After working nonstop for two years, actor Eric Pawlowski desperately needs a respite from his grueling schedule and the crippling migraines that come with it. Thinking that a few weeks in a secluded cottage is just the thing, his vacation gets off to a rough start when he almost mows down the only other guy who lives on the remote road. Fortunately Thomas is quick to forgive, and soon he, Eric, and Eric's two dogs are palling around like they've known each other for years.
But when Eric witnesses Thomas coldly order a lost stranger off his property, he starts to question how well he knows him. Despite a mutual attraction that has Eric cursing every time a well-meaning member of the nearby small town interrupts their attempts to get intimate, Eric wonders if acting on his desire for Thomas will get him involved in a situation he shouldn't be in. When his rented cabin catches fire in the middle of the night and the firemen call it arson, it confirms Eric’s suspicions.
To keep Eric with him, it's up to Thomas to come clean about who he is... and his involvement in a decade-old web of tragedy and revenge into which Eric has unwittingly walked.
First Edition published by Silver Publishing, 2010.
MOCKING, ERIC thought as he approached the roadside bar. That damn arm of the neon red cowboy is definitely mocking me.
Eric cursed loudly, breaking the silence in the truck as he realized that, according to the directions, he’d not only missed the track to the cottage but now had to turn the vehicle around to find a small, almost nonexistent road in total darkness.
Toby whined hopefully in Eric’s ear as the truck slowed down to pull in to the parking lot. Eric sighed. He was as anxious to get out of the truck and stretch his legs as his dogs were.
“Not long now, boy, I promise.” At least I hope not.
He reached back to scratch Toby behind the ears, feeling the dog lean forward to try to lick his face.
Eric pushed him away as he flicked the indicators and pulled in to the parking lot. He should have been doing this journey in the daylight, but filming had overrun the previous day, and he’d been too tired to get moving as early as planned.
In his haste and fatigue, Eric swung the truck’s wheel too sharply and almost ran over a man standing by a dark-colored SUV. The man only saved himself by leaping to the side. He slammed into the vehicle hard enough to make it shudder before sliding into an ungainly heap on the ground.
“Fuck!” Eric jumped out of his truck to see if the guy was hurt. “You okay, dude? I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you standing there.” Eric leaned over to offer him a hand.
The man scowled as Eric pulled him to his feet. “You make a habit of trying to kill total strangers?”
Eric ran a hand through his hair in frustration. Biting back the urge to make a snappy response, he said, “Only when I’m exhausted, lost, and shoulda stopped driving two hours ago.”
“Lost, huh?” The man was brushing off his ass. “Where are you supposed to be going?”
Now that he wasn’t so angry, the stranger’s voice was a smooth, quiet drawl, and although he was a few inches shorter than Eric, he still had to be just over six foot. Nice.
“Silver Lake. I missed the turn in the dark.”
“Why do you want the lake?”
The man’s guarded reply set Eric back a bit. Not sure of the reason for the sudden tension, Eric looked away. “I’m renting a cottage there. Small place: one bedroom and a fireplace, according to the description. I meant to get here in the light, but I was late leaving LA, and then the dogs needed a run….” Eric trailed off, aware he was rambling.
“I know the place,” the man admitted.
“My name’s Eric. Eric Pawlowski.” Eric stuck out his hand again, and they shook hands, the other man wincing as Eric pressed against the scraped skin on his palm. “Sorry. Is your hand all right?”
“It’s fine, just a little graze. My name’s Thomas, Thomas Clay. If you want, I can direct you back to the cottage.”
“That would be great. I’m beat.” On cue, Eric yawned. In the dim light, he could see Thomas frowning.
“Sure you’re awake enough to drive?”
Trying to suppress another yawn, Eric said, “Not really, but me and the dogs have had a long day, and we just want some food and a bed for the night.”
Thomas looked into Eric’s truck where Millie and Toby, his chocolate Labradors, were slumped over the back seat, looking disgruntled and bored. “Nice dogs,” he said admiringly. “Follow me. I’ll show you where it is.”
Eric started to ask, “Are you sure?” but it came out as a loud yawn instead.
Thomas laughed. It was a nice laugh, deep and throaty, and would’ve provoked an answering response in Eric if only he could have stopped the damn yawning.
“Yeah, I’m sure. You’ll be asleep standing up if we hang around any longer. Just give me a minute to say good-bye to my friends.”
Eric nodded his agreement and slid into the driver’s seat of his car, murmuring, “Not long now, kids.”
Toby gave a derisive snort, and even Millie put her head down and refused to acknowledge Eric. He scratched behind their ears by way of an apology and then leaned back, closing his eyes as he fought a losing battle with sleep. He jumped at a rap at the window, and he opened his eyes to see Thomas, holding a box.
“Sure you’re okay to drive?” Thomas asked.
Eric nodded wearily and started the engine. The SUV’s hazard lights flashed, and Thomas got in. Within a couple of minutes, Eric was following the vehicle down the road, cranking the window wide to let the cool evening breeze blow across his face—anything to stay awake long enough to get to his destination.
After a couple of miles, the vehicle in front slowed down. Eric followed as his guide turned left onto what, in the dark, appeared to be little more than a dirt road. He was grateful for Thomas’s assistance because he knew he’d have had little chance of finding the track himself.
They stopped outside a building, and Eric looked eagerly at his new home, but the lack of light made it impossible to see much in the dark, despite the lights from the two vehicles. Thomas got out of his SUV and walked toward Eric. Eric switched off the engine and got out of the truck, trying and failing to suppress yet another yawn.
“We’re here,” Thomas said in his deep drawl. Any other time Eric might have found it sexy; now he just wanted to hit the hay. First, though, the dogs needed to stretch their legs, and they all needed some food.
Eric opened the door to let the dogs have their freedom. Toby was out in a flash, Millie following at a more sedate pace. After a few minutes of chasing each other in relief at being out of the truck, they sniffed at their rescuer and then lost interest, far more excited by the sharp night scents along the track.
After watching them briefly, Thomas said, “They’ll be fine for a few minutes. No one comes along here much except the odd fisherman, and that’s only by permission of the landowner. Have you got the key?”
Eric nodded. “Uh-huh.” He ducked into the car and felt around in the glove compartment until he found the envelope containing the key. “Here it is.”
Thomas held out his hand for it. At Eric’s hesitation—Thomas was a complete stranger, after all—he said, “I know the cottage. Let me get you in and the lights on, and then I’ll leave you in peace.”
Too tired to argue, Eric handed over the key and watched as Thomas opened the cottage door, unerringly finding the light switch in the total blackness. Eric dug out a duffel bag containing some overnight gear and a small amount of food for the hounds, wishing he’d thought to pick up some premade food for himself en route; he felt way too tired to cook. He let the dogs explore, getting rid of their pent-up energy, while Thomas prepared the cottage.
The cottage blazed with light by the time Eric and the dogs stumbled into the kitchen. Thomas emerged from what Eric assumed was the basement, his hands grubby.
“There’ll be some hot water for you to wash up, but you’ll have to give it a while. You’re a bit low on oil, though.”
“Thanks. I can deal with the oil tomorrow.” Eric yawned again.
Thomas smiled. Eric was able to see it properly now they were in the light. Even though his eyes were half-closed, Eric realized Thomas was a good-looking man. Hell, he was more than good-looking—he was stunning. Damn, wasn’t it just typical, Eric felt too tired to ask him to stay for a coffee?
“I brought you stew.” Thomas pointed to the box on the kitchen table. “And the coffee pot is on.”
Eric moaned slightly in appreciation. “You’re an angel, that’s what you are. A beautiful angel.” Tiredness had obviously got the better of his tongue. “Let me find the money.” He dug in his pocket for loose change.
Thomas’s smile slipped a little, but all he said was “Buy me a beer another time. I’ll swing by in the morning to check you’re okay. Night, Eric.”
Eric bade Thomas good night and poured the dogs’ kibble into bowls. Fifteen minutes later the three of them had sacked out on the large bed, their stomachs full, wrapped in blankets against the chill and oblivious to their new surroundings.
THE NOISE was what initially penetrated his sleep. Or rather, the lack of familiar noise. There was no quiet thrum of the air conditioning or the sounds of his maid, Maria, as she swore at the vacuum cleaner. Instead he heard birdsong and Millie, yipping and twitching in her dreams.
Eric hauled himself out of bed, wincing a little as he felt the twinges in his lower back. Thank goodness he wasn’t going to sleep on this bed for any length of time, or he might have to buy a new mattress. This one was fine for most people, he guessed, but Eric’s work had wrecked his back, and he usually slept on an orthopedic mattress.
Toby sat up expectantly as Eric got dressed. He grinned and snapped his fingers. The dogs leaped off the bed and barked hopefully around his feet.
“Yeah, come on, let’s explore.”
They left the cottage and followed what Eric hoped was the path to the lake. When he’d looked for somewhere to take a vacation, it had been essential to find a place with plenty of land so that he could walk his dogs. This place, with the whole of the area around the lake accessible, had seemed ideal, and more to the point, it was private land, so Eric didn’t have to worry about unwanted attention.
It was a beautiful morning, before the heat of the day really got a chance to set in. The air was still slightly crisp, and Eric shivered a little in his thin T-shirt, wishing he’d brought his hoodie. Deciding against going back for it, he walked a bit quicker. He would probably go for a run most mornings if the paths were safe enough. They reached the lake within five minutes, Toby barking joyfully as he scattered some of the birds feeding at the lakeside.
“You’re supposed to make nice with the locals, not frighten them to death,” Eric scolded him.
The dog gave Eric a sloppy grin, his large tongue hanging out the side of his mouth, and ran around in circles. Millie ignored them as she raced ahead.
Eric paused for a minute to take in his surroundings. The lake was huge, surrounded by reeds and banked in places by sandy beaches. A short note in the paperwork said it was suitable to swim in, and Eric had brought his trunks hopefully. There seemed to be a narrow path following the shoreline. Eric called to the dogs and set off to follow it. He didn’t necessarily want to explore all of it today, but he did think the dogs would benefit from a long walk after being cooped up in the truck for most of the previous day.
In places the overhanging branches meant Eric needed to duck, one of the disadvantages of being well over six feet tall. The dogs, however, had no such issues, and they plowed ahead eagerly. Their enthusiasm meant he lost sight of them until he reached a clearer spot in the trees. Eric could hear them splashing up ahead and smiled to himself. Millie was a terror for getting in the water, be it puddle or pond. Toby was more of a wimp and would dance around the edges before finally getting up the courage to venture in.
Eric finally reached the shoreline, to see Millie in the water as he expected. However, the man playing with her as she swam around was a surprise. He’d obviously been swimming, because he was bare from the waist up and—oh fuck—he was a vision: lean muscles, firm abs, and dark nipples against tanned skin. Yummy. Not that Eric was looking closely. At all. Okay, maybe it didn’t take much for Eric to react to a gorgeous man dancing half-naked in cold water.
Eric squinted as he looked a bit closer. Wasn’t this his rescuer from last night? Tim… Tony… Thomas… that was it, Thomas.
“Morning,” Eric drawled as he watched them play. “Hope she’s not bothering you too much.”
As Eric spoke, Thomas looked up and stopped horsing around. Millie gave a disappointed bark as she paddled and nudged Thomas’s hand hopefully. Thomas ran his hands through his hair to get the drips out of his face, his muscles rippling in a most distracting way. Eric’s cock was quite appreciative and twitched in his sweats.
“I don’t get too many dogs rushing to join me in my morning swim.”
“Sorry, she never can resist getting in the water.”
Eric was trying hard to concentrate on the conversation, but really, most of his attention was taken by the view in front of him. He spent his days surrounded by handsome men and beautiful women, but this man took his breath away. His dark blond hair curled damply around his ears, and his bright blue eyes sparkled in amusement.
Damn, could I get more girly?
Eric blinked. “Uh… yes?” He’d been so busy staring at the water droplets running down Thomas’s chest… and—oh, are they freckles? Eric couldn’t tell from this distance.
“Earth to Eric?”
He dragged his gaze away reluctantly from Thomas’s body to his face. Not that it was any less distracting with those eyes…. Fuck, those eyes.
Thomas was smirking at him unashamedly. “Would you mind calling your dog back? I’m getting cold now, and I’d like to get out.”
Eric stared at him stupidly for a minute, and then his brain finally got on board with the conversation. “Yes… I mean, sorry. Millie, come here girl.”
Fortunately Millie seemed to be more intelligent than her owner and obediently swam toward the sandy beach. She got out and shook herself—all over Thomas’s towel, which lay folded neatly on the sand.
“Millie! Away! I’m so sorry, Thomas!” Eric tried to lead his soaking-wet dog away from the towel, but Millie thought it was a game and jumped around, soaking the towel even more as the water flew from her fur.
Rolling his eyes, Thomas waded out of the water and picked up his soggy towel. Toby growled and latched onto the end of it, obviously wanting to get into the game too. The harder Thomas tugged, the firmer Toby held on to it.
“Toby, let go!” Eric said firmly.
Toby just held on tighter, growling and shaking his head, a huge doggy smile on his face.
“Jesus Christ! If I’d known I was gonna end up this sweaty, I’d have done this first and then gone for a swim,” Thomas panted as he slowly lost ground on the amount of towel in his hands.
Eric told himself he was not thinking about the mental image of Thomas, sweat droplets trickling down his chest that Eric was reaching forward to lick slowly…. No, he wasn’t.
Eric was hanging on to Thomas’s end of the towel, and the two men pulled together. Millie was wagging her tail furiously on the sidelines, thinking it was a great game. “I’ve given up apologizing for my dogs. We normally run away before anyone can identify us.”
“Good idea. Toby, drop!”
Thomas stopped tugging. Eric’s jaw dropped as Toby let go of the towel at Thomas’s sharp order. The dog sat back on his haunches, looking downcast.
“How did you get him to do that?”
Thomas grinned at him. “Mind-ray telepathy, dude. I told him I’d chop his balls off if he didn’t let go.”
Startled, and more than a little concerned for the well-being of his dog, Eric edged a little closer to his pets.
Chuckling outright at Eric’s protective expression, Thomas tried to dry himself with the only section of the towel not mangled by Toby’s teeth.
“Please tell me you were joking. Anyway, he’s already been done.”
Thomas looked confused. “Been done?”
“Had his balls chopped,” Eric whispered with his hands over his dog’s ears.
“Ah.” Thomas nodded sagely. “I’ll have to think of a new threat.” He shivered in the early-morning air, rubbing at his arms as goose bumps dappled his skin in a most distracting way. “I think I’d better get back to my house before I freeze to death.”
Telling himself he wasn’t disappointed, Eric asked, “Where do you live?” He couldn’t see any buildings in the immediate vicinity of the lake apart from his cottage.
“Over that way a little.”
Thomas waved a vague hand in the direction of some trees. Wherever it was, it must have been well set back, because Eric couldn’t see a thing. His stomach suddenly growled loudly, breaking the silence.
Thomas chuckled. “Better go feed the beast before it breaks out.”
“Fuck you,” Eric said easily.
Thomas shook his head as he laughed. “Not this time, cowboy. I never put out on a first date.”
Did this mean he’d been considering putting out? Eric really hoped so. He’d not expected a holiday hookup, but he wouldn’t be averse to the idea. Deciding not to push it this time, he whistled for the dogs, who were sniffing at something farther down the beach.
“See you later?” he asked.
Thomas nodded, but he didn’t make any promises.
After saying good-bye, Eric moved off toward the cottage. He definitely needed breakfast.
Thomas didn’t seem in any rush to move, though, despite his previous statement, because Eric could feel his gaze on his back for quite a while. He chanced a look back. Thomas stared, watching Eric leave.
ERIC WAS exhausted. By the time he unpacked his gear, all he wanted to do was lie on the sofa and doze. After not having a vacation longer than four consecutive days in the past two years, the strain was showing. He could feel the first hints of another migraine coming on, even though the last one occurred less than a month ago.
Eric needed to find a store somewhere to pick up food for himself and the dogs, plus some oil for the heater. He sat down for five minutes, only to wake up in almost pitch black. For a moment he was completely disoriented, not sure where he was. Then he remembered: vacation, remote cottage, hot neighbor!
A banging on the door set the dogs barking. Eric reluctantly heaved himself off the sofa and then stumbled around to find the kitchen door in the darkness. On the other side of the door was the neighbor, holding a pot that smelled heavenly. He had his free hand raised as if he were about to knock again.
Eric blinked sleepily and yawned again. “Evening, Thomas. It is evening, isn’t it?”
Thomas smiled at him as he held out the pot. “I thought you might not have had a chance to get to the local store, so I brought you some dinner. Beef pot roast.”
Still sleep-fuddled, Eric made no move to take it, and Thomas’s smile slipped a little. “Uh, well, maybe I should have asked first.”
He stepped back as if to leave, but fortunately Eric’s brain caught up, and he leaped forward to stop his dinner—and hot neighbor, but the priority was on Eric’s stomach—leaving.
“Don’t go. I was sleeping,” Eric babbled. “It smells wonderful. I just woke up. Would you like to join me?”
Thomas’s expression moved past bewildered straight on to one usually reserved for small children. “Shall we go inside? We could eat it here, but it might be messy without plates and forks.”
“I… uh, yeah, whatever. Plates… yeah.”
“Babbling again,” Thomas said gently as he moved past Eric into the kitchen.
Eric groaned inwardly. He was a grown man behaving like a thirteen-year-old on a first date. He fumbled clumsily for the light switch, still not totally familiar with the layout of the room, nor awake. Thomas saw what he was doing and leaned forward, illuminating the room with one flick of a switch.
“Sit down before you fall, Ric.” Thomas said, pushing him into the nearest chair.
Eric shook his head to clear the fuzziness. “I’m not normally quite so….”
Eric glared at him. “I was gonna say tired.”
“That’ll work too,” agreed Thomas as he loaded Eric’s plate with enough meat and vegetables to feed a family of four for a week… or an Eric Pawlowski.
Eric managed to wait until Thomas served himself; his momma had taught him some manners. “This is really kind of you,” he tried to say around a melting mouthful of slow-cooked beef.
Thomas shook his head, seemingly amused. “Eat. Then talk.”
Eric nodded, scooping more food into his mouth than was polite. Thomas watched the demolition of his cooking with increasing amazement. “I was going to suggest the dogs have the rest.” He grinned as Eric whimpered in protest. “But they can have some of the gravy on their kibble.”
Thomas loaded Eric’s plate up again and sat back down to his own dinner, the dogs milling around their feet in hopeful anticipation of scraps. Eric pretended not to notice Thomas passing them some pieces of beef.
The pot was totally empty, and he’d scraped around the inside with some homemade bread, thoughtfully provided by Thomas, before Eric sat back, replete. He tried to hide a satisfied belch, but by the twitch of Thomas’s lips, his attempt failed.
“You do realize I brought enough for three days, don’t you?”
“I thought I’d save time and eat it before it had a chance to go bad. ’Sides, tomorrow night I’m gonna take you out to dinner to say thanks,” Eric informed him, then promptly blushed as he realized how presumptuous he sounded.
“Done,” Thomas agreed. “If you like we can go to Bob’s.”
“The local bar. Slightly shabby, but great food. You tried to run me down in the parking lot last night.” Thomas gave him a smirk.
Eric sighed theatrically. “You’re not gonna let me forget that, are you?”
“Nope.” Thomas pushed back his chair and started collecting the plates.
“You don’t have to do that. Here, let me help.” Eric pushed back his chair and took the pot and their glasses over to the sink. The room wasn’t very big, and the two men ended up tripping over each other. Thomas shoved a dish towel in Eric’s hand.
“I’ll wash; you dry. Stay!” he ordered.
“Woof!” Eric stuck his tongue out the side of his mouth like Millie and Toby.
“Hah! Suppose you think that’s funny?”
“We thought so, didn’t we, girl?” Eric scratched Millie gently behind the ears; she leaned happily into his touch, obviously enjoying the affection. He looked up to catch Thomas smiling fondly at them. Thomas looked away, flushing as he realized he’d been caught staring.
They finished the dishes to the accompaniment of Eric’s yawning.
Thomas stowed the last of the plates away and picked up his Crock-Pot. “You really need this vacation, don’t you?” he commented, looking at Eric, who currently leaned against the table, unsuccessfully trying to conceal another yawn.
“Hell, yes. It’s been too long coming, and I had to fight to get this one.”
Thomas stared at him curiously. “What do you do, Ric?”
“I work in Hollywood.” It was a bland answer, covering a multitude of sins and giving away nothing.
Thomas obviously thought so too, because he frowned. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow, ’bout eight.” At Eric’s look of incomprehension, he said, “Bob’s? Or don’t you want to take me out anymore?”
“Course I do, idiot,” Eric said, smacking Thomas on the arm.
“Ow! Jesus!” Thomas clutched his arm. “What do you do in Hollywood? Beat people up for a living?”
“Something like that.”
Thomas rubbed at the sore spot. “Remind me not to get on your bad side, dude,” he grumbled.
“If you keep feeding me like tonight, I don’t think there’ll be any problem there,” Eric assured him.
“You only want me for my cooking skills,” Thomas mourned.
Eric leaned forward into Thomas’s space. Thomas had to tilt his head back to look up at him, and didn’t that give Eric a little thrill? “You haven’t actually offered me anything else… yet.”
They were so close, almost close enough for Eric to lean forward and kiss Thomas. He was just deciding whether Thomas would allow him to take that step when another yawn caught him by surprise. There was nothing like a huge gaping mouth to put someone off kissing. The moment was definitely lost, but the look in Thomas’s eyes gave Eric the feeling that it was only postponed, not mislaid forever.
Thomas turned to leave. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Ric.”
“I like you doing that.”
Thomas looked confused. “What?”
“Calling me Ric. It’s been a long time since anyone has.” Why did I just admit that? Eric felt off-balance.
“Didn’t even notice I was doing it. Well, night… Ric.”
“Call me Tommy and your balls are mine.”
“Promises, promises.” Eric grinned cockily at Thomas as he walked out the door.
Ms. Brown has once again written a wonderful story with some completely loveable characters that are slightly flawed but definitely not irredeemable.
Read the full review at
I couldn’t put it down once a started reading it and I’m betting it will be the same for you.
Chance to be King is a contemporary romance featuring two men in the entertainment industry--though neither of them know who or what the other does for a living. They meet on a dark night when Eric nearly runs Thomas over. Eric's exhausted and in need of a break from his stressful life, and he misses the turn off to the small cottage he's rented--a cozy little place for him and his two dogs to enjoy some peace and quiet in the country.
But peace and quiet is far from what Eric finds as he gets to know Thomas. They have pretty instant chemistry, though there are a few hiccups, to say the least. Someone's causing trouble--and Eric nearly dies. Thomas takes him in because, surprise! he's the owner of the cottage Eric was renting before it was burned down.
The police become involved, quickly zeroing in on a suspicious stranger Thomas ran off his property. But who's his target? Eric or Thomas? Why would anyone want to hurt either of them? Can they be truthful with each other and move beyond their secrets?
I really liked Eric's character. His bond with his dogs was adorable. I could relate to his migraine issues, unfortunately, but that helped make his character very real to me. I had a harder time with Thomas' character. He ran hot and cold, which wasn't explained for quite some time even as they professed their love to each other after just a few days. That type of insta-love in a contemporary story is hard for me to see as believable, but the dramatic events and the way Thomas and Eric have to rely and depend on each other helps explain some of the connection.
Beyond the insta-love element, I found the story to be smoothly written and easy to read. It keep me reading until late in the night, from start to end without stopping. I like that the romance is a major factor in the story, yet there are other elements woven in the plot to ensure the reader doesn't get bored along the way--because face it, we all know we're going to find a happy ending. And I think readers will really like this one!
Oh Sue Brown you do not disappoint! Every book I read I am rapt with attention with the way all the characters relate to each other, fall in like and then love....sometimes very quickly.
I'm not going to give a "blurb" because the description of the book is right here on Goodreads. Let me just say I found Eric and Thomas totally engaging as well as the small group of people in good ole Grafton.
Give Sue a try if you have not. Her Island of Where? series is another stand out for me.
Faithful follower here
Have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was decent length, and not full of fluff. It was funny and overall the romance in the story was great! I have been reading a lot of paranormal, sci-fi type romances myself lately, and admittedly, when I got this book to read and review, I hadn't done much looking into it. I hadn't read the blurb, and just jumped right in. So of course I had no idea what it was gonna be about. I kept waiting for the one of the main characters to turn wolf, or confess to being part elf. HAHA. That's why I was pleasantly surprised that this down to earth book was the perfect read.
Eric, one of our main characters, is going on vacay to decompress. But what should have been a relaxing weekend, turns into quite a lot of stress. A connection is made where one wasn't expected, and something unexpected becomes something terrific! They really must have felt something pretty strong, because they get to see one another at some pretty low moments, and still don't run.
I won't give any spoilers away, but I will say that the love scenes aren't over done. They fit just right into the story, and weren't rushed into the first part of the book. So it made slightly more sense. Great job Sue Brown! Can't wait to read more from ya.
One of the things that made me love this story was the romance that developed so effortlessly between Eric and Tom. I guess we can call this an insta-love type of story but it became more than that once the plot segued to the story behind Tom's fear of socializing outside of his comfort zone: his home county.
We have Eric Pawlowski, a.k.a. Sky Davies, an action star whose movies were blockbusters but never A listed. He is an entertainment kind of actor and he banked on his popularity to get to his goals. Unfortunately, his acting schedules merged one right after the other and he was reaching the point of burning out, both literally and figuratively. His first vacation in two or more years brings him to an isolated cottage in the middle of nowhere where the only entertainment served are beer and karaoke nights in the one bar somewhere in town. It is a very small town and people knew each others' secrets. He brings his dogs and... gets lost.
Thomas (or Tom) was nearly run over by a rented SUV driven by some over-tired and sleepy driver looking for a cottage he knew not where the address was. Thankfully, Tom knew the way and takes it upon himself to play host. Well, he really was in fact the host as he owned the out of the way cottage.
The two men hit it off almost instantly, after Eric apologizes for nearly killing his host that is. The dogs Millie and Toby were a great help too for they made sure to get the two men together by making them fell over one or the other so each could rescue the other man. Yeah, the way those dogs think, they are great match makers. Anyways, it worked and the men slowly fall for each other. Complications come in the form of arson where Eric nearly gets killed. The mystery is set and the search for the arsonist leads to Tom revealing his past and why he needed to make sure he is never in the public eye. As for Eric, well, he knows where Tom is coming from, being subjected to constant stalking himself.
The first time I read Chance to be King was way back in 2010. I had actually read the first edition like, three times (?) before this 2nd edition came out. What attracted me then was the title and it still makes me smile when I see it. Just like Shakespeare meant, both Tom and Eric had fears they were running away from but because they now each had the other, they took a chance and let their fates merge and bring them over to the path of, hopefully, a happy life together. The title really is meant for the last part, when all mysteries are revealed and the end result was Tom and Eric's HEA. They had nothing to loose so they went for it.
This is a light hearted and romantic story that made me smile first time I read it, and it still does. Yes, obviously because of the dogs' antics and also because the men were just so normal. They had a good thing going and they took it without question. Still on my favorites list, 1st edition then, and now for the 2nd edition.
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