I gobble up everything by Skye Kilaen, so when I saw she was writing the first book in a multi-author series set in a queer small town? Oh heck yes. And it’s exactly what I wanted – an adorably geeky and queer small town romance.
Gina has a comfortable life in Clover Hill. She splits her time between working at the front desks of the vet clinic and her uncle’s garage, she plays board games at the local library, and she visits her Great Aunt Ophelia at her retirement home. Her life is full and the last thing she wants is to introduce all the stress of dating into her life. But when Ophelia makes her promise to ask out the next likely candidate, she can’t refuse her. When Gina runs into a stranded motorist a few days later, and he’s both hot and adorable (he waves at a dog!), she decides he’s perfect. After all, he’ll be gone as soon as his car’s fixed. But after their hot night together, it turns out Marek’s stuck in town for longer than expected. It’s obvious Marek is falling for Clover Hill (and maybe even Gina) but will Gina’s fears around dating ruin their chances before they even start?
“She should have been able to run an errand on Wednesday without Monday night getting all up in her actual life again looking all adorable in a red Atari logo t-shirt with his sunglasses pushed up into his hair.”
Gina comes off as a bit abrasive. She has a lot of baggage from her divorce and she truly believes that, while she spends a lot of time alone, she’s not lonely, no matter what Great Aunt Ophelia thinks. After their one night stand, Marek is stuck waiting for the parts needed to fix his car. To her frustration, Gina keeps running into him – and he looks just as adorable and sexy, especially when he removes his shirt while helping out around town. She’s initially surprised every time she sees him and then hit over the head with her attraction to him. And it’s not like he’s doing anything wrong by going to the coffee shop or grocery store or board game night – in fact, he asks her if she wants him to leave – but it’s still…. unsettling in a way that Gina doesn’t want to contemplate.
“This man was impossible. Dating, even before you got to the relationship part, was at least forty-five percent misunderstandings, uncomfortable crossed signals, and feeling ground shift under your feet. Especially after you’d turned somebody down. Marek wasn’t doing this right.”
After recently coming out of a relationship that ended disastrously, he was already planning on moving somewhere new, and Clover Hill, with all its small town queer-friendly charm, might just be the place Marek is looking for. That Gina lives there? Just a bonus. Marek knows he wants to explore this thing between himself and Gina but he’s willing to go at her speed. And that’s the lovely thing about this book. They’re both bisexual adults in their late 30s and they know how to clearly state what they want. All the relationship drama comes not from a lack of communication but instead from their life experiences, and it’s honestly relatively angst-free. There was some extra drama dealing with Gina’s niece and while there’s a resolution to that plot line, I would’ve liked a little more time with her and Gina.
Overall, it’s cute, queer and geeky, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in this series!
I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.