Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.
When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.
As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.
“So,” Sandra explained, “as I told you in my e-mail, it’s a one-bed, one-bath unit. There’s a pool downstairs, and I’ll show you the gym and the media room later if you’re interested. No parking, though.”
“I don’t have a car,” Louie said.
“Perfect, then. You won’t need it anyway if you work downtown. I’m looking for someone willing to sign a ten-month lease immediately.”
“Well, starting next month. Is that a problem?”
“No. Actually… that’s great. I’m just surprised you don’t have someone lined up.”
“Oh I did. She backed out at the last minute. Which is why I’m now freaking out. I leave in two weeks. It’s hard to find someone willing to sign a short-term lease. Most people want at least a year. When Tammy said she knew someone who was looking for a place, I was so relieved.”
“A wine fridge,” Peter exclaimed, still in the kitchen. “This place is awesome.”
Did Peter know nothing about apartment hunting? You weren’t supposed to let them know you were interested. Sandra dimpled. “You guys are too cute. I have such a good vibe about you.”
Oh, no. Did she think they were together? Before Louie could correct her, she began talking again. “This is a fun building. Lots of young professionals. And most people are pretty cool. You guys won’t have to worry about fitting in.” She turned away. “Come on, the bedroom’s through here.”
“Why would she worry about us fitting in?” Peter, who had finally emerged from the kitchen, whispered in his ear as they followed.
“She thinks we’re a couple, Peter.”
The look on his face was priceless: like he couldn’t decide whether to be shocked, amused, or flattered.
Louie grinned. He gave Peter a shove. “Don’t get all worked up. You should be so lucky.”
He felt a slight warmth in his face as he followed Sandra down a short hallway and into the sole bedroom. It was definitely a shoebox. “It’s a little tight in here,” he pointed out.
“All we need is a bed. And you like to cuddle, so a queen is fine.”
We? Cuddle? Louie whirled around, but Peter was already moving into the en suite bathroom. “Oh my God. Check out the size of the shower,” he exclaimed, voice echoing off the tile. “We’d both fit in here, Louie. And the tub has jets. This place is great, babe.”
Sandra made an “aw, isn’t that sweet” face, and Louie decided he had a pretend boyfriend to kill. “Excuse me a minute.”
He marched into the bathroom, ignoring the sleek gray tile and chrome fixtures. “Babe?” he hissed, poking Peter in the chest. “Really?”
“Do you like ‘honey’ better? Sweetie?”
Louie narrowed his eyes. The bastard was enjoying this, judging by his smirk.
“So, what do you think?” Sandra asked, poking her head through the door.
“We love it,” Peter replied without hesitation. “What about the furniture?”
“I’m taking some of it with me, but the rest can stay, or I’ll put it in storage if you don’t want it.”
Louie still wasn’t convinced. It was a lot of money, and with only the one bedroom, he wouldn’t even be able to have a roommate. “It’s at the top of my budget.”
“For the right tenant, I might be willing to negotiate. I need someone I can trust. Tammy likes you, and I trust her judgment.”
Tammy had known him a week, Louie wanted to point out. He wouldn’t put too much stock in her judgment.
“And to be honest,” Sandra continued, “I would feel better leasing to a couple than a single person.”
Peter’s arm wrapped around his shoulders, taking Louie by surprise. “Guess it’s a lucky day for all of us, then.”
This was my first book by Chris Scully, and I was impressed by the writing skills of the author. She had a great ability to show the feelings of her MC’s, not just with her words, but with the actions, and the reactions.
Peter, in all honesty, frustrated me for about 70% of the book, which I think was the author’s intention. 🙂 He was so stuck in this dead end job, in a dead end life, and really had nothing in mind as to how to get out of it, or if he wanted to. His mother was such a stereotype of what I imagine a native Greek mother would be like, clinging to her son, guilting him into staying home for college, that I wanted to throttle Peter for giving in, and allowing it to continue. His father was not that much different, working himself into the ground, and telling his only son that he should do the same. He really had no idea if he was gay, because he had always lived his life how his parents wanted him to. Then he met Louie.
These two started as friends, although it was obvious that they quickly wanted to be more, even if they didn’t act on it. Meanwhile Louie fresh from a rough breakup, and a move across the country, to start over where his life had begun. He was heartbroken, and new back to town, and becoming friends with Peter helped bring him back to life. I really liked that it wasn’t forced, it happened naturally, and then began to slowly progress to more.
My one issue with the book was that it could have been longer. If it had been longer, I would have felt that the resolution with Peter and his parents would not have felt rushed, and like it was tied up in a neat little bow. I liked where Peter and his parents got, (although not seeing his mother’s last reactions seemed out of place) but I felt like I needed more incidents of them getting to that place, not just having an unpleasant event bring on Peter’s happiness.
All in all, though, a strong book with really good characters that I would like to catch up with as they continue their path toward being fulfilled in life.
4 pieces of eye candy
CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.
Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she’s found a home in gay romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.
Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.
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