Considering that Strawberries for Dessert put together two “leftovers” from previous novels in this series, it’s not a surprise that this is probably the best romance in the series: sometime from leftovers you could make a gourmet dish.
Cole is the buddy-friend of Jared, the one that, unwillingly, gave the definitive push to Jared toward Matt; Cole has a lover in every place he has also an home, and being him a multimillionaire, he has plenty of homes and lovers, he is not serious with any of them, but he is a good friend and able to step back graciously when his lovers find true love, he is well aware he can’t be the one to fit the bill.
Jonathan is the one that got away, even if he thinks the role is of Zach instead; 10 years ago he was tired to wait for Zach to realize that he was wasting his life for not being a career obsessed man, and he decided to leave: in his plan, Zach would realize the mistake in his way of life and plead him to come back. Only that Zach has never called and now Jonathan has found out that he found another lover and is happily living in Coda, Colorado.
Cole and Jonathan are not exactly a match made in heaven, but apparently they are right for the moment: Jonathan has no time for a serious relationship, he is most out of town than working in an office, and Cole has an unrequited core that pushes him to leave town without notice most often than not. An agreement between them to be occasional lovers when they are both in town seems perfect and they enter a routine of meeting and f**king almost out of boredom. If the reader is expecting to have a story filled with hot sex without feeling, don’t worry: sex can be the glue for Cole and Jonathan, but it’s not the main theme of the story, and the author happily skips it, letting the reader know it happened but not bothering to write about.
And this is probably the most interesting and original approach for the story: bring together two unlikely lovers and having them falling in love at first time? Too obvious. Making them discovering that, despite all their differences, sex is great and love can blossom? Too ordinary. Instead the author decides for an “ivy” approach: she puts together the men, cultivates their tiny connections and give time to the bond to strenghten until the moment when the two men will try to break apart and it will be impossible. At that point the real love story will start, and at that point the author will also start to describe the sex, that with the presenc of love will be more interesting and arousing than a simple sex scene between almost strangers.
Cole and Jonathan are both complex characters, more complex than what they appear at first; Jonathan has a deux ex machina complex, he would like to be able to “manage” other people life with at the same time fill the role of indispensable; all the travels, all the overtime, all the calls are not bothering him since they make him feel necessary and important; and ab absurbo he is more homophobic than he accuses other people to be, since in his mind he sees being gay as not being at the top of the world, in a way being gay equals to being weak. Cole instead has all the reasons or money to fill that role Jonathan covets, but he is a very lonely man: despite all his lovers/friends all over the world, he has really no one; his flamboyant attitude is only a shell against the world, letting people know that he doesn’t care is only a way to hide that he cares even too much. I think the author played in a wonderful way with both of them and this is a novel that I highly recommend, it also made me shed a tear or two; and by the way, the connection with the previous novel is not so strong that you cannot read this as a standalone story.
Amazon: Strawberries for Dessert (Coda Books, #4)
Amazon Kindle: Strawberries for Dessert (Coda Books, #4)
1) Promises: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/93713
2) A to Z: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/10057
3) The Letter Z: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1095554.html
4) Strawberries for Dessert
Cover Art by Anne Cain