Is there a word for that moment when two parties are so equally shocked to see each other, given the circumstances, that all they can do is stare at each other, open mouthed?” ― August Westman
Author: Piper Vaughn & Kade Boehme
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 176 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.
As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. Look but don’t touch becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.
Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.
Review: When Aaron Costa’s friend broke his leg, he was worried about completing the renovations to the family lake house he had planned for the summer. Looking for a silver lining, he decided that he could do something he has wanted to do for a long time—make a connection with his college-aged son. Aaron is excited when his son, Julian, readily agrees to come and work for the summer. He also brings along an extra pair of hands to help. His best friend Malachi needed work for the summer, so he decided to lend a hand instead of heading home to visit his parents.
When the boys arrive at the lake house, Malachi is stunned when he sees Aaron shirtless after a day of work. He has always had a thing for older men, and Aaron is definitely his cup of tea. Aaron is surely not unaffected by Malachi either. Both of them do their very best to resist their mutual attraction for Julian’s sake since he doesn’t know that Aaron is gay, and he probably wouldn’t like his best friend messing around with his father.
As the work around the house progresses, Aaron realizes that Malachi is a skilled wood-worker and they start to bond. When Julian starts partying with the local kids and shirking his duties around the house, Aaron doesn’t know how to salvage the summer with his son and the frustration he feels pushes him closer to Malachi.
Eventually, Malachi and Aaron give in to their desires and begin an agreed upon “friends with benefits” arrangement for the summer. They do their very best to keep this hidden from Julian, and they succeed because he is pulling farther and farther away from both of them. Malachi finds himself in over his head when his feelings for Aaron grow way past friends with benefits, but he keeps that information to himself because he believes there can’t be a future between them.
Aaron and Malachi’s luck runs out when Julian returns home unexpectedly and finds the men in a compromising position. When Julian loses his mind over their relationship, Malachi knows what Aaron is going to do before it even happens, and his heart is shattered.
While Malachi tries to mend his heart by visiting with his parents, Aaron is finishing up the lake house and trying to salvage any kind of relationship with Julian. Both goals seem to be impossible, but Aaron refuses to lose his son and Malachi knows he has to move on. Only time will tell if the two men will get back together and if Julian can accept his father and best friend loving one another. Now, y’all know I am not going to tell you what happens, you will have to read it yourself, and I highly recommend you do.
Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme have done something that is very rarely done; they made me love a shorter story. These two authors managed to pack this book with not only plenty of backstory for each character, but fully developed the current relationships between the three main characters, as well as the supporting characters. I have to say that with the number of novellas I have read, I have never seen a better “caught in the act” scene before. I promise it will not only make you laugh, but the fallout will touch your heart.
By the end of this story I found myself sighing like a schoolgirl. I highly recommend this title and believe you won’t be disappointed.