This is a new to me author. I had no idea that there’s a plethora of books already written by Rie Warren. Not knowing the author’s repertoire, the only reason I read this was based on the blurb. The female lead was described as ‘shy, bashful’ while the male was ‘bad boy mechanic’. I can get behind those characteristics – I’m expecting LeeLee to have done the research for her books but without a lot of hands on experience, if you know what I mean. I’m expecting Josh to be a little rough behind the oil and grease, but still with an innate sense of right and wrong. But what I expect outside of all the sex scenes is a solid and good story.
Single dad and self-employed mechanic Josh Stone is doing his best friend Nick Loveland a solid. Nick Loveland aka Nicky Love is a romance writer and to get in good with his fellow writers and his audience, he’s pretending to be gay because that’s the only way he’ll be accepted as a male romance writer. So as his BFF, Josh agrees to go to the romance convention as Nick’s gay boyfriend. Unfortunately for Nick’s plans, Josh sees LeeLee that first day and is immediately attracted. LeeLee Songchild is the newest sensation at the convention but as Josh is new to the pomp and circumstance he’s clueless.
As I got to know Josh, I liked him, but I did have some trouble with him. I wish I could pinpoint what about him that I couldn’t get past, but it’s almost like he was trying too much to be cool and have the latest catch phrases as part of his vocabulary. His alpha male persona was a bit too much for me. Yeah, I get he’s a big guy who can CrossFit his way through any situation but when that’s all you’re bringing to the party I can’t get excited over that. Josh was all about getting into LeeLee’s pants which is fine but I would have liked to actually see their relationship, outside of their sexual relationship, grow. For the length of time this romance developed, I had a hard time when they started with ‘I love you’ after less than a week.
For being so alpha, Josh’s relationship with Nick while they were at the convention was – how do I say this – they played familiar very well. The relationship between these two guys was fun and some of the best parts. The verbal back and forth along with the physical expression (fighting, hitting, wrestling, etc) worked well. The ‘writers widows’ and the other groups were interesting, I’m guessing that these groups are most likely based on some real life experiences from the author. I did need some convincing with Nick and his reason for pretending and why he picked Josh who was the biggest horn dog. I say that because, every Friday while his son was kept by his mother, Josh used that time to take the woman of the week to his bed. If that was a woman, I know what I’d call her and I’m labeling Josh with the same.
The relationship that he had with his 4-year-old, Joshua James, was good and I got it. There was something about J.J that didn’t ring true with him being a young, precocious and inquisitive boy. In my experience with little boys, I don’t know a lot of boys that enjoy as many musicals as J.J. did – Legos and matchbox cars yes, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, not so much. Josh’s mother was my favorite actually. She was a no nonsense kind of mom who didn’t have a lot of time or sympathy when there was no need. Her get up and fight attitude was refreshingly simple.
Told entirely from Josh’s point of view, I got sucked in pretty quickly because that’s a rare thing in any romance story. We sometimes get both POV but this, this we almost never get. There were moments that I thought Josh’s voice sounded a bit feminine – just certain moments in his thoughts. In the end, getting only Josh’s POV is what didn’t work for me because I didn’t feel like I got to know LeeLee at all. And because the majority of LeeLee and Josh interaction was them not talking, having sex instead, there was a lot about LeeLee I didn’t get to know. For being so shy and bashful, she really wasn’t. Instead she was understandably nervous as she’s not had a lot of experience being the center of attention in a public setting, that’s all. Other than that, nothing shy there. I thought the whole thing with her ex-fiancé was washed over because I only got a slight glimpse of LeeLee history and personality in that – there was a reason she picked Patrick but I didn’t get to know what she saw in him in the first place.
Happy Reading folks!
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Stone, At Your Service
by Rie Warren
Release Date: September 25, 2014