Erryn & Bethany review ‘Private Charter’ by N.R. Walker. Self-published on July 9 2017, 244 pgs. Audio released on August 22, 2018. We received copies for honest reviews.
Why we read this book:
Erryn: I was looking for a light read...
Bethany: I love NR and couldn’t wait to read this one ever since I read the blurb and saw the cover.
Stuart Jenner’s job is high stress, high stakes, and everything he’s strived for. So why, when the apex of his career is within reach, does he stumble? At his doctor’s insistence, he books a privately chartered yacht to sail around the Whitsundays for two weeks of sun, surf, and sex. When his friend-with-benefits bails on him at the last minute, Stuart decides to go alone.
Foster Knight left the rat race behind six years ago, bought a yacht, and now calls the Great Barrier Reef his home. Sailing tourists around tropical waters is all in a day’s work, and he’s never been happier. When his next client arrives alone, the two-week charter will be the most private job he’s ever had.
Foster can see how stressed and exhausted Stuart is, and he promises him extensive rest and relaxation. Stuart slowly realises his original plan for two weeks of sun, surf, and sex might not be lost yet. Confined to a yacht, isolated by aqua-coloured oceans and the sweltering sun, Stuart and Foster are about to find out just how hot the tropics can get.
There really isn’t a book by N.R. I’ve read that I haven’t like, loved, or adored. This one was no different. Oh Stuart, I can see myself in him and how the stress of his job is eating away at him. Stress is a tricky thing, something that can cause health issues and panic attacks. Yep I can totally relate. But as much as I can identify with a pre-vacation Stuart, Foster is the person I wish I could be.
Giving up the rat race years ago was the best thing he ever did for himself. Working himself to an early death wasn’t how he wanted to go. So he gave it all up, bought a boat and started a charter business. Working for himself, picking when he works, how often, yep this is the life I would kill for.
Then Stuart steps on his boat and his world is turned upside down. He sees so much of his previous self in Stuart. And as attracted to Stuart as he is, he tells himself he will not act on it. He is there to help Stuart relax, not hit on the stressed out man. But we all know how those best laid plans turn out.
My goodness, when Foster finally gives in the sparks between them could start a fire. There were times I needed to put my kindle down to fan myself, holy hotness batman. But as much as Foster wants more with Stuart, Stuart just can’t leave the job. Wait, what? But don’t panic, it does all work out in the end, but that is all I can tell you cause I don’t want to give anything away.
I highly recommend this one if you want, tiny speedos, white sand, clear blue water and two very hot men falling for one another on a boat.
I adore N.R. Walker. I have gorged on almost all of her audiobooks and am now snapping up each new book as they come out. Her last book, ‘Galaxies and Oceans’ was one of my all-time favourite books. I loved it. I cannot emphasize that enough. I also loved ‘On Davis Row’ for many of the same reasons. I like angsty books with high stakes. Especially if there is some humour thrown in. Those two books fed that hunger.
A few months ago, I read ‘Finders Keepers’. Now, I LOVE dogs, so it was a must-read. It was cute and fun and very low-angst. I was glad I read it, but it didn’t move me or rip my guts out the way the other two books did. Honestly, when I read the synopsis for ‘Private Charter’, I wasn’t terribly moved. Intrigued? Yes. Seized by the need to be the first in line? Uh…no. When approached with the opportunity to review it, though, I jumped onboard. Or offboard, depending on your perspective.
The two men in this book intrigued me. The younger Stuart who is bordering on a full-blown physical breakdown, worn down by the continuous stress, and the older Foster who walked away from that life and has no regrets. I am on that hamster wheel. Not with the stress Stuart endures, but tethered to the knowledge I am going to be working in a cubicle for the next twenty years. I get a couple weeks of vacation every year, but it’s not quite the same as the freedom Foster lives. Soon after Stuart arrives – without his fuck buddy – he starts to relax.
I threw out my towel and laid down. The warmth of the boat felt good; the warmth of the sun felt great. I closed my eyes to the glare and lowered my swimmers over my arse, snorting with the realisation that the glare of my white arse cheeks could probably blind someone on a passing boat.
I could get used to this. I briefly wondered if it was called defecting to simply never go back to real life… I wondered who would actually miss me… I wondered who would actually miss me… I wondered how busy my office was at that very second and realised how much I didn’t care. How much I didn’t miss it, surprised me.
I snoozed with a smile.
I love the image of two white globes. Those of us who only see the sun a few months a year often appear pasty until the summer comes and then we overdo it in the sun. It’s super considerate that Foster is so concerned about Stuart’s skin health. I mean, applying sunscreen? That’s service.
So, yes, there is a push toward a relationship. As Stuart feels:
Now, I was a clear believer in no meaning no and yes meaning yes, and I knew that hesitance always landed squarely on the no side, but damn. That maybe, his maybe, with those smouldering eyes and the way his gaze raked over my body, the way he licked his lips and groaned real quiet, was almost a yes. But it was a hesitant yes, so I would wait for him to make his move.
And it had to come from him.
Stuart flirts and flaunts his body, but he is respectful that this is Foster’s livelihood and the man has a reputation to protect. But when the two men do finally breach the barrier, so to speak? Wow, uh, hot. Now, I’m not a drinker and don’t know the difference between tequila and brandy (I hear you gasping), but I do know that lemons and limes have creative uses, as Foster will attest.
As soon as we walked through the doors, there was a huge box of lemons and limes, and Stuart laughed as he bagged about twenty.
“I don’t think we’ll need that many,” I tried to reason.
“There will be lots of lick, sip, sucking.”
I cringed. “I have serious concerns for my liver.”
He laughed and leaned in close. “I have serious concerns for my arse because I know what you’re packing. So I’ll call us even.”
Let’s just say, there is a lot of licking and sucking and…well, you know. Make sure you have a fan handy. And this was what I had expected. But, as N.R. is wont to do, she caught me unaware. There is far more going on with Stuart than just being sent on a vacation. And there is an unexpected situation that jacked up the stakes for the men to a level I did not anticipate. I don’t want to spoil it, but this story is not just all sun, surf, sand, and shrimp on the barbie.
In fact, the men do develop feelings for each other and although they knew the charter was only two weeks, neither was prepared for the final parting. Most romances have a dark moment, but this one hit me in the gut.
The sunset didn’t look the same.
The sunrise didn’t have the same endless-possibility feel.
My yacht, my home wasn’t the same.
The sun, the wind, the ocean weren’t the same.
Then it struck me with the clarity of a squeeze of my heart, that it wasn’t true. Everything was exactly the same. Everything was as it should be. The thing that was different was me.
Foster’s self-knowledge has come at a steep price – his heart. I just wasn’t sure if Stuart would be able to make the same leap and even if he did, how would it work? One is an executive in the city and one runs charters in the Great Barrier Reef. So was I going to get my happy ending?
Well, this is a romance…
With a lot of humour, which I expected and happily received.
“I should swim naked more often,” [Stuart] said, grinning. The moonlight made his teeth gleam.
“Except that fish might mistake you for a tasty sea worm. Especially at night.”
His eyes went wide and he swam for the yacht, but my laughter must have given me away. He took hold of the ladder in one hand and splashed me with his other. “Not funny.”
Except it kind of was.
Yeah, it kind of was.
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
Get in touch with N.R.