Zeb Evans doesn’t do messy.
The product of a disorganised and chaotic childhood, Zeb likes order and control, and as the boss of his own employment agency he can give that to himself. Life runs along strict lines and he never mixes business with pleasure. Everything in his life lives in neat, alphabetized boxes. Until Jesse.
Jesse Reed is Zeb’s complete opposite. He’s chaos personified. A whirling cyclone of disorder. He’s also charming and funny and a very unwanted distraction.
Which is why it comes as a complete surprise to Zeb to find himself asking Jesse to pose as his boyfriend for a few days in the country at a wedding.
Zeb doesn’t do impulsive, but as the time away progresses, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the merry and irreverent Jesse. But can he bring himself to break the hard-won lessons he’s learnt in life? And even if he can, how could Jesse be attracted to him anyway? He’s so much older than Jesse, not to mention being his boss.
From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages and Finding Home series comes a warm and funny romance about one man’s fight for control and another man’s determination to circumvent it.
This is the first book in the Close Proximity series, but it can be read as a standalone.
Close Proximity Series Book 1
Release Date: 10.03.19
He looks at me and sighs wearily. “Do you think you could possibly behave?” he finally says.
I bite my lip. “I don’t think it would be entirely honest of me to promise that,” I say slowly. “Especially if people keep treating you like you’re some sort of desperate stalker. It’s not fair.” I frown. “You’re doing bloody Patrick a favour. They should be thanking you, not treating you like an unexploded bomb from the war that might go off in suburbia and wreck someone’s lavender bush.”
He blinks. “Where the hell did that come from?” He pauses. “And why am I the unexploded relic from the war?”
I smile at him sympathetically. “You have a lot of pent-up aggression,” I inform him.
We first meet Jesse when he’s interviewing at an employment agency. He’s kind of a jack of all trades and a master of none, he can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble long enough to hold something down. That is until he meets Zeb, who lives with the tightest control on himself and his routine than anyone Jesse’s ever seen.
They’re complete opposites, but somehow, they work.
Cut to, three years later, where Jesse is thriving though thoroughly entertaining in the jobs he does and what can always be described as hilarious mishaps, though he’s completely charming and very well-liked with his clients.
When Zeb’s ex of five years is getting married to the woman he was cheating with only a year after they’ve split, he asks Zeb to be his best man and Zeb stupidly agrees. He needs a fake boyfriend/distraction for the weeklong activity schedule his exes fiancé has for them on the getaway they’re all going on together. Insane? ABSOLUTELY!
Now, once you get to know Zeb, you’ll understand a little about him that maybe let him say yes to the request of being the exes best man, but I didn’t buy it. Nothing would’ve made me take the abuse from the ex and their families, they not only openly treated Zeb like garbage, he just smiled and took it. They openly said awful things to him and treated him terribly, and he was just as nice and polite as could be. That part made me sick to my stomach, I HATE when bad people get away with being bad people.
Now, Jesse, even though Zeb wants to think of him as this young kid (20 years his junior), he gets to know Jesse on this week long trip together. They have fun together and Jesse is the only one who seems set to stand up for Zeb against this terrible, evil, entitled, foul-mouthed, bigoted family. He goes out of his way to put them off and show his support for Zeb, so it isn’t long before they fall into bed together.
Of course, it can’t be that easy… Zeb is still in a bad place, mentally… he’s still got his reasons of why he is the way he is and though Jesse realizes it, it isn’t enough to stop him from getting hurt by Zeb’s actions. And I don’t blame him…. I wanted to come through and knock Zeb out for the way he pushed Jesse away, not only that, but the way he picked the stupid ex and his wedding over Jesse and his feelings, when Jesse is the only one who’s ever been supportive of him and stuck up for him. My heart broke for Jesse and I thought he forgave Zeb far too easily. We had this angst the whole time and then it was like.. in a few paragraphs, all was forgiven. Blah.
Overall though, I enjoyed Jesse. He really is such a likeable character and was so very charming and witty. I liked him for Zeb, even though Zeb didn’t deserve him a lot of the time. I’m glad they got their HEA, though, I’m a sucker for those… and it was very entertaining, nonetheless.
Would love to see what happens between Felix and Zeb’s stepbrother… looking forward to that!
4 pieces of eye candy
Lily writes contemporary romance novels, and specialises in hot love stories with a good dose of humour.
Lily lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she bought her first Kindle.
She has spent her life with her head full of daydreams and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else could she get to spend her time with hot, funny men!
She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations – chocolate Baileys! Her lifetime’s ambition is to have a bath in peace without being shouted by one of her family.