Wendy reviews ‘If Only for Today’ (Deerbourne Inn) by Gabbi Grey. Published by Wild Rose Press, April 14,2021,141 pages.
Jared Langford is a happy man. The desk clerk at the Deerbourne Inn knows everyone in his cozy town in Vermont. He is accepted and loved by the community, but he’s missing someone special in his life.
Devastating news has brought journalist Xander Fortier to Willow Springs for some much-needed rest. He’s photographed every major conflict in the world for the last ten years, but being stateside has forced him to reassess the solitary life he’s been living.
Something in Xander’s gruff demeanor calls to Jared’s caring nature. Soon the men are spending time together, but Jared’s kisses might not be enough to keep Xander from leaving. Can the men find a happily ever after if they only have today?
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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Jared let him, still holding him close. Their gazes met. Like a punch to the gut, he saw the naked desire. And the distress still lining the other man’s face. “I want to kiss you.” Maybe there was a time he might’ve just done it, but consent was vital. He wanted the sexy man to want to be kissed.
Xander tugged him to straddle his lap—a more intimate position than anything Jared had ever been in. The other man grasped his hair to bring him down for a kiss. The first press of lips was gentle, but mere moments later, he opened his mouth and Jared mirrored his actions. He grasped that lusciously soft hair and pulled Xander in close. Tongues parried and his arousal kicked into high gear. How often had he dreamed of this? With some faceless stranger? And then, in the past couple of days, that stranger’s face had been replaced with Xander’s beautiful one.
Rubbing his hands up Jared’s back, Xander yanked him closer. As with the previous night, barely a whisper of breath could pass between the two of them. The intimacy filled Jared’s head with what ifs, but it was too soon. They hardly knew each other. The world traveler wasn’t sticking around, and Jared wasn’t built for one-night stands. Or one-week affairs. He longed for permanency and forever. Even for Xander, he wasn’t willing to give up those dreams.
As Xander ended the kiss, Jared pressed their sweat-slicked foreheads together. Seemed they were both hot and bothered.
“That was…” Xander’s words trailed off.
“Yeah, I would say it was.” Jared didn’t need to finish the sentence because they were both clearly on the same page. With regret he pulled back. “Do you want ice cream?”
Xander’s smile was both rueful and radiant. “I would love ice cream. Something to cool me down.”
“Cool us down.” Jared risked one more press of his body against Xander’s before extricating himself. “I’m sorry, but I only have Marionberry ice cream.”
“Really?” Xander’s confusion was clear, his hazel eyes wide.
“It’s a great flavor.”
“They named an ice cream after the disgraced mayor of DC? Whose dumb idea was that?”
“What?” Jared scrunched his nose. “Oh, I remember someone saying something about that, but I wasn’t paying attention. Marionberry is hybrid blackberry.”
Why I read this book: I was lucky enough to be one of the Beta readers for this book. Gabbi is an upcoming author with tons of talent and I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity to read another book in the Deerbourne series ( I loved her first one from the series, ‘My Past, Your Future’. Read my review of that HERE).
I am loving Deerbourne Inn. After reading My Past, Your Future, I was hopeful that some of the secondary characters would get to have their stories heard. Jared didn’t make a huge appearance in that book but he definitely stuck with me enough that I connected with him. He seemed sweet and a little lonely and like he was just missing the something that would make him shine.
Xander could be that something. He’s also lonely and in the beginning of the story he feels very distracted and gruff or sharp but he’s hiding something and is at the Deerbourne Inn to lick his wounds so to speak. He is trying to get his bearings after receiving some news that has a serious impact on his life. He doesn’t want friends or fans (he’s a fairly famous photographer and Jared is def in the “fan” category being an amature photographer himself).
Jared doesn’t let Xander push him away though and they do become friends, then they become more. This is a slow burn but it has great flow and I really fell into their friendship. It progressed so naturally into a relationship and there’s something about watching two men feel but not act on an attraction that kinda ramps up the feels! These guys have some great moments together and it all just strengthens their bond. Speaking of bonds, there’s an especially cute scene in an animal shelter that really made me melt.
So, it’s not all sunshine and roses and there’s a couple of worrisome moments where I wondered if there was going to be a HEA happening at all but I loved following Jared and Xander on their journey. This turned out to be a very good read and the perfect book to grab with a cup of tea while enjoying the day.
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Gabbi lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Gabbi-Grey/e/B07SJVFX1M
Facebook (page): https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGabbiGrey