Place Setting by Claudia Mayrant

Place Setting by Claudia Mayrant
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Cameron Dunlop has lived in the Lowcountry town of Summer Corners, South Carolina, his whole life. He loves his home, but his little town in the Deep South doesn’t offer much in the way of dating options.

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Gray’s path crosses Cameron’s, and he realizes together they might have all the ingredients to save the day—with maybe enough left over for something sweet just for the two of them.

After breaking up badly with his boyfriend and business partner Gray had tried hard to remain cool and keep their joint restaurant going. But it had proved impossible and despite the fact Gray was an excellent chef and loved the business, he couldn’t make it work. So he grabbed the opportunity to go home for his sister’s wedding with both hands and was determined to have a plan for what his next move would be before he had to leave again. Cameron loved living in his small town, but there was virtually no chance of him finding a boyfriend anywhere nearby. Despite his lack of love-life, Cameron loved his work and home and had finally decided he’d rather stay in his small home town than try to find romance elsewhere. But then Gray comes back home and both their plans are thrown to the wind.

I really enjoyed the slower pace of this story. Rather like the relaxed, slow pace of the small town, this romance took it’s time and let the reader come along on the journey with Cameron and Gray. I loved how there was definitely sizzle between the two men when they first met, but neither was willing to flirt too hard or step too far over the friendly “nice to meet you” line as they each had a lot going on in their lives right there and then. Yet in such a small town they each needed the other’s help for various things and so after a few more meetings the chemistry between them couldn’t be ignored and a lovely relationship started to bloom.

Readers looking for an intensely hot or prolifically erotic story might not find that here. While I adored the slow pace of the romance and loved how completely believable it made the whole story for me, there wasn’t much heavy action or physical intimacy between Cameron and Gray. This wasn’t a problem for me, personally, I still really enjoyed the story, but I could understand if readers looking for a hot, steamy M/M might find the spice lacking somewhat in this tale. I really liked how there were a number of interesting secondary characters – family of both Gray and Cam for the most part – and felt this really helped make the small-town feel of the story that much more vibrant. I also really enjoyed how the wedding of Gray’s sister was such a central part of the plot but didn’t over-take either the romance blossoming between Gray and Cam nor did it take over the story and leave everything else as a back-drop. I felt the author did a really good job of balancing everything out nicely in this story and I really enjoyed it.

With interesting characters, a lovely slow pace and a heart-warming, slow-town feel this story was great on a number of fronts for me. I really enjoyed it and will happily try this author again.

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