Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Real life enemies, online lovers. Two lonely men, destined for each other—if only they knew it.
Alfie Carter grew up in New Milton, caring for his sick father and keeping their auto repair shop on its feet. He’s touchy about his poor education and doesn’t take kindly to snide remarks from the town’s prickly bookstore owner—no matter how cute he looks in his skinny jeans. Left to run the family business alone, Alfie spends his lonely evenings indulging his secret passion for classic fiction and chatting online with witty, romantic ‘LLB’ as they fall in love over literature.
Leo Novak’s new life as owner of Bayside Books is floundering. And he could do without the town’s gorgeous, moody mechanic holding a grudge against him after an unfortunate—and totally not his fault— encounter last Christmas. Still reeling from a bad breakup and struggling to make friends in New Milton, Leo seeks comfort in his blossoming online romance with thoughtful, bookish ‘Camaro89’.
But as the holidays approach, ‘LLB’ and ‘Camaro89’ are planning to meet, and realities are about to collide…
This story has one of my favorite tropes- the online lovers who are finally going to meet, only for one of them to realize his lover is, in fact, his arch enemy. It was, quite simply, adorable. Alfie is a mechanic, running the auto repair shop and caring for his dad. He may not be highly educated but Alfie is smart and he loves literature. He meets LLB, his online best friend and love, in a Jane Austen group and they share no personal information but share all the important things. Talking to LLB makes Alfie’s life more enriched. It might even be incredible, if it weren’t for the snobby, snotty Leo, who owns the used bookstore.
I’ll put it out there – I had a hard time warming up to Leo because of how judgy he is, even though I get it – apostrophe usage needs to be correct! They had a run in last year at the Christmas party, “No offence, Carter, but I prefer a more cerebral type.” Alfie may have responded but it’s Leo that starts it. “I’m sorry but I require at least a basic level of literacy, even in a hookup.” Then he has the nerve to be upset when Alfie fires back. Ahh, Leo.
When LLB and Camaro89 are finally going to meet, both men are so nervous, so excited and so in love. Until Leo (LLB) shows up to see that Camaro89 is Alfie. He is crushed and leaves, never telling Alfie what happened. So Alfie gets stood up and is devastated.
This is truly a case of opposites attract as Leo and Alfie (who was the bigger person and reached out a friendly hand to Leo) start to spend some time together and get to know each other. They come to realize they have so much more in common than they thought, beginning with literature. Alfie, with his big body, his rough exterior, soft heart and love of audiobooks, made the book for me. I seriously adored this character. “Rather too light, and bright, and sparkling.” Not too light – he’s just perfect.
You know the situation has to come to a head and it does, while my heart broke for Alfie. But Leo is clever and he wants to make things right. I would recommend this bright, lovely book.
Cover art, whimsical and clever, fit the feel of the story for me. “..light, and bright, and sparkling.”
Sales Link: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 117 pages
Published November 29th 2018
Edition Language English
Series New Milton #1.5