This is book four in the Spires series but they are only very loosely connected and can be read in any order. This is my favorite of the series and actually one of my favorite romances ever, I’m not even sure why, but it connects with me on every level and it is just so stinking charming.
From the Amazon description:
Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.
It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn’t met anyone like Fen before.
Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.
Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.
My favorite scene in this book comes in the beginning when Alfie decides to take a chance and hit on the cute guy at the bar and is very confused by the enraged response he gets. The back and forth and then Fen’s response when Alfie touches him—I don’t want to spoil too much but it had me laughing out loud.
This book explores how our childhoods form our lives, even if we reject everything we were ever taught. It does a wonderful job of showing grief that is not fresh but is not gone, and the guilt that comes with letting go and feeling good again, and what it means to love someone even after they’re gone.
As with all of Alexis Hall’s contemporary romances, this book is funny and heartfelt and hot. I have absolutely no complaints or nitpicks except I felt that the epilogue didn’t really add any insights, and I would have liked to see a bit more from Alfie’s family, because that subplot really broke my heart.