Published September 27th 2018
Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.
Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.
Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.
Keira Andrews can always be counted on to give me an enjoyable read, and this right here is another great one. Ethan is so wonderful; he’s sweet and reserved and he’s had a lot to come to terms with, losing his hearing later in life. And then he has to deal with the most heart-breaking betrayal. My heart ached for him. But he’s braver and stronger than he gives himself credit for and heads to the other side of the world to make the most of his dream honeymoon without his would-be-husband.
This is definitely a slow burn romance. A large amount of this book is seeing things through Ethan’s eyes (and ears), experiencing all of these new things along with him and witnessing how his hearing loss affects them. It’s a perspective I’ve never read before, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot through reading this story. I have a lot of admiration for Ethan and the way he handles everything. He really deserves better than what he got in his last relationship. And that’s where Clay comes in.
Clay is so incredibly Australian. A proper old-school Aussie bloke. He was such a joy to read. He’s genuine, kind and patient. Charming and funny. He is a little older than Ethan, he’s been married and divorced and has a couple of grown up kids, so he’s settled and mostly content doing what he does. He and Ethan’s friendship, and it really is just a friendship for quite a while, is organic and so very heart-warming. Clay is exactly what Ethan needed on his trip. And Ethan’s not-so-little crush on Clay is truly adorable.
Clay’s self-discovery about his sexuality could so easily have felt forced, but it really was believable. The young kid from the Outback suppressing his feelings and desires, burying them so deep and not allowing himself to think of them, that he genuinely doesn’t realise what it is that he’s buried. But Ethan has landed in Clay’s little world at the right time, in the right place, and they’ve both found something that fits them both perfectly.
This is a light-hearted read, but the characters have a fabulous depth to them, and I loved going on their journeys with them. There was a few moments where the writing felt a little stiff, just not quite as fluent as I’m used to from Andrews, but it didn’t put me off at all. Plus there’s talk of cricket (my favourite sport in the world) and an excellent canine companion. It’s a winner for me!