David’s boyfriend of 12 years has recently died and he’s still struggling with the loss. David isn’t used to being in a public relationship; his previous one was kept secret in their conservative town. He wants to be with Robby but he doesn’t know how to really date a guy and he’s still conflicted over his ex. Robby has been the secret boyfriend and he doesn’t ever want to repeat it. But David seems worth it, no matter how slow they have to take things.
I took a chance and though not my favorite of Annabeth Albert’s, this was still an enjoyable read. I really liked the slow burn of Robby and David’s relationship because it felt more real considering David’s history. David was reserved and shy but he was also really sweet. I also have a soft spot for quiet, nerdy types so he was right up my alley.
Robby was a great narrator and I loved watching him grow throughout the story and learn to go after what he wants. In the beginning, Robby struggles a lot with his confidence, and speaking up about what he needs, but we see him grow and change to realize that he can’t be happy if he doesn’t express himself. This was one case where I didn’t mind only have Robby’s POV. I am generally not a fan of widower books, and though David and his ex weren’t married, they were together for 12 years before his ex died. This is mainly because grief is a very real thing and I totally understand someone struggling to move on from it but I don’t necessarily want to read about it in my leisure time. It’s obvious in this story that David is very conflicted over a lot of things and is still struggling with his grief, guilt, and then anger when he begins to experience an out relationship and he see’s what he was missing. Only have Robby’s POV let me enjoy this story a bit more because David’s pain is muted, if you will.
Some reviewers complained about how David and Robby treated David’s ex in terms of blame but I never noticed anything unusual. Yes, David is angry over how the ex kept their relationship secret and yes Robby is frustrated over “fighting a ghost” in terms of David’s wants. But these all felt very natural reactions for people in this situation.
This book covers almost an entire year of their relationship but it does jump ahead a lot. For instance, after agreeing to a first date, the story jumps 6 weeks and they’ve been dating ever since. Most of the time these jumps were ok with me but there were a few where I wished we could have had the full scene. David meets Robby’s parents at Christmas time and we’re told about this but not shown and then when Robby goes to meet David’s parents we see them arriving and saying hello to David’s mom and then it ends. Meeting the parents is a big deal in a relationship and though all romances don’t include this step, I feel that if it’s going to be in the story it needs to be fully shown. Especially because both Robby and David had issues with their parents about being gay.
Content Note: grieving widower
••• Book Details •••
Portland Heat #1 • Romance, LGBTQ+, Contemporary • Lyrical Press • March 3, 2015
Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?