The Veranda (Lily G’s Review)

Title: The Veranda (Lavender Shores Book 3)
Author: Rosalind Abel and Kirt Graves (Narrator)
Publisher: Wings of Ink Publications
Release Date: June 4th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5


Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.

Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then he met his pregnant fiancée’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.

A decade later, after a divorce and the crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years.

The problem is those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered, and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high….

There was a lot I enjoyed about this second chance story. It’s about an older couple, Donovan and Spencer, who are making up for lost time. I liked these main characters and how their relationship develops once they get together. It’s not too late for them and these guys certainly have some sweet as well as hot steamy moments.

Both men struggle with their attraction for each other and have done for years. They are both torn because there’s a hint of an almost-taboo family relationship. Spencer and Donovan were brother-in-laws for the best part of ten years. Neither of them had seriously considered making a move on the other beforehand. When they meet and hook-up at a sex party they have their costumes and masks to hide behind and try to convince themselves the other person wasn’t truly aware who they were.

For much of the first half of the story there’s a lot of internalized guilt and introspection about being together, partly because Spencer had been married to a woman and was in the closet and partly because the two men were worried what other family members and the local community would think of their relationship. I became a little frustrated at times (such as after their hot shower scene) when they could have talked about their feelings and moved their relationship on but instead they held back, not wanting to ‘rush’ things. They’d been waiting a decade already!

The second half of the story was great as they sort themselves out and find their footing as a couple. The Veranda became a special place for these guys. The epilogue was OTT but really sweet and made me smile. 

Overall I enjoyed listening to this romance set in the quirky Lavender Shores community. It was nice to see characters from the previous stories having an input into this one as well. 

The narrator portrayed the characters well and admirably brought the story to life for me.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of The Veranda provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.


Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men's feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing! Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.