Author: Ally Blue
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 204 Pages
At a Glance: This is book sixteen in the Bluewater Bay universe, and I have to say it brings some life back into this series.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Nat Horn is almost living the dream. His part as a werewolf extra on the hit show Wolf’s Landing has somehow turned into a regular role. Beautiful rising star Solari Praveen has taken an interest in him. He’s even making enough money to think about getting out of Bluewater Bay someday. Except his retired dad’s dependence on pain medications seems to be getting worse, and Nat’s the only one around to take care of him.
When Nat learns that Solari’s interest isn’t romantic, his disappointment is surprisingly short-lived, because in getting to know her, he also got to know her assistant, Rafael. And Rafael turns out to be the kind of friend—and potential boyfriend—Nat never dared to dream about.
Distracted by his astonishing new life, new friends, and new possibilities, Nat lets his guard down, and suddenly his life goes careening out of control. Racked by guilt, he tries to push his new friends away, but the bonds he’s formed are already too strong. In fact, they’re strong enough to pull him forward, into the future he’s been longing for—but to get there, he’ll have to let go of the past.
Review: No Small Parts is part of the Bluewater Bay universe, which is a collection of books written by various novelists, incorporating the same location (Bluewater Bay) and associated with Wolf’s Landing, a fictional television show being shot in that location. This is book sixteen in the universe, and I have to say it brings some life back into this series.
We meet Nat Horn at one of the lowest points in his life. His dad has become addicted to painkillers after a logging accident. Nat’s working two jobs to try and keep their life afloat, and he is just one small wave from going under. Nat is shy and reserved by nature, asking for help isn’t his style, and he doesn’t have the money to acquire any either. He lives totally in the now because he just can’t imagine a different future, and he can’t allow himself to hope for better.
But, Nat’s life is about to change. It doesn’t happen all at once, but things start to go Nat’s way. It begins with his crush on costar Solari Praveen. I will admit, that I found this part awkward. This plot point was introduced solely as a vehicle to bring our two main characters together, and it seemed forced and a little jarringly out of character with the flowing way the rest of the book was written. However, Nat gains a friend in Solari, and begins to run into her personal assistant, Rafael. What follows is a gradual friends-to-lovers-to-soulmates storyline. There is no insta-love here, Blue really takes her time to incorporate the MC’s lives into one another, and to allow their romance to blossom gradually.
Rafael hopes to become a director someday. He knows he has to pay his dues for Hollywood to accept him, so he’s working on Wolf’s Landing, hoping someone will buy up the rights to his own screenplay and let him direct it. He doesn’t know what Solari is playing with, asking the gorgeous werewolf extra out, since she has a long-term girlfriend already, but he is determined that the handsome and sad man is not going to get hurt on his watch. Rafael grew up in Hollywood, and his naturally sunny disposition shines like the California sun he misses.
These two men were perfect for each other. The book really follows an age old romantic theme and as such, you know exactly where the story is headed and what’s going to happen. The difference in this book, compared to others, is that Ally Blue has spent the time to get you invested in her characters to the point that knowing the storyline ahead of time doesn’t matter at all. You want—no, you need—life to get better for Nat, and for Rafael to help shoulder some of the burdens he carries. The pacing is nicely done, the storyline flows to its logical conclusion, and they all live HEA. What more could you want in a romance?
There isn’t any angst, not really, just real life situations with Nat’s dad, which have to be dealt with, and I don’t call that angst. The main characters, once established as a couple, don’t deviate from each other. The sex scenes are hot and the book ends with both men being literally and figuratively on the top of a mountain, personally and professionally. This story has brought me back to the Bluewater Bay series. There are books covering every portion of the rainbow and LGBTQ spectrum within these books, all with an impressive array of authors contributing. Some you may like more than others–I have my favorites–and No Small Parts will definitely go in the favorites column.
Side note: I really appreciate it when the cover of a novel matches the story inside. In this case, it is spot on and a beautiful picture to boot! You can imagine yourself there—practically smell the cool crisp air overlooking Bluewater Bay in the Pacific Northwest. Nicely done, L.C. Chase!
You can buy No Small Parts here: