Rating: 4.75 🌈
V.L. Locey’s Campo Royale series is truly a favorite of mine. With every new storyline and couple, it goes into new territory and new relationship dynamics while still playing within the universe Locey has created for the series and characters. That’s the fabulous drag club, the Campo Royale and the Queen Mother, Sitka!
It’s time for Corduroy “Cord” Lopez, the pink haired, adorable, bartender of the Campo Royale, to find love and happiness. He’s been a staple in the other books, and now gets his own romance.
We delve into his personal history to see the stress and tight circumstances under which he’s living in order to provide a stable, happy life for his daughter. A joyful girl, diagnosed with Mosaic Down syndrome, she’s his everything.
Locey’s descriptions and excellent writing brings the characters and father/daughter loving relationship realistically to life. She’s all kid, peanut butter smears , meltdowns, hugs, and all. I love this family unit, including the grandmothers.
Jagger Collins is another terrific character, a haunted man coming off the trauma of an abusive ex husband and the mental breakdown it caused. He’s still in recovery, using the support of a wonderful therapist and friends and his brother to help move forward.
Locey’s portrait of a shattered man in recovery, one learning to trust in himself again, is gentle, and moving. There’s no flashbacks, nothing to act as triggers I think, however, Jagger does remember , verbally, the attack the ended the marriage and put him in the hospital.
Watching Jagger and Cord become close, then take the fragile steps to become lovers, then a family, is so heartwarming and wonderful. It’s moments with Jagger’s scottie who farts …a lot. Or the scenes with Paloma, Cord’s daughter, a heart stealer, who takes a liking to both Jagger and his dog!
I could definitely do with another story to see where they go from the HFN that the note they end on here.
It’s realistic and so great. I definitely want more.
Luckily I believe we will see more of them like we do the others in the new stories to come. I can’t wait!
I’m highly recommending The Barkeep and The Bookseller (Campo Royale #3) by V.L. Locey .
Campo Royale series:
✓ The Viking and the Drag Queen #1
✓ The Batchelor and the Cherry #2
✓ The Barkeep and The Bookseller #3
Can two men move past their shattered dreams and create a new future together?
Corduroy Lopez is a hard-working man. He has to be. There really is no alternative. He’s a single father with a beautiful, special needs daughter to support. His mother and grandmother help when they can, but he’s a proud pan man who is determined to make it on his own. When his daughter is accepted into a prestigious developmental education preschool, Cord needs cash and he needs it yesterday. One night, offhandedly, the cute owner of the new bookstore in town mentions wanting to start a drag story hour, Cord leaps at the chance. He’s done drag before. Once. Performing on stage at the Campo hadn’t really been his thing but donning a wig and dress to sing children’s songs while strumming a ukulele should be a much more enjoyable experience. Also, the bookshop owner is adorable, newly single, and spending a great deal of time sitting at Cord’s bar sipping virgin piña coladas after the bookstore closes.
Jagger Collins never meant to end up here. He’d been a happily married man with a swanky job in a Philadelphia bank just two years ago. Then the bottom fell out of his life. His marriage combusted, his job quickly followed, and he found himself with only his dog Hamish, his brother, and half the cash from the home he thought he would be starting a family in. Taking the advice of his elder sibling to heart, he left the big city and bought a small brick building in downtown Wilmington. Trading in ties for tomes, Jagger is now embracing the simpler things in life. Reading, biking, knitting, and admiring the lithe bartender at the Campo Royale. Cord is ticking all the right boxes in a big way, but Jagger’s not sure if he’s ready to put his heart on the line again.
The Barkeep and the Bookseller is a single father guy next door gay romance that features a hard-working dad, a learning-to-love again bookdealer, a precocious preschooler, high heels, a loving family, flashy floral fashions, and a ukulele rich happy-ever-after.