Author: Christiane France
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: 134 Pages
At a Glance: I enjoyed this second chance at love story—especially once the narcissistic character was out of the way.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Nick Gregorio is at a crossroads in his life. When his former lover, Al Martinsen, came to Vegas wanting to make up, Nick was prepared to listen. For Nick, however, returning to their hometown to resume playing second fiddle to Al’s ambitions was not an option, and he suggested Al move to Vegas permanently.
Six weeks have passed with no word from Al, and Nick doesn’t know what to think. Is Al still considering moving to Vegas, or does his silence say it all? When Nick finally receives news about Al, it sends him reeling with shock, anger and total despair. He knew Al had allowed ambition to dominate his life, but even he found it hard to believe Al would go so far as to commit the ultimate betrayal. There’s no going back for either of them now.
In desperation, Nick looks for temporary oblivion in the form of a night out that turns nasty and violent. Fortunately for Nick, his new friend and boss, Trip Browning, comes to his aid. With Trip’s support, Nick is able to resume work planning the gala opening of The Neapolitan’s newest restaurant. That is, until Trip delivers a surprise of his own and sends Nick’s world spinning in a whole different direction…
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released as two separate titles by another publisher. They have been re-edited, revised, and combined into a single title for this release.
Review: Nick Gregorio has sold his restaurant in suburban Buffalo and moved to Las Vegas—without a word to his long-time lover, Al Martinson. Don’t feel too bad for Al, though. He’s married to the boss’s daughter, with the promise of a guaranteed partnership in daddy’s law firm. When, several months later, Al shows up in Vegas to attend a friend’s wedding, he goes searching for Nick with the intent of convincing him to come back and resume their relationship.
Nick still loves Al and gives in to him right away—at least physically. They go back to Nick’s place, and Al does his very best to try to convince Nick that his place is back home. That they need to resume their relationship. But Nick is tired of being third or fourth in Al’s priorities. Al’s ambition is what got him into a sham marriage in the first place, and as Nick predicted, the plan isn’t as easy as Al thought it would be. Despite their feelings and Nick’s desire to be with Al, he refuses to go back to that life. Instead, he suggests Al give up the ghost with this plan and come to Vegas to be with Nick.
For six weeks, Nick hears nothing and while he’s not sure what to read into that, he doesn’t really have time to worry about it because he’s got to get ready for the big opening of the new restaurant that he’s going to be running at the Neapolitan. He needs the launch party to be a huge success, not just for him but for his boss, Trip, and the owner of the hotel, Sophia, as they have put their faith in him. But when a chef from his old restaurant joins his staff, he lets Nick in on the little detail that Al has forgotten to mention during his little visit. Nick is devastated. After he confirms with Al, he realizes that it’s over, but he’s crushed. He decides to go out for some drinks and ends up in a fight. Luckily he’s got people looking out for him, and Trip, his friend and boss, decides to watch over him.
Nick has had a feeling for a while that there is more to Trip than meets the eye. He’s been a good friend to Nick, and it seems like he might like to be more. But they both need to get through the opening of the new restaurant, and Nick really has to close the door on Al.
I enjoyed this second chance at love story—especially once the narcissistic character was out of the way. I was certainly glad that Nick did not give in to Al’s completely selfish demands. There’s not much to like about Al in this book. Nick and Al had been together since they were teenagers, and it appears that only one of them grew up while the other continued on in an adolescent world where his desires were all that mattered; the collateral damage could just be smoothed away with sex whenever that was convenient. Obviously if Al had ever truly loved Nick in an adult way, he wouldn’t have continued to put him so far down on his list of priorities.
I really liked Trip and I think he’s a much better partner for Nick. They are both really good guys. While there isn’t room for a lot of secondary characters in this story, Sophia, the hotel owner, appreciates both men which is nice to see.
While this is a shorter piece, it covers a lot of ground. I feel like this could be the beginning and the middle of a series that could have a final chapter. There is plenty more that can be written, and since this book has found a new home, maybe there will be more in this series.
You can buy Independence Day here: