Title: Guided Heart
Author: P.J. Nevada
Length: 130 Pages
At a Glance: I enjoyed the setting and descriptions of Venice and the story was cute, but I didn’t feel a huge connection and had a difficult time being invested.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Holiday in Venice, Italy. What can be more romantic, especially when you have a young sexy guide named Luca, with an Italian accent to die for? That’s what Mark, visiting from Denver thought, except for the fact that he had just exited a tumultuous relationship of his own. The last thing he needed was to land in a rebound romance, especially with a guy that doesn’t seem all that interested, or maybe even isn’t gay. With an ocean keeping their lives separated, things do not look very promising.
But Mark senses something more, maybe something special, and tries to get closer to Luca, without much success. When Mark is faced with an unexpected problem, it is Luca who comes to his rescue. Faced with this, along with an unwanted ex, Luca and Mark begin to recognize the slowly burgeoning relationship that is forming between them.
Along with an unwanted past, Luca needs to face family that hasn’t been very supportive of his life or his lifestyle. The more that Luca and Mark, now lovingly called Marco, want to be together, the more things they find keeping them apart. Valiantly, they try to find a path that will lead to a future together, one on the same continent.
Follow the story of Luca and Marco in this erotic romance, and see if the charms of the old world can overcome the tough realities of today.
Review: This story is a cute romance which takes place between an American tourist, Mark (AKA Marco), and Luca, a tour guide. The setting was lovely and it was clear the author has either spent a great deal of time in Venice, or did an amazing job at researching the city. I truly enjoyed reading about the different areas and restaurants they visited, and the history behind the city. There are other cities within the story, but Venice’s descriptions were truly beautiful.
Mark left for Italy after catching his boyfriend cheating on him, and I really liked his final parting line; it was pretty epic—“You can call me history.” The reader gets the story told in sort of a flashback because Mark is already in Italy when the story begins, and is part of a group for which Luca is the tour guide. Mark immediately is attracted to Luca, but Luca is giving some major mixed signals. Most of them, in the beginning, are “back the heck off”. Through a series of events the two end up spending time together and getting to know each other, eventually hook up, and Luca accompanies Mark as he sees other cities and they fall for one another.
The story started off pretty strong for me with a lot of potential. Sadly, after about a quarter of the way through my attention began to wane and the story took on a decidedly rushed feel.
Here’s the deal: all in all it was a cute story, and I think a lot of people will like it for a quick and sweet read. But personally, I couldn’t really get invested in the characters’ interactions as they lacked any real depth. I had a difficult time caring about Mark and Luca as a couple because I tend to prefer my stories with a lot more focus on the character and romance development, and this story became very fast-paced without a whole lot of focus in those areas. Once Mark and Luca get together things felt very hurried, they were jumping into bed a lot, and in between romps between the sheets they faced some problems, and then resolutions to those problems are just sort of dropped out of nowhere. The other cities the two travel to didn’t get the same attention to detail and history Venice received in the beginning. Then there was the situation with Jackson (the ex) throughout the story, which felt somewhat unrealistic in its portrayal and seemed thrown in to add a “bad guy” element. In my opinion, it didn’t really add anything real to the story. I would have preferred a little more relationship growth on page, and details on the other cities in Italy that Mark and Luca visited.
So, though I enjoyed the setting and descriptions of Venice and the story was cute, I didn’t feel a huge connection with the characters or their romance and had a difficult time being invested in the outcome of Mark and Luca’s story.
You can buy Guided Heart here: