The Shore Thing by A.R. Barley


The Shore Thing by A.R. Barley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (104 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.

Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.

Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.

But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.

In the middle of a heat wave, lifeguard Dale is incredibly busy – and feeling incredibly old as the new recruits appear younger and younger to him. Nico feels as though his comfortable, stable, utterly fake life is over after a spur-of-the-moment decision to up stakes and leave his native Chicago. When he decides to paddle in the Delaware ocean and is caught unawares by a rip, Dale rescues him and life as each man knows it changes irrevocably. Dale usually doesn’t connect more than a one night stand with the tourists, but there’s something different about Nico.

I enjoyed this light and summery romance. While Nico and Dale come from vastly different worlds, each of them are hiding and trying to cope with their own problems as best they can. They both also realize that they’re merely treading water – not actually moving on with their lives. Watching them come together in a slow, sweet romance was really enjoyable.

I was a little disappointed that the conflict was both predictable and only a very minor part of the storyline. Readers looking for a deep or complicated plot mightn’t find this aspect of the story very satisfying. I also felt like the ending wrapped up just a little too quickly. Considering how lovely and slow-paced the entire rest of the story came across, the fact everything wrapped up in a matter of pages, it felt jarring and sudden to me. I’d have loved if just a little more time and space had been dedicated to really round out the story and feel it would have given the entirety of the story a bit of better balance. I did, however, really love how much time was spent getting to know both Dale and Nico. I found the pacing of learning about them – and watching as they came to know each other – was deliciously slow and dealt with really well to my mind.

I was also pleased that the romance itself wasn’t rushed. I enjoyed how both Dale and Nico took their time and neither were in a hurry either to jump into a deep relationship or become intimate. While I can believe some readers might feel this progress is a little too slow for an erotic romance, I felt the story and timing was all the more believable for having it wait as long as they did.

This story really felt like a happy, light, summer romance read – something that would be perfect with a cool drink and could be a great way to enjoy a hot and lazy afternoon. With interesting and enjoyable characters and a lovely slow romance this story was a delight to read.

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