Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Nathan Moffatt is a 37-year-old wedding planner who loves his mother, Ally, and his best friend, Max. What he doesn’t love is how they are constantly at him about finding someone of his own. Despite his protests, they (and seems like everyone else on the island) are always trying to set him up. In desperation he decides to enlist the help of Flynn Delaney, the local bad boy who everyone gossips about and no one seems to like. If he can show off Flynn as a boyfriend, everyone will be relieved when they break up. What could go wrong?
Nate is the wedding planner at the Granshire, “… one of the top ten destination-wedding locations in the UK. Wedding parties arrived from around the world.” It’s not the easiest place to get to but people believe it’s worth it. It is Nate’s job to make sure the couples get what they want and their weddings go off smoothly. We get some wedding planning details, particularly of Katie and Bradley, a TV star who is going to be married at the Granshire if things stop happening to complicate matters.
Flynn is the owner of the local garage, bequeathed from his dad, and is also a rescue worker. When Nate asks for the favor of being his fake boyfriend, he immediately says no. But Nate works on him a little. “He could resist anything but pettiness and pretty men. Now there they both were in one well-dressed package.” Even if Nate presents it badly, “So I thought I’d get one- a really bad one, or at least the worst one I can find at short notice on the island.” “And you immediately thought of me,” Flynn said.”
So they begin this whole fool the locals drama and the problem is that Flynn is not a bad boyfriend. There is one time he acts “badly” and I thought he had good reason to. It’s more of Nate being a bad boyfriend than anything.
Secondary characters are interesting. I absolutely loved Ally. She is recovering from cancer and doesn’t want people treating her like she is about to die. Flynn doesn’t do that, although he is embarrassed when she observes, “So you’re the one that gave my son a hickey”. She also doesn’t treat Flynn like he is the island pariah, even when Max is incredibly rude about him. That brings us to Max, the best friend who needs to get a life and grow up, facing his father. Max acts badly way more than Flynn ever does. There is also Teddy, Max’s father and Nate’s boss, who is an a**hole of the highest order.
I am a big fan of the fake boyfriend trope so I was excited for this. There are things that didn’t add up for me, or maybe I should say things that I wanted explained. Flynn is the island a**hole, most people treat him badly and they have all sorts of nasty stories about why he left the island in the first place and why he came back, but it is never really explained why they all feel that way. There is no defining event in the past that caused this thinking, other than him not returning for his father’s funeral, by which time he was already the island’s lead jerk. . Another point was, Nate just shows up at Flynn’s lighthouse (which he has been hounding Flynn to let as AirBnB for the weddings) and clumsily and insultingly puts forth his proposal for fake boyfriend. Did they know each other before? I know Flynn knew of Max but it is never mentioned that Nate and Flynn were friends. Nate had a crush on the older man (by five years) but that didn’t explain they seem to know each other now.
I liked that each chapter begins with either gossip or an attempt by someone to hook Nate up. It made me both sad at the nasty things said and smile at the obvious attempts (I think you’ll have so much in common. You’re both gay, after all).
The rumors that fly about Flynn are seriously horrible at times. “Is it true that Delany was a whore you and Max used when you are in London?” I kept thinking, why does he stay here? And when his reason came out, it made me want to hug him. Go into this knowing that the whole worst boyfriend isn’t really Flynn and it’s a fluffy, easy read.
Cover art by Reece Notley is interesting but not really relevant to the story. There is a man I assume to be Nate reading a newspaper with the wanted add circled and that isn’t what this was at all. So cute cover but misleading.
ebook, 218 pages
Expected publication: August 21st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press