Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
All hands on deck for a shipboard romance—with a secret.
Like his cousins, Devin Walker aspires to be a chef, but he wants to indulge his wanderlust while feeding his customers, and working a cruise ship seems like the solution. Since he can’t find an opening in the kitchen, he’s happy to start out in a position behind the bar.
While onboard Poseidon’s Pearl, Devin is assigned to shepherd a visiting executive. Paul Bailey is quiet and unassuming, and the car accident that cost him his leg also shattered his confidence. He doesn’t think he’s attractive to other men anymore, and Devin is eager to show him just how wrong he is. Paul has a surprising secret that might sink their passionate affair before it even leaves port.
The Walker Boys series by Ari McKay all center around main characters that are or have aspirations to be chefs with their own restaurants. Seeking Solace (The Walker Boys 3) by Ari McKay falls into the latter category. Devin Walker, of the enormous Texas Walker clan, has been working on board the Triton line cruise ship learning the kitchen and “the ropes”, waiting for the chance to move up into the role of chef. It’s a job he loves, even though he wants it to be temporary in the long run with his goal of opening his own restaurant, just as a trained chef would.
Everything is going according to plan, until he is assigned the role of liaison to a visiting executive who needs to learn more about the Triton cruise business from the bottom to the top, never realizing who the man is that he’s showing around.
So, yes. It’s the false identity trope but it works here. I mean haven’t you all seen Undercover Boss on tv? Not that far fetched an idea anymore. The addition of Paul working through his acceptance of his disability, the worries over his appearance (scars and prosthetic) felt authentic and grounded this romance in a definite reality as opposed to a sheltered cruitse glow. I liked that the author(s) gave the readers a believable “behind the scenes” feel to the cruise line and it’s workings. I enjoyed that and the staff.
The chemistry between Devlin and Paul was hot, sweet, and lovely to read. I delighted in their romance and the cruise in general. Plus don’t get me started on the food here. I felt as though I was going to gain weight just through reading some of the detailed, vivid descriptions of the drinks and drool worthy menu items alone! Really mouth watering and scrumptious!
The cruise takes place over two weeks so the attraction/instant love element is a bit of a stretch for me. The physical attraction and like? Absolutely. Love? On the road to, yes. Which is why I enjoyed the HFN ending that McKay left the couple at. That felt more honest with one exception involving the ship. Won’t go there, spoiler territory. I just thought it was unlikely that Devlin would have done that given his working relationship there.
The Walkers Boys and their search for HEA or in this case HFN is a fun series for people who love sweet contemporary romance with a mixture of food and travel. From Texas to North Carolina and New York (Breaking Bonds) to cruising and back to Texas, this series has a little something for everyone. They work well as standalone stories but are fun read together as well.
Cover art: Alexandria Corza. Has the moon and ship as the backdrop and Paul as the center model. If that is supposed to be Devlin, a total miss of the mark.
ebook, 206 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Series The Walker Boys