Title: Love Wanted
Author: John Inman and Ezekiel Robison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 280 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.
Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.
Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.
When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.
With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?
This book provides an interesting twist to this author’s romantic fiction and a very good job has been done with it too. This was reminiscent in its humour and sentimentality of The Ghost and Mrs Muir (one of those cherished TV memories from the 70’s). Throughout there is a sense of warmth and welcome that is common to this type of writing from the author. The story is simple in its premise but there is the odd twist here and there; well flagged to the reader, even though the characters seem oblivious to the obvious. The characterisation is as strong as usual with all of the characters showing positive traits, at least at first. Where there is naughtiness, it is handled in a villainous way that cannot really be taken to heart. The setting adds little to the story and merely contextualises the interactions. There was clearly the potential to make this a more complex story and certainly the haunting was lightly and playfully presented. It works on that level but perhaps a richer telling would have been more effective.
The narration was well done. The clear individual characterisations are both effective and realistic. Some limited emotion was introduced and this aided in the flow of the story. The narrator clearly understood the humour of the writing and this came across in the telling.
The relationships between the various characters are the major strength of the story. The character of the master of the house, whilst he is not the centre of passion, is certainly the heart of the story. The relationships between the lovers are unambiguous; although there is little new to the characterisations, they are clear-cut and approachable. The sex is passionate, explicit and effective. However, given the relatively lightweight nature of the story perhaps it wasn’t a vital part of the tale.
The narrative and narration kept the reader’s interest throughout and there was a steady flow of things happening. It was, however rather predictable and this led to the reader waiting for the inevitable.
By the time the story draws to its close all of the threads are neatly resolved. It is a fantasy tale at its heart and should be read from that point of view. To expect more from it than this would make it a different type of story. This was a situation where a simple storyline might have worked better. There were just too many opportunities for plot development that were not followed that got in the way of thorough enjoyment. It is a good story and I would recommend it to any reader who can suspend the need to pick at it.