding to the mythology, the foundation of the place, it’s people and its history.
Some are stand alone novels, such as this one, others are not.
All make you wish with all your heart that Porthkennack was a place you can grab a plane or bus to. Tribute Act is just another reason why.
Tribute Act opens with music from songs from Nathan’s father’s band, one he walked away from, along with his marriage when he married Nathan’s mother in Porthkennackk, giving up music, settling down to have a family and fun a ice cream store. That’s where we meet Nathan Bridges. Home to rescue his Dad (awful businessman), his Mom, and sister. It’s Nathan who is the rock of the family, always giving, sacrificing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the family. Nathan’s character is so well defined. We see how much it takes out of him to continually be the giver, leaving little for himself, including dreams for his future.
Nathan’s sister is in need of a transplant which introduces Mack to the family and a series of startling revelations for all, especially Nathan who’d hooked up with Mack the night before not knowing he was his stepbrother. Mack also was shocked by that little surprise. Mack is a torn, bitter young man, hurt by seeing the family before him he never had as he was abandoned by Nathan’s dad.
Ah, that’s the huge weakness at the center. The roaring musician, the dad who’s basically a coward but still loves his family. This story is full of flawed people. Some you will love, some you’ll understand, some you might despise…but all of them feel downright authentic. They act, talk, yell, and react from places that you expect….deep wells of pain and anguish. Childhood abandonment and loss. Lack of familial love. That’s very powerful stuff and it flows from the very heart of the narrative here.
And when hesitatingly, it all starts to find a way to come together, in forgiveness and as a family? Well, you can’t help but feel joy and love for them all. And another story and group takes its place in your Porthkennack corner of your heart. How I love this place.
If you aren’t familiar with the Porthkennack series, Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers works fine on its own. I highly recommend it and the others. Check out the entire series here. You might find me waiting on the bench by the bus stop waiting to walk with you into town. You never know what magic can happen there.
Cover art by Garrett Leigh is spectacular. Moody, it captures the tone, location, and character and pulls you in. I love it.
ebook, 206 pages
Published January 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 13th 2018)
This title is part of the Porthkennack universe.