Must Loathe Norcross by Summer Devon

Must Loathe Norcross by Summer Devon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (151 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as traveling light.

Born wealthy and ambitious, Grady once worked hard and played hard—so hard, it brought him to the brink of ruin. Now, after a five-year retreat into the contemplative life, he’s dipping a toe back into the real world.

Assigned to write a series of articles about a Connecticut valley’s small towns, Grady checks into a local hotel. And meets a bellhop who seems determined to show him around…and maybe indulge in a more intimate tour later on.

When Josh’s boss half-jokingly suggests he get on a first-name basis with the writer who could make or break their town’s reputation, Josh jumps at the chance. He dreams of seeing the world, but the man he thought might be his ticket out turns out to be less influential—and more attractive—than he expected.

Together they uncover a strange plot to detour Norcross’s tourist dollars, a plot that leaves Grady bruised and angry. Now they’ll have to decide how far they’ll go to save the town…and how far they’ll fall for each other.

A man on the road to recovery is mistaken for a famous travel journalist and ends up being seduced by a bellhop. But dangers lurk in the shadows of their quaint small town.

Grady and Josh have wonderfully differing personalities. Where Grady is reserved, quiet and trying to remain clean in all aspects of his life, Josh is open, wild, and a bit reckless with everything, even his heart. Grady starts out as a passive character but Josh’s active qualities bring that quality out in Grady as well. I liked seeing the two men grow into their full potential. Grady’s change is to be expected, since he can’t be a monk forever, but Josh’s transformation is more full-blown. Josh has many jobs in their small town, and while he’s spent his life wishing he were somewhere else, he learns to value what he has and what he’s got to lose.

I also appreciated the sex scenes that felt realistic. The flaming attraction between them is not quite instant but when it blazes, it’s hot. The realism comes in several stages, such as asking what the other desires and both men being versatile in their sexual roles. The constant need that happens at the start of any relationship was depicted well.

The plot revolves around two centers. In the first part of the book Grady is being mistaken for his cousin Geoffrey, the luxury-loving travel journalist whose opinion makes or breaks small towns that rely on tourism. There are some confusing and funny moments because of that. The second part of the plot is about an apparent conspiracy against Norcross by a rival town that seeks the same special project grants and community prizes as Norcross, as they fight for the same tourist dollars. Grady and Josh find themselves in a key position to solve the problem. Whether this reads as realistic or not is anybody’s guess. I don’t doubt that corruption happens, but if this fits the story… well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

About Norcross and its citizens. Well, this is one those small towns you either love or you hate. In the beginning, I was firmly in the hate department. None of the side characters were amiable or sympathetic, and their views awfully insular. Then I began to see the light shining on the dung heap, as it were. There were some positive aspects to the town and its people. But, all in all, I didn’t warm up to the town much. I didn’t like any of the side characters, who were nosy, prejudiced, scheming, outright evil, or simply rude for no reason. Others of you may like the town with its so-called eccentric folks and quaint ambiance. Personally, I didn’t see it.

Nonetheless, I liked the main couple, so the problems this book had were overlooked. Grady’s life lessons were intriguing to follow, and Josh was just a lovable man, practically in every sense. Their scenes, whether talking or making out, were a pleasant read. Because of the sweet romance, I recommend this to all folks who don’t mind a couple of aggravations along the way to perfect happiness.

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