Erryn reviews Bright Horizon (Pine Cove Book 4) by H.J. Welch (Published by the author on December 6, 2019, 368 pages). The audiobook was released on April 21, 2020, was narrated by Nick J. Russo and is 11hr and 6mins.
Ben Turner is besotted with the handsome older man who’s always in his bakery. They have nothing in common…until one day Ben discovers he’s an overnight millionaire, and his customer could become his protector. But they hardly know each other. He’d be crazy to accept his help, right?
Lawyer Elias Solomon knows his crush on the beautiful young baker is ridiculous, but when he suspects Ben is being taken advantage of, he can’t help but step in. Elias’ upcoming 40th birthday has made him adventurous, but he never imagined he’d accompany Ben all the way to England.
Ben has never even heard of his great-grandmother Nancy, his corrupt and bitter English family, their enormous home and orchard grounds, or the business they run from it. All of which he now apparently owns. It’s up to Ben to save the estate with Elias’ help, but does he want the responsibility? All he really wants is to fall into Elias’ bed and never leave, and soon the chemistry is too much to ignore. Elias can’t see how they’ll make it work when they’re from different generations. But when old rivalries take a dangerous turn, he soon realizes he’ll do anything to keep Ben safe from harm…and in his arms.
Book Four of Pine Cove. Bright Horizon is a steamy, standalone MM romance novel with a guaranteed HEA and absolutely no cliffhanger.
“It was a Tuesday morning when Ben Turner burned his favorite spiced apple muffins. It was also the day he’d become a millionaire, but the muffin thing annoyed him first.”
For the record, HJ Welch has the best opening lines.
Okay, on to the review.
I’ve enjoyed all my visits to Pine Cove and this one was no exception. Except pretty soon the baker and his lawyer were leaving the small town in the Pacific Northwest and heading to a great estate in England. And a pile of unknown distant relatives.
But before that happens, there’s the meet-cute. Or the slow meet-cute. Ben works at a bakery and every morning this gorgeous older man comes to purchase a coffee and a treat. The men exchange few words, but Ben knows he really likes the man. With the age gap and Ben’s lack of perceived standing, what chance does he have? Unbeknownst to him, Elias has noted him. And although he’s physically attracted, he’s way too old for Ben. Plus he has a secret that keeps him away from temptation. He just can’t take the risk.
When he sees Ben about to be taken advantage of, he can’t help but step in. And if that means accompanying Ben to England to figure out the inheritance, then so be it. But they’re just going as lawyer and client. Or perhaps as friends. Or whatever this relationship means. But they’re not going to end up in bed together.
I enjoy age-gap romances. Both men have baggage of different kinds and when their values collide, it’s hard to see how things work out. Plus Elias has scruples – necessary for someone in his position. This is an enjoyable book, especially the furry characters who added to the enjoyment. And I liked that Elias let Ben come into his own by being supportive and not overbearing.
There were some secondary characters I liked and some I disliked – as intended. The villain felt a little over the top at times, but a good foil to the earnest and honest Ben and his protector Elias.
As with all the books in the series, Nick J. Russo narrated the story and I felt he did well with the plethora of accents. It’ll be interesting to see if there are any more visits to the sleepy little town of Pine Cove. There’s at least one character I would like to see get a happy ending of his own.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
HJ Welch is a contemporary MM romance author living in London with her husband and two balls of fluff that occasionally pretend to be cats. She began writing at an early age, later honing her craft online in the world of fanfiction on sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she sought out original MM novels to read. She never thought she would be any good at romance, but once she turned her hand to it she discovered she in fact adored it. By the end of 2016 she had written her first book of her own, and in 2017 she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a fulltime author.
She also writes contemporary British MM romance as Helen Juliet.