This one’s a reread, but I think I’ve only read it once before, and it’s been a while, so it felt like a fairly fresh read. I’ve recently reread the book before this one in the series (Caught, featuring a different couple in the same town/village), so I appreciated the cameos featuring that other couple.
As always, I loved the comedic flair JL Merrow includes in her stories. Fair warning, you’re going to start out not caring much for one of the MCs, Tristan, but never fear, both context and character development will turn him into a more sympathetic character. I thoroughly enjoyed Tristan’s personal growth in this wonderful opposites attract story.
Without further ado, here’s a selection of snippets to let this lovely book toot its own horn:
Ah Tristan. He’s trying…sorta. He still has a ways to go.
“No, no, you mustn’t apologise,” Tristan protested. “That’s my job. Which I do. Apologise, I mean.” Damn it, had he exceeded his eloquence quota for the day?
Con stared into the depths of his mug. “’S’nuffin’. I shouldn’t’ve got the hump. Just, it’s been a long day and all.” He shrugged. “Which, yeah, obviously you realised.”
“Nevertheless, I shouldn’t have allowed my tongue to run away with itself like that.” Tristan kept his voice low and leaned a little closer to Con. That was better. That was far more like the Tristan Goldsmith A game. “I’m afraid sometimes I can be a little tactless when my nerves get the better of me.” Should he have added a self-conscious laugh? Tristan held his breath.
Con looked up at him sharply. “What, you? Nervous?”
He’s a smooth operator, Tristan is 😎. Or tries to be, anyway…
Con frowned, then, adorably, blushed. “Oh. No, she’s got a bloke. Chris, who plays Flute, yeah? And, well, I’m not really into girls.” Once more the carpet received a thorough examination.
Even as he mentally punched the air in celebration, Tristan had to admire Con’s constitution. If he lived here, he’d make it a point to look at the hideous flooring as little as possible. “And tell me,” he purred, sliding so close one couldn’t have fit a cat’s whisker between them on the sofa and putting his hand on Con’s knee once more. “Are there any young men you’re particularly, ahem, into at the moment?”
Annoyingly, Con stiffened, and not in a good way. Tristan got the distinct impression that if he weren’t already pressed up against the arm of the sofa, he’d be edging away. “I . . . Uh. No. Um. You? Um. If you’re into blokes, obviously.”
Aw. He wasn’t smooth enough…or rather, was too smooth…
One day, Tristan thought dully, he’d be called upon to give a performance as Caesar being shivved by his senators. All he’d have to do would be to remember the precise degree of stabbing pain he could feel now in the chest area, and the Olivier Award would be in the bag.
LOL. Poor Tristan’s had a rough morning, what with it having started by stepping out of bed directly onto half a mouse a cat had left as a gift for him. He’s still trying too hard to catch Con’s interest, but he’s starting to loosen up.
“Tristan’s heart, inexplicably, lightened. “You think so?” He allowed the merest suspicion of a pout to shape his lips.
“Yeah, ’fraid so. Course, if it’d been the front half . . .” Con wasn’t exactly smiling now, but there was definitely less disgruntlement in his expression. Perhaps even a modicum of gruntlement.
Tristan felt a wholly unwonted urge to punch the air. “I’m still looking forward to finding the front half,” he said, his tone drier than Nanna Geary’s sherry. “Actually,” he added, the weather seeming clement for a spot of hay-making, “I could do with your professional services. There was, ah, some damage caused.”
Con’s eyes widened. “Just how big was this mouse? Sorry. Half a mouse.”
“It was me. The damage, I mean. I, ah, managed to make a hole in the kitchen wall.” In for a penny, in for a pound. “Just before I flashed the next-door neighbour with the Goldsmith family jewels and caused him to run away in fright. It hasn’t been a very good morning.”
“Lot of people run screaming when they see the Goldsmith family jewels, do they?”
LOL. A little later…
Heather leaned forward and smiled. It didn’t bode well, that smile. Meggie the Second, Tristan considered, had probably worn such a smile an instant before this morning’s mouse became a stranger to his own hind quarters.
And since most of the snippets were all on the longish side, I’ll leave it at that. 🙂
Novel / 68,300 Words / 271 Pages
Cover By: Natasha Snow
Series: The Shamwell Tales
All the world’s a stage . . . but life doesn’t come with a script.
Posh boy Tristan Goldsmith has one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when the Shamwell Amateur Dramatics Society begs him to take a leading role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an added incentive, he’ll be giving private acting lessons to a gorgeous local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances.
As a late-diagnosed dyslexic still struggling with literacy, Con Izzard’s never dared to act before. With arrogant yet charming Tristan helping him with his lines, he finally has his chance to shine. But Con’s determined not to start a romance with a man he’s convinced only wants a casual fling.
Tristan’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when he realises his attraction to the tall, muscular handyman isn’t just physical. Just as he thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes with a slip of the tongue that shatters Con’s trust and sends him running for cover. This show may be over before the curtain’s even opened.
Note: This is a revised second edition, originally published elsewhere.