Title: Shelton in Love
Author: Dianne Hartsock
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Shelton has found the man of his dreams, but keeping him is an entirely different matter.
Shelton’s falling hard for his attractive roommate, a man who would happily sleep with him, adding him to the list of men in his life. But Shelton wants more than just a fling with Nevil. How can he convince the elusive man there could be something lasting between them?
Shelton in Love is told in five stories spanning two and a half years of Shelton and Nevil’s relationship, the ups and downs, trials and celebrations, with a promise, a separation, a frantic return, temptation and a final triumph. Sometimes Shelton finds it difficult to love a beautiful man, but Nevil is worth the effort. Shelton’s eager to move their relationship to the next level, marriage, but will Nevil ever be ready to take this step with him?
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Shelton ignored the flutter in his stomach that he always experienced when invited into Nevil's room and settled back into the cushions of the chair. "Who's the lucky color?" he asked, trying to feign indifference.
Nevil drew a pair of socks from the top drawer of the bureau at random. "Ah, the gray ones."
"What? Percy again? Didn't you have him earlier in the week?"
"So what? These socks have never let me down," Nevil countered and rubbed the soft wool against his cheek, purring like a happy kitten.
Shelton's stomach knotted at the decadent smile on Nevil's face. Nevil had made it clear when they had first met he'd enjoy sleeping with him. The jealousy eating Shelton now was his own fault, but was it wrong of him to want more from Nevil than a passing fling?
He shoved away the thought of sharing something meaningful with Nevil knowing it could never happen. However, the desire made Nevil’s flirtation all the more hurtful. "Fine, but if you make the man fall in love with you, you can buy us an answering machine and listen to his calls when I’m not home. I don’t want to hear him whine when you break it off."
Nevil looked at him, raising a finely arched brow. "Who says I'll break it off?"
"Get real. You'll be bored in less than a week. Remember Daniel Pratte? You scarcely managed six days with him after swearing to all who’d listen you'd love him forever. He called for weeks after you told him it was over, hoping you'd be the one to pick up the phone. Admittedly, he was a bit of a prig, but I'm the one who had to listen to him sobbing his heart out. I refuse to do that with Percy."
"Danny wasn't the right man for me. I haven't made up my mind about Percy." Nevil unknowingly twisted the knife deeper into Shelton's heart. Shelton unconsciously held his breath when Nevil sat back against the headboard and lifted his foot onto the bed, pushing up the cuff of his tan Dockers. Moistening his lips, Shelton fought his attraction as he watched Nevil pull the sock over his foot and up a muscular calf. He was a faithful jogger and in May already had the beginnings of a fabulous tan.
Shelton's treacherous gaze followed the fine dark hair up Nevil's leg until it disappeared under the cuff of his pants. Captivated, his gaze continued upward to where the fabric tented nicely at the juncture of his thighs. His heart skipped a beat when Nevil shifted on the bed and the material pressed against a definite bulge.Panicked, he raised his head, hoping Nevil hadn't observed his interest. Nevil's beautiful blue-green eyes watched him; then Nevil cocked an eyebrow. Shelton pushed to his feet from the chair, his face burning at Nevil’s slightly mocking smile. "I'm going to make a sandwich. Do you want one?"
Shelton in Love is a collection of 5 short stories and an Epilogue, through which we follow Shelton and his roommate, Nevil, in this friends-to-lovers story.
In Shelton in Love, we meet Shelton, who has been pining for his best friend for a long time and Nevil, who is a flirt and goes through men like water. They are both attracted to each other, but Shelton has a secret that has played a big part in all his attempts at having a relationship in the past, which has only exacerbated his insecurities, so he is unsure of wanting to take the plunge and risk losing his friend. When Nevil takes the first step into turning their friendship into more, Shelton is ecstatic, but is Nevil ready to give up on all the other men and commit to his best friend and does he have what it takes to put Shelton's doubts to rest or is this just the beginning of the end?
From this point onward, we have Shelton's Promise, Shelton's Choice, Shelton's Homecoming, Merry Christmas, Shelton and a lovely Epilogue and we get to see how Shelton and Nevil grow as a couple and learn to work through their issues and the curve balls life throws at them, including a separation, jealousy, evil co-workers and flirty ex-boyfriends, giving us a fairly realistic account of their relationship.
Both Shelton and Nevil were very likable, although I have to admit that my favorite of the two was Shelton, perhaps because most of the stories are told from his point of view. It was a nice touch that we also got Nevil's POV on the last two stories, which only made it clearer that these men belonged together. I loved that Nevil was so sweet to Shelton, especially once he knew what Shelton's secret was and how he worked to help him through it all. Their relationship wasn't perfect, they both had to adjust to things, but it was lovely to see that they were both willing to compromise and work for their HEA. They had great chemistry and were both sweet and hot together.
There were a couple of things that I felt were a bit out there, like what happened with Andrew, Shelton's co-worker and then later with Tommy, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story.
All in all, this was a great collection of short stories, fast-paced and enthralling, with the elegant prose that characterizes Dianne Hartsock's writing. It was a romantic, sweet, hot and very light in the angst read that I thoroughly recommend!
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.***
Prize: $15 Amazon Gift Carda Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author
DIANNE HARTSOCK is the author of m/m erotic romance, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer. If she can’t be writing, at least she has the chance to create through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage to bring a smile to someone’s face.
Currently, Dianne lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.