Melissa reviews Between the Lines (New Milton #2) by Sally Malcolm Published December 10th 2018 by Carina Press, 73k words
Luca Moretti doesn’t want to find it.
A handful of summer days may change their lives forever—if they’re brave enough to look between the lines.
Eyes might be windows to the soul, but for Theo Wishart they’re all shuttered. His dyspraxia makes it hard to read people. He doesn’t do relationships and he certainly doesn’t do the great outdoors. Two weeks spent “embracing beach life” while he tries to close the deal on a once great, now fading seaside hotel is a special kind of hell.
Until Luca. Gorgeous, unreachable Luca.
Luca Moretti travels light, avoiding all romantic entanglements. Estranged from his parents, he vows this will be his last trip home to New Milton. His family’s hotel is on the verge of ruin and there’s nothing Luca can do to save it. He’s given up on the Majestic, he’s given up on his family and he’s given up on his future.
Until Theo. Prickly, captivating Theo.
No mushy feelings, no expectations, and no drama—that’s the deal. A simple summer fling. And it suits them both just fine. But as the summer wanes and their feelings deepen, it’s clear to everyone around them that Theo and Luca are falling in love. What will it take for them to admit it to themselves—and to each other?
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: I read Perfect Day (New Milton #1) and really enjoyed Sally Malcolm’s writing style and decided to read book 2.
LOVED THIS! Such a well written story with real characters and genuine feelings and situations. Sally Malcolm wrote a five star romance (see what I did there? This is about a hotel, which are given star ratings, and so are books. 😉 ).
I felt very connected to Theo because of his dyspraxia. I’ve never heard of dyspraxia, and before Theo explained to Luca what life was like for him as a result, I thought Theo might have a form of autism. He doesn’t make eye contact, can’t read sarcasm or understand if someone is being serious or telling a joke. If it’s not spelled out in words and logic, Theo often doesn’t understand. Eye contact is hard for me so that really struck me first with Theo, and in social situations I don’t always know what to do, say or how to act and I know I miss things others don’t. So for these reasons Theo had my heart right away. Being an adult is hard, but add on “not normal” things, and it’s brutal.
Luca at first doesn’t like Theo – thinks he is British snob. But after getting to know Theo, Luca can’t help but be drawn to him and I loved Luca for not treating Theo as a child (which was always Theo’s complaint) because he has coordination issues. These two fit well together, and yes they had their ups and downs, and those were hard to read because each felt pain because of it. And then add in Luca’s feelings of betrayal by his mother (because she chose to marry Don, who didn’t start off well with Luca being gay), and the selling of the hotel – Luca was a volcano just waiting to erupt. And whew, when he spewed all his hot ash all over Theo over a misunderstanding, that was hard.
I enjoyed this story from start to finish. There wasn’t a stinker word in the bunch and I found myself reading every word, not skipping a single part because I was so absorbed in every minutiae that these characters did, and the complete story of the town and hotel, even Theo’s dad was great (even if he is a money man). I would love to have been able to experience the ending in more detail but it was so yummy as it was. Sigh. Such a great romance. 5 stars/10 pots and I highly recommend.
Sally Malcolm was bitten by the m/m romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. It’s fair to say she’s obsessed with the genre. Her first m/m romance, “Perfect Day,” will be published in 2018 by Carina Press with a follow-up out later in the year.
She’s also the author of eight Stargate novels and novellas, including the hit “Apocalypse” trilogy. She has penned four Stargate audio dramas for Big Finish Productions, including Stargate SG-1: “An Eye for an Eye” starring Michael Shanks, Claudia Black, and Cliff Simon.
When she’s not reading, Sally hangs out on Twitter @Sally_Malcolm and reviews her favorite books at http://www.sallymalcolm.blogspot.co.uk. She lives in South West London.