The Evolution of Love (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: The Evolution of Love (World of Love Series #29)
Author: Philip William Stover
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 20, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Second Chance
Page Count: 109
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


When a charming but misguided account manager gets stuck on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands with his hunky zoologist ex, he might rediscover his true passion—in and out of the bedroom.

After art school, Mike Davis gave up on his dream in favor of a stable job. But when he gets an opportunity to teach wealthy travelers how to paint stunning sunsets, it seems like the perfect break. Until he finds out he’ll be sharing a suite with his ex, charismatic Benton Aldridge—a British scientist cuter than the baby animals he studies. Mike makes it clear he has no intention of getting back together with Benton, but sharing a suite makes it almost impossible keep his distance.

As they climb over volcanic peaks and swim with manatees through sparkling jade-colored water, can they also heal past wounds and take the next step in the evolution of love?

I’m unfamiliar with Philip William Stover, but he is now firmly on my “Must Read” list. I read this book in one sitting (in the dead of night because I couldn’t put it down) and adore the flow of the author’s writing style that just draws you into the story.

Mike is a talented artist but pays the bills with a stressful job as an account manager for a communications company. Mike’s Aunt Penny (formerly his uncle Paul) is leading a luxury cruise tour to the Galapagos Island and wrangles Mike into teaching watercolor classes. And surprise, surprise … Mike’s ex, Benton, is also on board as a wildlife lecturer during the cruise.

Benton is basically a well-endowed Disney Prince with a killer British accent and “a jawline so defined you could use it as a ruler.” Benton and Mike have chemistry to spare but their view of life is a bit different:

He had this happy, well-adjusted attitude that, at first, I found quite charming, but eventually it became infuriating. He never understood why I stressed about work or why I worried about getting a promotion. He believed good things were always waiting to happen. I believe that you brace yourself for the worst at all times and wait in the cellar until the tornado passes while eating expired cans of fruit cocktail.

What follows is a playful romp through some typical romance novels scenarios but the author makes them fresh and fun, although I could have done without the weird subplot involving a mysterious telegram. And for a novella that doesn’t have a lot of on-page sex, the sexual tension here is fully ramped up and makes for a very enjoyable read! In closing, let me share my favorite sentences from the story:

Since Benton left I have hooked up with a grand total of two guys. I met a guy on an app who gave a blowjob so bad it was like he thought he was eating an ear of corn.

5 stars and Happy reading!

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of The Evolution of Love provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader
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