Title: The Veranda (Lavender Shores: Book Three)
Author: Rosalind Abel
Publisher: Self-Published/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 276 Pages
At a Glance: Rosalind Abel has solidified a reputation as an outstanding romance writer who creates beautiful characters and endearing love stories.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life, but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.
Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then, he met his pregnant fiancée’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.
A decade later, after a divorce and crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years. The problem is, those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high.
Review: Once again we visit beautiful Lavender Shores, created by writer Rosalind Abel, where life seems rather idyllic but nothing could be farther from the truth. This time our story focuses on the town psychiatrist, Donovan Carlisle. Donovan is the son of a rather unlikable father, who has married into not one but two of the founding families in the town. Thus, Donovan has his brother, who is by his father’s first marriage, and another whole set of siblings by his father’s second marriage into the Epstein family. His half-sister, Erica, has recently divorced her husband, Spencer, after finally coming to terms with the fact that he is closeted and miserable. Before you waste too much time feeling sorry for Erica, you should know she had an affair which she continued on with after divorcing poor, confused Spencer, and can hold her own on the catty bitch scale.
Spencer has struggled all his life with his feelings for men. A product of reparative therapy at the hands of his minister father, Spencer is finally free to begin living his truth and knows exactly who he wants to live it with—his ex-brother-in-law, Donovan. After discovering each other at a sex party thrown by a friend, the two men grapple with their feelings for each other, feelings both have denied for ten long years. Spencer is in love with Donovan, but he has his two children (who mutually adore their uncle) to consider, as well as the fact that Lavender Shores is a very small town and not everyone will be happy to see him and Donovan together despite the LGBT friendly atmosphere the town fosters. Donovan, on the other hand, not only struggles with how he feels about Spencer, and how that will affect his standing in the eyes of the town, but also how it will hurt his sister. In the end, it really comes down to who both men want to live for—themselves or an image that is more palatable for the town and everyone concerned.
First, I have made no bones about how I feel that this series is more romance oriented and often feels a bit contrived story-wise, and this installment pushed that envelope even further. Having said that, I feel the author has nothing to apologize for because as a fluffy romance novel, these stories really are incredibly satisfying. I love these characters, and with each installment look forward to who will be the focus of the next book. Spencer and Donovan plain and simply deserved happiness, and it was wonderful how they found it in each other.
I loved how Donovan took such pains to go slowly during his sexual exploration with Spencer, who had done nothing more than experienced a few fumbling blowjobs with nondescript partners. There was such tender intimacy between these two men, and the way in which they took care of each other. I loved how they communicated, and practically cheered when I realized that Rosalind Abel was not going to fall back on that old cliché of using miscommunication as the vehicle to halt the progress of the story and give it the obligatory relationship issue to overcome. Instead, the focus was on trusting their instincts and their affections for each other, and that made the story so much richer and more interesting. These were two middle-aged men who were looking for stability and passion, and found both in each other. While that may sound as though it could be boring, it was far from it.
With the coming of The Veranda, the third story in the Lavender Shores series, Rosalind Abel has solidified a reputation as an outstanding romance writer who creates beautiful characters and endearing love stories.
You can buy The Veranda here: