Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
Craig and Mitchell have been friends for years, but each of them reached a point where that camaraderie became… more. Mitchell’s kept his feelings close to his chest. So has Craig, but now that they’ve graduated from UMKC, he knows it’s his last chance to show Mitchell they’re meant to be before their careers take them to opposite sides of the country.
He insists they can’t leave Missouri behind without one last adventure. Mitchell agrees to a road trip to visit all the touristy spots and say goodbye to their home state.
As they spend their days and nights together, buried feelings rise to the surface and hope blossoms. When their journey ends with a dance beneath the Branson stars, will they find love and a future together at the end of the road?
I happen to love the States of Love Line of stories from Dreamspinner Press. Each with a particular focus on a State, I’ve ventured into backroads, tasted state wines and foods, and visited many state local attractions as couples met or as here in Gateway to Love by Sarah Hadley Brook, friends found their way to lovers and HEA.
Sometimes I was able to totally immerse myself in the romance and state of choice. Other times, It was a lovely brief fling, a romance I enjoyed but it went by swiftly without as much depth as some of the others. Gateway to Love falls into the second category. This might be due to the short nature of the story, 98 pages in length. It didn’t give the author much to work with in order to expand on the road trip, and describing the venues the young men visited. It’s that element that really adds to the flavor and personal essence of each couple, their background, and relationship. Here it should have been deeply personal because it was where they grew up and went to college, and yes, full of memorable sites for their last road trip together. The author even supplies the readers with a map of the trip and state.
So why didn’t it feel as epic as it was supposed to be? And except for a couple of brief stops, I could have been on the road to anywhere.
I liked the fumbling road to romance better than the actual road trip. Both Craig and Mitchell are crazy about each other and have been for years. The trip is overlaid by fears about the boys losing each others friendship, miscommunication, and more, before they get the gumption to step forward before it’s too late and they part for different coasts.
The characters, with their indecision and vulnerability, seem believable. I wish for more background on both. And the inclusion of their friend was jarring, taking away from the flow of their relationship and the small time it had to develop.
Still, this was a sweet, friends to lovers story. Quick to read and enjoy. If you are a fan of the States of Love line, here is another addition you will want to check out.
Cover art: Brooke Albrecht. Lovely cover with the arch in the background. Great job.
ebook, 98 pages
Published October 19th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleGateway to Love