Erryn reviews ‘Joshua’s Rainbow’ (Rainbow Key Book One) by Victoria Sue. The ebook was self-published February 20, 2018, 232 pages. The audiobook was released August 27, 2018. It is narrated by Darcy Stark and is 6h and 38min. A copy was provided for an honest review.
Why I chose this book – I love a sweet romance on occasion.
Rainbow Key – an idyllic island retreat off the west coast of Florida. Think wedding destination, white sandy beaches, lurve… except at the moment Joshua is struggling to pay the electricity bill, they’ve no paying customers, and even if they did they can’t afford the repairs from the devastating hurricane that struck three years ago – and to top it off they have to take in Daniel, a grumpy businessman who has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off before he has a heart attack from too much stress.
Funnily enough, Daniel owns a very expensive hotel chain that has been trying to buy the island for the past two years. Not that Joshua knows that yet, and boy are sparks gonna fly when he thinks he’s been set up.
Of course, sparks of a different kind are also soon flying between them.
Then there’s Matt who just got let out of prison, Charlie who ran away from home, and Ben, a famous model until a devastating house fire destroyed his face.
Welcome to Rainbow Key – held together by love, family, and sticky tape.
***Check out the giveaway at the bottom of this review for a chance to win one of several prizes***
Gay is just another word for love.
Daniel’s grandmother said those words to him when he was just a boy, trying to understand a concept of why hate exists in the world. His Gran had wise words, even perceiving back when he was a small boy that he was most likely gay. He’d known nothing but unconditional love from her, his parents, and his older sister Callie. When his parents were killed by a drunk driver when he was only seventeen, Callie completely reorganized her life to care for him, ensuring they would stay together. His devotion to his sister, his niece, and her husband is total and really sweet.
He has a good life. He’s a successful property developer and owns a chain of resorts. Despite the success, he has what he thinks is a heart attack in front of a roomful of people and when it’s discovered it is only a panic attack, his doctor orders him to take a month’s rest. Daniel is a driven man, though, and the thought of a month off work makes him squirrely. He figures a week will do and then he’ll resume his hectic schedule.
All those plans are shot out of the water when he arrives at Rainbow Key. On an island, the resort is gay-friendly, encouraging families to come and not worry about being treated derisively just because they don’t look like what society believes is a ‘normal’ family. The idea is wonderful but the execution is a little off. The resort is in a state of disrepair and Daniel sees a business opportunity. He’s attempted to buy the island before, planning to turn it into another in his chain of resorts, but he’s never been successful. Now that he’s here and is able to discover the circumstances of the place, he can put in place a plan to acquire the island.
Those plans are also blown out of the water when he meets Joshua. The young man is responsible for the running of the resort and although he’s doing the best he can, he’s clearly out of his depth. The former owner, Clive, has died and Joshua has taken over but without proper funds to fix all that’s broken, he’s not in a position to take on too many guests. Unless he begins to make a profit, he’s going to lose the place. He might be able to cope on his own on the mainland, but he’s made himself responsible for a group of misfits who call the island home and he has no idea how they’ll cope without him.
Clive was a good man with the best of intentions. As Charlies tells Daniel, “Clive brought broken things home and tried to fix them. Joshua carried on with that.” Joshua’s backstory broke my heart and I loved Clive for trying to help the young man get back on his feet. While Daniel’s family had loved him unconditionally, Joshua’s family had rejected him and left him to fend for himself. To say his time on the street and afterward was rough is an understatement. So many young men and women are tossed out by their families because they’re gay that it’s not even a new story but it’s heartbreaking every time. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact there are parents out there who don’t love their children unconditionally.
Joshua isn’t the only ‘broken’ person on the island and each story pulled at my heartstrings. I think, though, it was Charlie who I felt the most kinship toward. He has ‘tactile sensitivity’ and it has made life intolerable for him. He can’t accept touch from people he doesn’t know without it causing physical pain. I can’t fathom not being able to receive or offer a hug. Joshua found him quite by accident but has provided a home for him and although he hasn’t flourished, he has settled into a routine that works for him.
All the other misfits have their own stories and all want to stay on the island.
With everything Joshua endured as child and teenage, it’s not surprising he doesn’t have any self-esteem and believes himself unlovable. He can’t conceive of why a man as successful and intelligent would be interested in a loser like himself while Daniel’s can’t conceive of why a young and attractive young man like Joshua would be interested in an older man like himself. Both men have been hurt by careless people in the past and it makes it hard for each of them to trust both themselves and the other man. If any two men were more suited, it’s these two.
An opportunity for the resort to drum up some business lands on Joshua’s lap and although it could make it difficult for Daniel to eventually acquire the island, he digs in and helps Joshua make the event work. When a tragedy happens in his personal life, he’s forced to leave and his departure leaves Joshua devastated. I felt his pain as acutely as if it were my own, probably because I understand what it’s like to lose someone I trusted and who I had thought might become someone special.
This is a romance, though, so there’s a happy ending and a little something extra that warmed my heart. Oh, and the cuddling. *sigh* The cuddling…
I loved Darcy Stark as narrator. He handles all the varied voices really well including Mabel, Clive’s elderly sister. This is the first book I’ve listened to narrated by him and I thought he did a great job. He also has narrated books 2 and 3 – Charlie and Ben’s stories. I have them cued up and can’t wait to listen to them. I enjoyed this book so much, I have high hopes for the next two.
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This giveaway ends on March 8, 2019 at 11:59 PM CST. GOOD LUCK!
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but when she ran out of library books she decided to write her own. Loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—especially with a paranormal twist—but always with a happy ending. Is an English northern lass currently serving twenty to life in Florida—unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.