Title ~ Sauna Lover
Author ~ Susan Laine
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 16th January 2015
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance
When Shawn Wells learns a planned development project threatens the quaint gay neighborhood of Trickstown, he jumps into action. This is his home turf. Plus, his favorite hangout, bathhouse Hot Haven, is the heart of the community--along with its owner, Toby Macintyre, who has been a sort-of friend to Shawn for years.
Surprisingly, Toby seems opposed to Shawn’s community-wide campaign to save the uniqueness and unity of the area. Even so, an unexpected attraction sparks between them, further fanning the flames of change.
Shawn has to fight for the future of his community, his beloved bathhouse, and for Toby. The sauna lover quickly finds himself in some real hot water.
Told in the first person, Shawn Wells introduces himself as a Sauna Slut. His favorite place to hang out and get all of his needs taken care of is Hot Haven.
I was a firm believer that all men, each and every one of them, had something sexy about them. They just needed the right person to coax and cajole it out of them. I was that person.
Toby is the man who owns Hot Haven. When Shawn finds out that his favorite relaxation place is under threat from property developers he visits Toby at home to offer his support. Shawn and Toby have known each other for years, due to Shawn's love of the establishment, but Shawn had always thought that Toby wasn't his type. Toby also doesn't seem to believe in love.
I'm not a pie in the sky dreamer, not a romantic like that. I'm a realist and a pragmatist. People fall in lust, or need companionship, or have children together. They mistake those things for love.
There's a storm, some hot sex and then weeks of awkwardness. Toby doesn't appreciate Shawn's efforts in trying to keep his business afloat, and Shawn realizes he has developed feelings for his friend. Toby's feelings changed after...well I have to leave some of the story for you to read, and as for Shawn, well he changed as well.
I did love the discussion the two men had about their favorite saunas. Interesting and with just enough information for me to think about searching for more online. But unfortunately that was about the only thing that was rich in detail - saunas. I would have loved a bit more depth in the characters and the storyline about the developers plans. For example we are told that Toby doesn’t believe in love, yet he admits to being in love with Shawn. I also wasn't comfortable with the idea that Toby and Shawn decided to go bareback after figuring they were clean - given Shawn's history in particular, testing would have been a far more sensible idea.
Overall this is a light read, with a cute plot, and Shawn was a colorful character. If you want something light to read on a wet afternoon, then this is definitely worth picking up.