Series Review: Of Love Series
Author: Andrew Grey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: Moderate to Explicit
Heart Rating: 4-5
Book #1 A Taste of Love
Blurb: The lunch rush at Darryl Hansen's restaurant, Cafe Belgie, is getting to be too much for one man to handle, and Billy Weaver is a young man in search of a job-any job-to support his family. Billy gains Darryl's respect with his earnest nature and willingness to work hard, but Billy's admiring looks resurrect pain and shame from Darryl's past. Until Darryl stumbles across Billy's secret, Billy is suffering in silence: his father died a few months earlier, leaving him struggling to raise his twin five-year-old brothers. Darryl takes Billy and the boys to the restaurant, where they'll stand together to face the smorgasbord of troubles in their future... while Davey, Donnie, and Billy all worm their way into Darryl's heart.
Blurb: Sebastian Franklin has waited a long time to prove himself as front of the house manager at Cafe Belgie, but his first night in charge while Darryl, his boss, is on vacation is less than a success. The restaurant is robbed at closing time, and the Good Samaritan who foiled the robber comes with his own complications.
Robert Fortier is the county's newest judge, and a reluctant one at that. He is well aware that a public life is not always easy, especially when your personal life makes you the target of a media frenzy. Still, Robert enjoys Sebastian's company, and Sebastian is never without a serving of happiness and flair for his favorite public figure. But Sebastian is not without his issues either-family chaos and an ex in trouble will put the pressure on as they struggle for even footing in this new romance.
Book #3 A Helping of Love
Blurb: If Peter Christopoulos has learned one thing from his last three years in a wheelchair, it's that people have a hard time seeing past the hardware. When he asks out Russ Baker after giving him a quote on equipment for a new Greek restaurant, he's disappointed but not surprised to be turned down.
Russ has been covering for his abusive boyfriend for so long it's almost automatic, but with a little help from his friends, he finds the courage to break it off. To his surprise, Peter is still interested, and soon they're falling hard and fast. But then their world is thrown into turmoil: Peter finds an old letter indicating he has a half sister he's never met, and Russ's past interferes when his ex makes it clear he'll do anything to get him back.
Book #4 A Slice of Love
Blurb: To make a small fortune, start with a large fortune and open a bakery. That’s the advice Marcus Wilson has heard. Unfortunately, Marcus doesn’t have a large fortune—just a bakery, A Slice of Heaven, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the determination to make it successful. He needs more help than he can afford, so when he hires accountant Gregory Southland, it’s for hours in the shop as well as on the books.
Gregory takes a second job at the bakery to help pay the bills now that his health is improving. Soon he’s looking forward to spending time with Marcus, but as the business—and their relationship—grows, so do the complications: First Marcus’s stepmother involves him in a cause that could give the bakery a reputation it doesn’t need. Then Marcus and Gregory disagree over whether to involve A Slice of Heaven in a civil rights dispute. To top it off, Gregory’s ex-boyfriend makes an appearance just when he is at his most vulnerable. But the greatest complication by far is Marcus and Gregory’s struggle to learn to trust each other and themselves, especially when it comes to baking up matters of the heart.
I fell in love with this series (pun inteneded!) that is all about these four couples, their lives, their families and their friends. The way that their lives all intersect and come together throughout was very refreshing and intriguing as well, it made the stories just that much better for me.
The first story is all about Darryl, Billy and Billy’s twin brothers Donnie and Davey. Darryl is the owner and chef of Café Belgie. He’s worked hard to get where he is and his job has literally been his life for years. Billy and his brother’s are in hard times since their father’s death and Billy desperately needs a job. He starts working for Darryl, but it isn’t without a few hiccups along the way. When Darryl learns just how dire the brothers circumstance is, he moves them all into his house, and soon after moves Billy into his bed. They form a tight bond and quickly become a makeshift family. But mistakes that the brother’s parents made soon come back to haunt them, and Darryl is by their side the entire time.
Up next we have Sebastian and Robert’s story. Sebastian is the floor manager at Café Belgie, he too pretty much lives his work. He’s been alone for a while now since his ex cheated on him. When the Café is robbed during Sebastian’s watch, a tall uncoordinated stranger saves the day. Robert is a local attorney that has just been elected to the bench. He’s never hidden his sexuality per say, but he hasn’t advertised it either. The waiter at the Café makes him want to advertise more than just his choice of lover. Their relationship is rocky at the start. Sebastian’s ex is sick and has no one else so Sebastian lets him stay with him. Robert is thrilled, he’s grown quite attached and he’s worried about Sebastian getting hurt again. And then there is the ever present threat of Robert’s sexuality having a negative effect on his pending job as a judge.
And now we come to Russ and Peter’s story. Russ is an assistant chef at Café Belgie, and he will be the chef that will run Darryl’s new restaurant Acropolis. He’s in an abusive relationship and has been completely brainwashed into believing he’s only getting what he deserves. Peter is a salesman that sells the restaurant equipment they will need for the new restaurant. His unhindered attraction to Russ sort of opens Russ’s eyes. Even after Russ leaves his abusive boyfriend and moves in with Darryl and Billy, his ex just won’t stay away. Thankfully Russ now has an extended family through his job, which includes a newly appointed judge. And Peter is right by his side, unwavering through everything.
And finally we have Gregory and Marcus. Gregory is Sebastian’s ex, who is now Sebastian and Roberts best friend. When Gregory learned he had HIV, Sebastian and Robert became his family as everyone else he knew turned their backs on him. When Sebastian learns that the owner of the new bakery in town needs some help, he gets Gregory to assist and pay if forward. Marcus lost his last partner to the disease, so he is familiar with everything the Gregory has to deal with on a daily basis. These two seem to connect quicker than any of the other guys did, but their connection won’t be the issue within their relationship. Gregory has an ex that just won’t go away, and Marcus has less than a tolerable relationship with his father.
I love a good series when it focus’ on that specific relationship the author is building for that specific book, but still keeps you up to date with the other characters you’ve come to love in the previous books. There is a lot of action, suspense, romance, love and yes.. the sex is of the charts. But each book in and of itself, is not all about the sexual aspect. Darryl and Billy have to find a balance between their age difference and the issues they’ve learned about the twins. Sebastian and Robert have the jealously aspect. Although Gregory isn’t truly a threat, Robert is still leary of him after what he’s done in the past. And then there is them not knowing what is going to happen when the general populous finds out that Robert is, in fact, gay.
Russ and Peter’s story shows that gay men can be in emotionally and physically abusive relationships as well. And still suffer the same aftermath, carry the same scars. Peter is in a wheelchair and he will be damned if that will define who he is, and kudos to Grey because never not once did it even matter. In fact, I almost forgot he was handicapped along the way. Gregory and Marcus explore the issues and the ignorance that people with HIV have to deal with daily. Compound that with Marcus’s issues with his family and their relationship was probably the most difficult of them all.
Overall this was just a fun series that chronicled the lives of a group of gay men that are family and friends. They work together, live in the same town and have each other’s backs day in and day out. They all grow and learn together and become stronger from it. I highly recommend this series, and not just because it’s written by Andrew Grey. It’s really well written, involved, passionate and endearing.
This series was so much fun to read. Each installment brings something different as this growing group of lovers and friends continues to expand and evolve.
Grab your copies today and start the New Year off right with a lot of steamy romance
and delectable desserts!