Title: The Summer of Us
Author: Lily Morton
Release Date: 22nd Nov, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Summer Romance, Enemies to lovers, Friends to lovers, GFY
Page Count: 228
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
It’s going to be a long hot summer.
John is an exceptionally good lawyer. He’s driven, arrogant and hides a warm heart underneath a façade of cool politeness. He’s used to people disliking him but for some reason when meeting Matt in London the other man’s open dislike of him bothers him. He’s therefore surprised to find himself offering Matt a place to stay in his villa in the South of France while he’s working nearby. He’s surprised because he’d actually planned to spend the summer working on his book and plotting to get his ex-wife back.
However, his perfect plans take a blow as the long hot summer progresses and the two men get closer, and John starts to nurse an unexpected attraction to his houseguest from hell.
Matt is John’s polar opposite. He’s warm, funny, sociable and scruffy. He loves people and they love him back. However, to his consternation he hates John more than he hates Marmite, and Marmite makes him vomit. He hates his arrogance, his public school voice and the air of superiority that he carries around. The idea of staying in his home with just him for company sounds torturous and not in a good way.
However, as the hot, lazy days slip by he’s forced to realize that maybe he’s not such a good judge of character after all, because underneath that arrogance is a warm, funny, vulnerable man who’s incredibly sexy. The only problem is that while Matt is gay John is completely straight and Matt now wants him more than he’s ever wanted anything in his life.
See what happens when two men who think that they have nothing in common apart from a past mutual hatred find out that they might actually be each other’s future.
From the author of the popular Beggar’s Choice series comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy.
This is a spin-off from the Beggar’s Choice series. It features characters from the series but can be read as a complete standalone.
“The Summer of Us” is a very sweet and romantic read which combines three tropes of GFY, “enemies to lovers” and also “friends to lovers”. There is very minimal angst in this read and I loved how the author beautifully writes the GFY part in the story. The romance is very engaging and passionate. Both the MCs were very different characters but in a very base way were completely similar with emotional baggages and past hurts. I loved them both and rooted for them wholeheartedly.
John Harrington is a very rich and successful lawyer who works for the band, Beggar’s Choice while also being a very good friend to the members of the band. He does not have many friends he can trust in his life except for the guys of the band, who have included him in their inner circle completely. But not everyone from Beggar’s Choice likes him.
Matt Dalton is Bram’s, bass guitarist of Beggar’s Choice, best friend. Matt is not in the band, he is Bram’s PA and thus a permanent member of the inner sanctum of the brand. Matt dislikes John from their very first meeting. Everyone trusts John and likes him but Matt can’t seem to get over his hate for the uppity and arrogant lawyer.
When Chase Hudson, lead singer of Beggar’s Choice ropes both Matt and John in together to help him restore a villa in the beautiful southern France, the polar opposite duo finds themselves developing a friendship which feels right with every passing second. They spend time together and finds out about each others past hurts and how those have affected them in their lives. They develop a kinship which is rare and freeing. Along with their developing friendship, attraction grows in equal measure.
Matt is gay and is insanely attracted to John but the guy is straight and Matt does not want to become anyone’s experiment. He wants a lover who will make him his number one priority and John being straight with an ex-wife he is trying to woo back, is definitely not the guy he should fall for. But similar feelings are plaguing John too. John has always been attracted to women so his intense attraction to Matt confuses him. He has never been in love before but his feelings for Matt are definitely much more than “just friends”. He is attracted to Matt and he is ready to go all the way and accept his new found sexuality if it means he can find happiness and true love for the first time in Matt.
“The point is,” I say quietly. “I know everything about you because you fascinate me because -” I pause and swallow hard. “Because I love you, and you’re so fucking special to me.” His head shoots up, shock written on his face and then a blinding joy that relaxes and enervates me at the same time. “I’ve never been bothered enough to know these things about any previous lovers. I really couldn’t fucking care less before you, and if that makes me a bastard then so be it because I’m your bastard.” ~John
I loved both Matt and John. Matt is so warm and friendly with an amazing quality to make friends anywhere he goes. He is so lovable and awesome. Matt had a bad childhood when his parents betray him but he has found his family in Bram and the other guys from the band. He had been in relationships a lot but he has never found love. He always came second to his lovers and this time he wants someone to make him their first priority. He falls in love with John but he guards his heart fiercely because he thinks John not reciprocating his love will break him.
John on the other hand lives behind a cool façade which he develops to cope with a cold, loveless childhood where his parents never gave a shit about him. He had a lot of money and a successful career but love was starkly missing from his life. He was always felt unbalanced with Matt and strangely affected by the hot surfer. Their vacation together finally shapes their relationship from enemies to friends and then to lovers of the forever kind.
“I want you to have everything of me Matty. I want to be totally yours.”
“Johnny you already are sweetheart. Everything that you are is mine. Your arrogance, your vulnerability, your ability to make me laugh harder than anyone does, your kindness and your loyalty. They’re all mine and I will protect everything that you give me fiercely because you’re mine.”
“God, all yours,” I whisper. “I love you so fucking much. Please don’t ever leave me.”
“Never,” he says solidly, and his kiss on that rainy beach as we sway in the wind clutching each other tightly, is both a welcome home and a vow to the future, and for the first time in my life I totally let go with someone, secure in their love.
As I said earlier, I loved the author’s handling of John’s sexuality. He acknowledges his attraction and feelings for Matt without denial and unnecessary angst. His all-in attitude towards his love for Matt was amazing especially when he has been straight his entire life and falling in love with a man has never been on his radar. You could feel his unconditional love through his words which was adorably more like a nervous babble than proclamation of love*chuckles* (read the gooey epilogue and you will get what I mean!!!)
“I don’t know whether I’ve just discovered that I’m gay so much or just that I’ve discovered you. You’re my person and I think that I was just waiting for you. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is that you are mine and I am yours.” ~ John
The pace of the book was extremely nice. The gradual development of the friendship and then finally to being lovers is beautifully done. The guys get together at about 70% of the book but the build up to that part was fantastic. When they do act on their feelings, the act just felt seamless and natural. They were scorching hot together and their love making will make you flustered and content at the same time.
I have to mention the romantic and mesmerizing setting of this romance before I end this review. A villa in the hills around Cannes with an amazing view of the sparkling sea and heady scents of nature was just what completed this beautiful summer romance. The guys go on various trips around the neighborhood and I had a swell time enjoying the beautiful Cannes through them. Also the songs featuring in every chapter sets the tone perfectly for that chapter. I had my iPod out and I listened to every one of them while reading this book. It was a great experience. Loved the songs!!!
Overall, this read is a very nice and sweet GFY romance with very minimal angst. If you are looking for a beautiful friendship and an equally passionate romance in the spectacularly beautiful Cannes then don’t miss out on this one. I would recommend this book to all romance lovers!!!