Can a summer romance last forever?
Wren Roberts thought he’d found his fairy tale when he met Mateo Rossi on holiday in Majorca. The wealthy and successful older man swept him off his feet, and before he knew it, he’d thrown caution to the wind and was living in Mateo’s waterside apartment in Venice. It’s a far cry from his harsh upbringing and crummy flat in London.
But as the summer turns to autumn, cracks begin to show. Mateo’s family aren’t welcoming, and there doesn’t seem to be a place for Wren in Mateo’s world. He could have coped with all of that, but Mateo himself seems like a different person away from the sunshine island.
Should Wren have been more cautious in riding off into the sunset when he wasn’t sure what lay over the horizon?
From bestselling author Lily Morton comes a romance about two men who find that sometimes happily ever after doesn’t end there.
I walk into the room and whistle. “Wow.”
Mateo sniffs disapprovingly. “This is the superior room?”
“Hmm. It’s quite poky, isn’t it? A bit like a prison cell with a nice view.” He glares at me, and I spread my hands. “What? You wanted me to point out the problems.”
He takes off his baseball cap and throws it on one of the beds. Will we be sleeping in here tonight? The beds are very close together. Somehow, I don’t think Mateo figured on that when he thought up this plan.
He puts his hands on his hips and looks intently around the room. He somehow manages to be dignified even with that atrocity of a T-shirt. I shake my head. Even in those cheap clothes, he’s hot. The tight T-shirt clings to his muscled torso and highlights the bulge of his biceps while the colour, which would be terrible on me, makes his olive skin glow. Even the shorts accentuate the tight fleshy curve of his buttocks.
He breaks the spell by moving over to the bed and lifting the mattress.
“Whoa,” I say. “What are you doing?”
He grins wickedly. “An old tip given to me by a hotel inspector. Lift the mattress and check for dust and dirt on the frame and springs. It shows whether it has been turned recently.”
“Aren’t hotel inspectors supposed to be secretive?”
He winks. “Not when they’re naked.”
I shake my head and move to his side. “Ugh. Look at that dust.”
He lets the mattress fall, wiping his hands on his shorts. “The mattresses are supposed to be turned every month.”
“I bet Julio Iglesias was in the charts the last time that happened here.”
He crouches and peers under the bed. “There is a condom wrapper under here,” he says in disgust.
“Open or sealed?” He raises an eyebrow and I shrug. “Well, it changes things. Open is bad housekeeping. Sealed is helpful.”
“It changes nothing.” He stands up and runs his finger over the top of a picture. He turns his finger toward me, showing that it’s covered in dust. “Housekeeping isn’t doing their job.”
“You remind me of an old foster carer I stayed with,” I say idly, opening the drawer of the bedside table. I remove a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and offer it to him. “Don’t hotels usually provide the Gideon Bible? I’m not sure whether this is an improvement or not.”
“Well, it’s not the best read out there.” I grin. “I remember reading this. It took bloody ages to get a copy from the library. I wanted to know whether I was suited for BDSM. I decided in the end that I could cope with the odd smacked bum, but I wasn’t that keen on being told what to do. I mean, I might have been able to obey a handsome billionaire, but it didn’t quite work with Trevor from Wapping, who was telling me to go to Tesco for him to buy his beer.”
There’s a long pause, and his lip twitches. “No, I mean, why do I remind you of a foster carer?”
I look at him and burst into laughter. “Sorry,” I say when I’ve recovered. “This couple I lived with for a few months used to get us all out of bed at five in the morning and make us clean the house.”
I’m startled to see a look of rage on his face.
“How old were you?” he asks.
“About ten, I think.”
“That’s fucking terrible.”
I shrug. “I’ve had worse, and at least I know how to use a hoover attachment. I’m sure it’ll come in useful sometime.” I look around the room. “I could be in for a position with your housekeeping team with my superior cleaning knowledge. I’d probably be management material straightaway.”
Another win by Lily Morton. Should I be shocked? No. She never disappoints.
I hate to call him poor, but… how about a living paycheck to paycheck kind of guy, Wren is on vacation with his wealthy friend who ends up ditching him. Through a series of kismet like events, he ends up getting hired for a week by the owner of a chain of hotels to help him figure out what is wrong with each one. And it is almost always prejudice. Prejudice against people who aren’t well off. Or don’t look or act well off. Which is 100% a real thing so it was nice to see it addressed so thoroughly in a book.
They naturally have chemistry, even with their almost 20 year age difference and their difference in tax brackets. But Wren never expects a thing from Mateo and Mateo never treats Wren any differently than people with money. And after the week is over, Mateo invites Wren back to Venice for a month.
Then we REALLY see how awful people with money can be, save a few.
I loved Wren because although he was an orphan, zero family, very few friends, a dead end job and an apartment he shares, he is just a happy person. He doesn’t let much get him down. He doesn’t lament or dwell or stew. He just carries on.
Mateo is like two different people. Except when he is with Wren. Seeing his worlds collide and his eyes open makes for great story telling.
I, of course, adored Mateo’s grandfather and I really hope side character A gets together with side character B in the next book. As as Ms. Morton is wont to do, there is a very loose thread connecting Wren to a character in a previous book. That is also always fun.
Mateo is very romantic throughout, even though he refuses to fall in love. And Wren is smitten. They are very sexy and sweet together and the romance is swoony without being over the top.
I also enjoyed starting at the end (nearly) and going back to the beginning. I don’t usually like that in books but it was very well done.
Lily Morton fans, this is a must read. And if you’re new to her work, do yourself a favor. Jump in.
4.5 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.