The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.
Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.
Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.
Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.
Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.
Length: 80,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design
As Ethan walked through the resort on Fraser Island the next afternoon after a tour to gorgeous Lake McKenzie, he finally admitted to himself that he was looking for Clay.
Because he’s nice! He’s fun to talk to. Besides, my harmless crush is just that. Harmless. Why shouldn’t I enjoy it? Nothing’s going to happen. He’s apparently straight and I’m on the rebound. But we can be friendly. I like his accent, and he’s a nice guy.
Of course, Clay wasn’t just nice. He was sexy. His accent? Sexy. The Australian slang he used that made him sound like Crocodile Dundee sometimes? Sexy. His broad shoulders and solid build? Sexy. That he didn’t have chiseled abs and was a little soft around the middle? Sexy. Those blue eyes, and how the auburn in his hair gleamed in the sun, especially in his beard and the hair on his arms, and how he had freckles…
Sexy, sexy, sexy.
But the sexiest thing of all was how thoughtful he was. How he made such an effort to make sure Ethan could hear him when he spoke. How he’d told him the secret of the Mission Bay sunrise. How he’d copied the tour guide notes for him. Even back in Cairns, how he’d held Ethan’s backpack while Ethan was snorkeling and watched over him, then later took him to buy a hat.
Ethan was wearing the hat now, and it gave him a giddy little thrill.
Is he straight though?
The question had been niggling at him. Clay had been married to a woman for years and had kids, but of course that didn’t mean he was straight. He could be bi or pan. Although he’d mentioned the right woman coming along.
Still, when Ethan had touched his arm that morning on Mission Beach and looked into Clay’s eyes, he swore there had been a flicker between them. That unnamed frisson of knowing.
Wishful thinking. Don’t be an idiot.
There were four pools at the resort, and Ethan strolled around the first two. It was sunny, and through his polarized sunglasses, the water, surrounding palm trees, and forest beyond were vibrant. He waved hello to Shiv—who was reading on a lounger since there was nothing planned for the day after that morning’s trip to the lake in four-by-four jeeps—and continued on to a smaller, kidney-shaped pool that was more tucked away, and—
There he was, stretched out on a chaise lounge under the shade of an umbrella and surrounding trees on the deck at the far end of the pool. There were a few adults in the water paddling lazily, others on the more exposed side of the concrete deck sunbathing. Kids seemed to be in the bigger pools, their splashing and shrieks distant noises now.
Oh so casually, Ethan ambled around the pool, stealing glances at Clay from the corner of his eye. The chaises on either side of him were vacant. In fact, that whole shady side of the pool was empty and quiet. There was no music piped in, just the rustle of leaves in the breeze. It was perfect.
Clay wore his sexy-AF aviator sunglasses, navy bathing trunks, and nothing else but his gold-colored watch. It was kind of old-fashioned to wear a watch, and it was sexy. He’d apparently taken a dip, since his hair was wet and darker, and drops of water dried on his skin.
His long, muscular legs were crossed at the ankles. There was a newspaper folded over his stomach, his fingers laced on top of it. His nipples were pink amid the reddish hair on his chest, and as Ethan got closer, he imagined licking those nipples.
Heat roaring through him, he swallowed thickly. This was a bad idea, and he should turn back the way he came. But now he was close enough that if Clay saw him, it might seem rude, like Ethan had turned around and left because he was avoiding Clay. So he kept walking slowly around the curve of the shaded deep end, where one woman in a bikini swam a slow side stroke.
Clay’s chaise was partly reclined, and it was entirely possible he was napping and didn’t have any idea Ethan was even there. Ethan slowed even more so his flip-flops didn’t flap on the concrete.
Okay, if I walk by and he doesn’t notice me, that’s a sign. I’ll keep going and stop being ridiculous.
He was still at least ten feet away when Clay called, “Ethan!” and lifted a hand in a wave.
“Oh, hey!” Ethan replied too loudly. Calm the fuck down. He smiled as he approached. “You found a good shady spot.”
“Yep. Got skin cancer once when I was younger, so I reckoned me and the sun aren’t mates.”
Ethan gaped. “Oh my God. I’m sorry. You said before that you had to be careful, but I didn’t realize.”
“Nah, nah. Don’t be sorry.” He casually motioned to the chaise on his left in invitation. Ethan spread out his striped resort towel and settled in, his heart beating too fast as he took off his hat since they were in the shade. Clay added, “I shouldn’t be so dramatic—it wasn’t melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma. Quite common in Australia. It can’t spread, so it’s not dangerous like other cancers. Still, I had to have surgery to remove it, so it’s not nothing.”
“Wow. I’m glad it wasn’t melanoma. Obviously. Where was it?” he asked before realizing how intrusive that was. Even though Clay really felt like a friend now, Ethan had to remember it was probably mostly in his head. “I’m sorry, I’m being totally nosy! You don’t have to tell me.”
See? This was a bad idea. I’m going to make a fool of myself with this crush. Maybe it’s not so harmless after all.
“No worries. It was on the back of my left shoulder.” Clay leaned forward, angling so Ethan could see. He reached over that shoulder with his right hand, his fingers finding a pale circle of a scar. Just below it was a tattoo, a green sort of shield with a yellow sun rising over a green horizon and five stars dotting the shield. It was a few inches wide and several inches long.
“Cool tattoo.” Ethan had never been compelled to get one, but he enjoyed looking at other people’s. Before he could stop himself, he traced it with his fingertip. Clay’s back was freckled as well, and goddamn, why was that so sexy? The seconds ticked by as he touched Clay, neither of them saying anything.
Finally, Ethan asked, “Does it mean something?” He was still touching, and Clay shivered. Ethan dropped his hand, his mouth dry.
Clay cleared his throat as he sat back. “It’s part of the Cricket Australia logo. On their uniforms there’s a roo on the left and an emu on the right, and ‘Australia’ written underneath.” He laughed and muttered something Ethan missed.
“What was the last part? Sorry.”
“I thought having the full logo was overkill for a tattoo. Didn’t want it too big, but I like having a little something.”
“You really love cricket, huh?”
Clay laughed. “What gave me away?”
Ethan chuckled. “Oh, you were going to tell me about that thing. The…” He racked his brain for the right word. “Ashes?”
“Ah, yes.” Clay tipped his head forward and peered at Ethan over the rims of his aviators with his intensely blue eyes. A thrill of desire shot through Ethan’s veins. Clay asked, “Are you sure you really want to know? No need to humor me, mate.”
“No, I really do!” He laughed, and it came out shaky, so he faked a cough. “I always loved sports when I was younger, and I want to get back into them. Although the Mets were epically bad last season, so I wasn’t very inspired to hop back on the bandwagon.”
Sigh…. What would you do if you walked in on your fiancé sleeping with your very best friend the night before your wedding? Cheating is never fun to read about, especially if you’ve been in Ethan’s shoes… which, most everyone has been at one point or another, I reckon. Maybe not the night before your wedding, but, cheated on all the same.
So, when Ethan walked in on his fiancé and best friend, he felt like his world had ended. They were the only family he had really… They’d been there for him so much over the years, especially when Ethan started losing his hearing. He’d become depressed and was having a hard go of things, but things had been looking up the last year or so… he’d never imagined it was because his soon-to-be-husband and best friend had gotten together. Although the authors tried to make them not seem like such terrible people….it didn’t work for me. There is no forgiving cheating, and I’m glad that Ethan didn’t. I actually wish we’d have gotten a closer look at years later when they were both miserably alone or worse… but alas…not everyone is as psycho as me LOL
So, deciding last minute to go on his honeymoon alone seemed like a great idea… It was hard at first, especially since he didn’t have anyone there to repeat things to him that he couldn’t hear, or to help him when things got a little overwhelming. But, that’s when he met Clay… a very patient, good looking tour bus driver that became a friendly face and big help to Ethan. He was patient and understanding, and didn’t treat Ethan any differently than he would anyone, he also seemed to like spending time with him. It was innocent at first, he could look, fantasize, Clay was a straight, and it was his holiday… what harm could come from that.
So, Clay is there when Ethan goes snorkeling and site seeing, and over the next few days, they become somewhat friends…. It’s a slow going first half, just Ethan enjoying his honeymoon and getting to know Clay. Clay has always thought he was straight, having repressed a childhood traumatic experience that he never looked closely at as an adult. Having been divorced with two grown kids, he was content with the way things were. Content but lonely….And there was just something about Ethan that he couldn’t forget.
It was a bit bumpy, watching him try to figure it out, and I hated that Ethan suffered a small bit because of it. I know how insecure one can get after being betrayed, so I hated that he was left doubting himself and wondering what he’d done wrong. Clay doesn’t waste time fixing it though, and then things get really interesting.
I don’t wanna spell the whole book out, but if you like adorable guys, Australian slang, newly discovered love, first timers, and hurt/comfort with HEA… you’ll love this one. I know I did. And what a sweet ending. <3
4 pieces of eye candy from me!
Being a straight woman, there isn’t always a ton of things in MM romance that I can relate to. Sure, a feeling here or there, that kind of thing. But this one deals with hearing loss and the aftermath. And while my hearing loss is quite different that the character Ethan’s, dealing with it in the real world is very similar to what I deal with. Oh the validation I felt!
“It can be so isolating. It’s like… I’m no deaf enough to use ASL, but I’m not a hearing person anymore either. Still, I live in the hearing world- the only world I’ve ever known. I’m not part of the Deaf culture. I don’t know where I fit. Who I am.”
ALL of this. So to say I felt a connection to Ethan is putting it mildly. And now that I have potentially bored you, my review.
This book had a lot of tropes in one. So I am sure one of them will fit what you are looking for. Vacation romance, May-December romance, first time gay, demisexual, rebound relationship, etc. And this is a very cute romance that really doesn’t start until at least the halfway part of the book. Before that is the big break up and subsequent “honeymoon for one” in Australia.
To me, this was a fluffy beach read. Sure Ethan was dealing with some stuff, but mostly he felt sorry for himself until he didn’t. And Clay had nearly a perfect life. He drove his wife to meet the guy she wanted a relationship with WHILE THEY WERE STILL MARRIED.
Anyway. It could have been super angsty. Ethan dealing with his break up. Not only with his fiancé, but his best friend. Clay dealing with being not straight after a lifetime of believing being anything but straight was wrong. But nope. Like I said, fluffy beach read. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. Who doesn’t need a happy no tears book?
So it was very neat and tidy and cute and romantic. If you’re on vacation or want to go on vacation, this is a book for you.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”