Title: This Is Love
Author: Remmy Duchene & Allison Cassatta
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: September 4, 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Anderson “Andy” Hartley Jr. lives the life of a playboy with Daddy’s money, but without love. If his father finds out Andy’s gay, the game’s over. So he restricts his sex life to the pool house and seems content until he meets the gorgeous new groundskeeper, who just might turn his life upside-down. Merrick “Maverick” Washington is African-American, an ex-SEAL, and recently released from prison after his false conviction was overturned. Working for a rich white dude who looks down his nose at him is one more blow to his spirit. But any job is a step toward self-sufficiency, and Maverick’s not willing to risk that for a spoiled brat. Then Andy tugs at more than Maverick’s body, and he’s starting to wonder how things would shake out if they both overcame their fears and let their worlds collide.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: I enjoyed this straightforward erotic romance of two men finding their life partner and making a life together.
The Set Up: Andy is a spoiled rich man with a father who hates him and a heart that won’t let anyone in, including his plethora of one-night stands. This changes when he meets Merrick, the new groundskeeper. Merrick is an ex-SEAL who spent a year in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s bitter at life and doesn’t want Andy to slum with him.
Why I Read this Book: I’m a sucker for interracial romance and the synopsis for This Is Love fit that.
What I Liked: I was surprised at how this relationship unfolded. I thought I knew going in how Andy and Merrick would become a couple but it wasn’t as two dimensional as I expected. Andy is a sexy playboy that I didn’t like at novel’s beginning and thought he chose Merrick as one does shopping at the grocery store. Soon though, Andy opens himself emotionally to Merrick and shares his grief with his mother’s death, his emotional isolation and lack of self-worth. I love that Andy is the one who reaches out to Merrick on an emotional and sexual level. Merrick’s bitterness was palpable at novel’s beginning and rightly so as he was railroaded into the prison system before being exonerated. Merrick is suspicious about Andy’s attraction but not so much that it was irritating. Merrick and Andy’s relationship was a great balance of erotic and emotional that I enjoyed.
What I Also Liked: Lots of romance novels focus on the big emotional reveal of the I-love-yous and the book ends shortly thereafter; that isn’t the case here. About 40% of the book happens after the emotional denouement and I loved this. Andy has closure with his mom’s death and his relationship with his father. Merrick deals with his wrongful imprisonment and his lovely sister. But the men do all this as a committed couple and this was charming in a romance novel. The cherry on top for me was the epilogue which was sweet in its perfection.
What I Didn’t Like: One of my book pet peeves is when the couple are in the middle of dealing with an issue in their relationship and something big happens plot-wise and makes a conversation about the issue impossible. This happened here BIG TIME! I don’t want to spoil the book but Andy does something when he and Merrick aren’t together and Merrick sees evidence and says they’re done and walks away. Then before Merrick gets to his car, something happens with Andy’s dad and suddenly Merrick soothingly says, “let’s just forget about that and move on.” Nope, I call foul big time.
IMO: Even though This Is Love had one of my book pet peeves, it’s still an above average MM romance that I recommend for its strong romance and storytelling after the I-love-yous.