“He’d never felt such a strong urge to touch somebody before, to want to be with somebody.” — Melanie Tushmore
Title: Love on the Rocks (Another Bar Tender Tale)
Author: Melanie Tushmore
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 167 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Twenty-six-year-old barman and cabaret entertainer Justin has recently moved to London for a fresh start. Charismatic and flirty, Justin is naturally the center of attention wherever he goes. There’s only one problem: the object of Justin’s affections, a handsome, enigmatic bartender named Yena, isn’t won over by Justin’s charm. In fact, he flat out turns Justin down.
Stripping off his showmanship frills and charms, Justin aims for a different approach: reveal himself for who he is. Underneath his public face Justin is an honest young man who wants someone special to share his time with… and laugh at his awful jokes.
Justin can only hope the real him is irresistible to the man he loves.
Review: Melanie Tushmore’s Love on the Rocks is the second of her sweet and utterly charming romances in the Bar Tender Tale series, and though the first book, A Bar Tender Tale, is well worth the reading, Justin and Yena’s story stands on its own just fine as an addition rather than a sequel to book one.
Love on the Rocks is a contemporary boy-meets-boy love story about a guy who falls for a man with some rather old fashioned ideas about love and relationships, namely that he doesn’t go for the one and done method of “dating”, something the more freespirited Justin is just fine with until Yena captures his fancy. Melanie Tushmore puts her characters and, by extension, her readers through their paces where Justin and Yena are concerned, as the typically confident and cheeky Justin becomes tongue tied and riddled with doubts by Yena’s shy and somewhat standoffish nature.
Just when the plot appears as if it might go the way of the boy-loses-boy/boy-gets-boy-back genre romance trope, Ms. Tushmore pulls back from going quite that far with Justin and Yena’s relationship, something for which I was exceedingly grateful, and though there is the oft used and familiar misunderstanding that serves to complicate what Justin hopes to build with Yena, it stops just short of becoming the BIG misunderstanding (thank you for that!) which is leaned on so often in romance novels to manufacture angst and stand in the stead of communication. The circumstances and the newness of Justin and Yena’s connection with each other fit the complications of their getting this romance on surer footing perfectly. Add to it a vindictive ex with the emotional maturity of a pre-pubescent tween, and I felt it rounded out the drama in this otherwise effervescent love story quite well.
Love on the Rocks is a lovely little book filled with a host of quirky and delightful characters–and one not so delightful asshat–who help Justin navigate his way along the bumpy road to love. Justin and his cabaret partner Tam had a great chemistry rooted in friendship, and I wouldn’t mind at all if Tam were to get his own book in the series.
There was just enough conflict in Love on the Rocks to keep it from being simple, just little enough angst to make it a pleasant way to spend a day cheering two lovers on to their happy ending, something I happily recommend.
You can buy Love on the Rocks (Another Bar Tender Tale) here: