Ok, I'm out. I think...
This series started out as a five-star romance for me but this book was just everything and everyone drowning in kids. Several kids. And then more kids. All the time. Seriously - nothing but kids. Including following every detail of a surrogacy month by month. Yes, the blurb implied it, but I still thought there might be just a few pages here not about kids. If those pages were there, they sure went under in all the kids stuff.
The blurbs of later books in the series still sound really good, so maybe I'll try again at some point, but this book has definitely weaned me off this series for now.
“Go fuck yourself,” he said coolly.
“Nah,” I said, ready to take our friendship to the next level. “I’ve got your ex-boyfriend for that.”
He gaped at me.
I waggled my eyebrows at him.
He snorted and shook his head begrudgingly. “Okay, Haversford. That was… good. I mean, I really want to stab you with a sword, but I’ll give you that one.”
“Best friends 5eva!”
“Oh for fuck’s sake.”
Wonderful May-December romance.
There is a significant age gap between David and Brandon, and although it's now an issue between the two of them, they struggle with how the world outside their relationship perceives them. I wanted to slap both of them at times for letting other people's opinions affect them so much, but at the same time their issues seemed very realistic to me.
So things fall apart until shit happens and help them get their priorities straight. Well shit and Kyle happen.
Kyle makes himself known in David's mind regularly throughout the story - usually with some wonderful snappy and to-the-point sarcastic remarks when David is being stupid. Even dead, Kyle played a large role in the story and I was glad to see there was room for him without Brandon feeling threatened in any way by his memory.
Loved it, But then, Barbara Elsborg's MM stories tend to fit me very well.
In Edge of Forever two people from very different worlds find their missing piece in each other on a cattle ranch in Russia. Levi is the very definition of American cowboy. His mother was Russian and speaking the language fluently he has little problems fitting in at the Russian ranch, whereas privileged, rich boy Pasha sticks out like a sore thumb with his eyeliner and designer clothes.
But of course there is more to Pasha than meets the eye and despite Levi's determination to never find himself in a relationship, the two grow close.
I was nervous in the beginning that Pasha would begin to annoy me; he has a smart mouth on him, jokes around and has a snappy remark for every situation. It could easily have been 'too much' but it wasn't and I fell in love with him quite quickly. Although he is not at the ranch by choice, he works hard trying to make the best of the situation. He doesn't try to hide who he is and he has a huge heart - in my book there will always be bonus points to a guy who loves animals ;)
This is more than just two guys getting it on on a cattle ranch; there are dark, painful secrets in both their pasts and in Pasha's case his immediate past refuses to let go and continues to pose a threat - if you know this author, you'll know that there are some nasty POS bad guys lurking around!
But in the end love conquers all (obviously!) and Levi and Pasha get their perfect HEA.
“I love your body,” Pasha whispered. “Beautiful muscles, all those dips and curves.”
“You’re the one with the beautiful body. I’m covered in scars.”
“Little ones and I adore them all. Except this one.” He pointed to the tiniest white line on Levi’s wrist.
“And that one.”
On his shoulder. “More barbed wire.”
“You didn’t learn after the first time?”
Did you impress him last night?” “I didn’t ask for a performance appraisal. But he seemed well satisfied,” I couldn’t resist adding. I might just possibly have mirrored her smirk, although my conscience pricked as I recalled it had been Sean, in fact, who’d done all the work. Still, I’d been there in a supervisory capacity. Providing, as it were, inspiration...
“I haven’t got any condoms!” I blurted out. Mortified, I clapped a hand over my mouth. I could almost feel the breeze of the stable door slamming shut as the horse flicked its tail in contempt and cantered merrily down the street.
Sean was laughing at me. “Okay, unexpected but to the point. I like that in a bloke.”
Oh God. “I mean, I thought . . . Just in case we . . . Not that I was making any presumptions, that would be, um, presumptuous. And I wouldn’t want to, well, presume . . .”
Robert is such an adorable geek and narrator Mark Steadman just nails the Britishness of this book.
There are insta-love stories and then there's The Palisade. I mean, wow. Could be a new record for how fast an MC brings out the L-word.
I don't have an issue with the insta-love trope in general, but this was perhaps a bit much. Luckily I liked the characters and the story, while highly predictable, was still very enjoyable when you are in the mood for low angst sweetness. And boy, was it sweet:
I spared a glance away from him, for a second. Taking in the sea, the cliffs, the hint of lavender at the top before the walls of stone gave way to sky and sun.
And I was home.
By the sea. By the cliff.
But most of all, with him. This man was my home.
There seem to be a great bunch of people in Lavender Shores and I will definitely pick up the next book soon.