Title: The Palisade (Lavender Shores: Book One)
Author: Rosalind Abel
Length: 243 Pages
At a Glance: The Palisade is the perfect summer romance for someone looking for a light, slightly angsty love story.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Confident businessman Joel Rhodes sees the small California town of Lavender Shores as nothing more than a business opportunity and a final stepping stone to the position he’s been working toward his entire life. It was supposed to be just one night in town to close the deal, and sleeping with one of the local men, no matter how gorgeous, meant nothing more than a few hours of fun.
Andrew Kelly is perfectly content with the life he has in his hometown. So much so that the only thing missing is someone to share it with. Going to bed with a tourist was never meant to be the answer to his dreams, just a beautiful distraction. He could get back to looking for Mr. Right the next day.
Both Andrew’s and Joel’s worlds are turned upside down when a few hours of pleasure get extended to a couple of days. Even that shouldn’t have been a big deal. You can’t fall in love in that amount of time. That isn’t how it works. However, if destinies collide, a few short days may be all it takes to find your soul mate. Even so, when secrets and motivations get tangled, fate may do nothing more than leave two hearts in pieces.
Review: From beginning to end, The Palisade by Rosalind Abel is unapologetically romantic, replete with an insta-love trope and heartwarming characters. From the quirkiest father I have ever read to the mysterious best friend whose story will no doubt be the basis for another installment in the Lavender Shores novels, the author creates a magical town that is a throwback to the old fashioned days where neighbors had your back, knew all your business and stuck by you through thick and thin. Being gay is more than fine in this delightful place, and no one enjoys that fact more than resident and founding family member Andrew Kelly. However, even though his life is one marked by happiness, there is an air of melancholy wrapped around him as very few men would willingly seek to remain in the sleepy little town of Lavender Shores. In fact, most of his friends have moved on to the city just an hour away, and while Andrew still clings to the hope that one day he will meet that special man who will sweep him off his feet, he hardly expects it to be a virtual stranger who has come to town looking to open a coffee shop.
Joel Rhodes is sick and tired of trying to prove himself to his cold, calculating father, and this trip is the one that will make or break his chance to be the heir to the proverbial coffee kingdom he has so exhaustingly helped his father create. When away on business, Joel is always up for a quick round of hard sex, but he never gets entangled with his one-night stands…until he meets Andrew. For the first time, Joel begins to realize that maybe, just maybe, he has been missing something all along—someone to love and put down roots with, build a home with, a man with whom he can find true happiness. With both Joel and Andrew thinking they cannot possibly have fallen in love at first sight, the magic of Lavender Shores ensnares them both. But unfortunately, it can’t keep the true reason Joel is there to buy property from rearing its ugly head. When that happens, Andrew realizes his dreams have been just that—empty and ridiculous, and there is nothing left of them but his broken heart.
This novel is sweet, romantic and sexy. With some fairly steamy sexual encounters that help mark the quick love development between Andrew and Joel, we are thrust headlong into their whirlwind romance only to worry that it was too much too soon. Secrets have a nasty habit of surfacing when you least want them to, and this is the case for poor Joel, who has found himself in the unenviable place of having to try and please a tyrant of a father while daring to hope he has found the man who will be his true forever love. Joel was immediately likable; his story draws you in and you find yourself hoping against all hope that somehow it will not end in disaster. The things Joel wants are so reasonable, but he is so very trapped in a life that he hates, and cannot see how to break free from any time soon. When Andrew seems to encapsulate everything Joel has always wanted, it’s just too good to be true.
Andrew is that anomaly in town, one of the few younger members who has found that leaving his beloved Lavender Shores is something he just cannot bring himself to do despite it meaning he may never really have what his heart desires most—a home, children and a man to love. Despite that fact, Andrew hangs on to his dreams of a happy-ever-after, and can hardly believe his luck when Joel seems to fit the bill perfectly. Yes, theirs is definitely an insta-love of monumental proportions, but its really okay—the way in which Ms. Abel writes her story allows for this fantastical contrivance to occur rather seamlessly, and you don’t for one instant disbelieve that both men feel a strong and undeniable bond.
The Palisade is the perfect summer romance for someone looking for a light, slightly angsty love story. With a gorgeous setting on the California coastline, a town peopled with easygoing and humorous side characters, and two men who are seemingly destined for each other, you couldn’t ask for much more when it comes to reading a story about love at first sight.
You can buy The Palisade here: