Erryn reviews ‘Abandoning Ship (Valentine’s Cruises, Book 7)’ by Susan Hawke. The ebook was published September 2, 2019 and 198 pages. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Michael Pauley, released on September 10, 2019, and is 5 hrs and 42 mins long. A copy was provided for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I’m a huge Susan Hawke fan.
When the seas of love grow choppy, sometimes, the best course is to abandon ship!
Two years ago, Ryan Abernathy was too tongue-tied, too introverted, and entirely too nervous to flirt with his hot but presumably straight new roommate. So, when Ryan’s sister swooped in and scooped the hottie up for herself, he accepted his fate and kept his crush a secret.
Sawyer Muller never meant to find himself in a fake relationship with his sexy roommate’s sister. And how was he supposed to know that Ryan would become his bestie and star in way too many of his dreams?
Things get complicated when Julia Abernathy strikes a deal with Sawyer to upgrade from fake boyfriend to groom, though they only need to stay married long enough for her to get her trust fund. They plan a fun cruise ship wedding with her entire family in tow. Sawyer figures it sounds like an adventure, and when they quietly divorce later, he’ll finally be free of all the fakery.
With Julia and Ryan’s homophobic, snooty family present, the pressure is turned up…especially when Sawyer finds himself jilted at the altar and drowning in a sea of blame. His only life preserver is the Abernathy sibling he can’t admit to wanting…Ryan.
Please note: This is a male-male romantic comedy set in the Valentines Inc. world. Watch out for an awkward first kiss, a record-making group wedding, and sexy, competitive shuffleboard. Before you board this ship, make sure you pack a fan because things are about to heat up on board this vessel!
I have enjoyed Susan Hawke’s Lovestrong series and so was keen to try out another book by her. Boy was I glad I did. This book is a true rom com and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I don’t listen to many true comedic books and this book will have me reconsidering that. I laughed out loud. Well, laughed, giggle-snorted and maybe even hooted. But I was alone in my car so I own up to none of those things. Considering I usually listen while on mass transit, I consider myself lucky. Sometimes it’s hard to convey physical comedy on the page, but Ms. Hawke does a great job. That blue hand is an image I won’t soon forget.
This book covers several of my favorite tropes – fake boyfriend, friends to lovers, and best friend’s sibling. Sawyer Muller is in a pickle. Two years ago he agreed to be a fake boyfriend to his new roommate’s sister Julia. A way for her to get her parents off her back and a way for him to…? Yeah, I was never really clear on why he agreed to a relationship with her. He figured her brother Ryan wasn’t interested and decided, ‘hey why not?’ For two years they appear at a myriad of family events pretending to be the perfect couple. Now they are facing graduation and Julia has a dilemma – marry or wait until she’s twenty-five to get her inheritance. Not known for patience or prudence, Julia proposes a fake marriage to Sawyer. She makes him a good offer and he again goes with the flow.
Breaking Ryan’s heart in the process. He’s crushed on his roommate for two years, watching him with Julia. Ryan’s always assumed Sawyer is straight, but you know what they say about assumptions… They wind up as roommates on the wedding cruise and that’s when things get really interesting. Sawyer has always been Julia’s safety position, but when her past comes calling, she abandons Sawyer at the altar.
Enter Ryan. At first he believes he’s just trying to cheer up his bestie but it quickly becomes apparent there’s far more going on than Sawyer just being left literally at the altar.
I have to say that until that moment, I felt like Sawyer was lacking some, well, balls. When things go sideways, however, he really steps up to the plate, taking on Julia and Ryan’s homophobic family and their father in particular. Once freed from his fake relationship and engagement, he’s free to explore a new relationship with Ryan – friends to lovers, as it were. There are plenty of shenanigans including a very memorable game of shuffleboard. And some sexual shenanigans as well. No more whiskey dick, that’s for sure. Although Sawyer will always maintain, “whiskey dick IS a thing!”
I found it interesting that although, as Ryan says, “my family puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional”, he and Julia manage to find happy endings. This is, after all, a wedding cruise.
Michael Pauley narrated this book and I’m so glad. He always delivers a strong performance and this one was no exception. Somehow he made coitus-almost-interruptus hilarious. I’m so glad I picked up this audio and I suspect everyone who listens to it will enjoy it.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Susan Hawke is more widely known for her mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy.