A closeted movie star can’t grieve the loss of his old love until a new love shows him the way.
Lane’s (Lollipop, 2016, etc.) contribution to the multiauthor LGBTQ Bluewater Bay romance series offers her trademark angst and emotional sensuality. After a year of using alcohol to numb his sorrow over the tragic death of his longtime partner, closeted movie star Connor Montgomery posts a drunken video that nearly ends his career. At the urging of his agent, Connor leaves his Malibu beach house full of painful memories to take a role in a paranormal TV series filming outside Seattle. Connor is instantly attracted to his local assistant, Noah Dakers, whose mixed African-American and Native American heritage gives him the dark good looks Connor can’t resist. Lane averts a cliché by writing Noah as a mature and centered 20-something, not a star-struck local, but his instalove for Connor coupled with his flawless character detract from the romance. The sex scenes are explicit (including several kinks) and important, since the bedroom is the only place where Connor can mute the voice of his dead lover, opening himself to the present moment. Connor’s movement out of desolation is slowed by his reluctance to examine his lost relationship and by his dawning realization of the costs of being closeted. While affecting, it feels a little too slow at times. Noah’s lament near the end of the novel could have opened it: “You have like…an iceberg of damage in you, and you keep trying to think it’s all fine, but I keep wrecking myself on bigger and bigger pieces.” Without a clearer understanding of his motives, readers may wonder why Noah is willing to stay in the water.
A worthwhile if imperfect trip to Bluewater Bay, where agonizing grief is transformed by unconditional love.