Title ~ Jesse’s Diner (Hope Collection)
Author ~ Cardeno C
Published ~ 29th September 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Two men with a shared history and a mutual attraction must be honest with themselves and each other so both their dreams come true.
Quiet, unassuming Tanner Sellers spends his time running a diner in Hope, Arizona. Not particularly social, twenty-two-year-old Tanner keeps to himself and enjoys his simple life, but he longs for someone to call his own. In his most secret fantasy, that someone is sexy Steve Faus. But Steve is his friend’s father and mentor’s widower and therefore off-limits.
Despite some challenges, thirty-nine-year-old Steve Faus has had a good life. He’s extremely successful at work, has a great relationship with his college-age son, and lives in a wonderful town. Eighteen months after losing his partner, the one thing Steve lacks is someone to share his life. If Steve is honest with himself, that someone is the young man he has known and cared about for years. Steve and Tanner want one another, all they need is a little push in the right direction to make both their dreams come true.
Jesse's Diner is pure Cardeno goodness with a dash of CC hot sauce! A sweet but still spicy love story that might not get the adrenaline pumping in terms of edge of your seat excitement...but then it's not always about that is it? Sometimes you just want to unwind with something uncomplicated and I'd say Tanner and Steve's warmhearted romance is the perfect recipe for soothing the sresses of the day.
Twenty two year old virgin,Tanner, is an unassuming sweetie, and all man Steve, recent widower of Tanner's mentor and father of his bestie Mike, is one of those yummy older guys (well if thirty nine is older to you...to me that's a toy boy! Lol!) who makes you think "Okay...so where do I get me one of those!!!"
When Mike rings Tanner from college and asks him to check on his dad Steve, to see if he's doing okay after losing Jesse, his May to December partner of twenty years, it's the catalyst for quiet, shy Tanner to finally get more up close and personal with the gorgeous man who has been his long time crush from the moment he met him six years before.
Using food from the diner he's inherited from Jesse as an excuse to do Mikes bidding, he calls on Steve and the two of them share dinner together. Happy to just spend time with Steve anyway he can, it becomes a regular occurrence and as time passes they get closer. But bless him, it takes a slightly oblivious Tanner a while (and a VERY illuminating decorating session!!!) to realise that he's not the only one with romance on his mind....
It's not all fluffiness. There’s a more serious thread concerning Steve, running in the background, that didn’t spoil the story (far from it) but in retrospect is the only part that did leave me pondering a wee bit. I'm not saying that every time this particular subject is brought up it has to be an emotional onslaught (I actually applaud that Cardeno didn't make a huge melodrama out of it but still treated it thoughtfully) but afterwards, in my head, I took it completely out of the equation—imagining the storyline without it—and honestly? I don't think the journey to their HEA would have changed an iota if it hadn't been there at all.
If this had been a novel and not just a novella; Steve's past up to this point could have been more deeply explored; or perhaps it might have been included as a plot twist to add some conflict before they got their happy ending? If that had been the case it might have had a different impact on me. But the whole story is actually pretty much conflict free, so because it wasn’t particularly an emotional breaker I was a tad unsure what its purpose in the story really was…or perhaps I’m just overthinking it?
Whatever your thoughts on that aspect of the novella, this is still a very engaging read that will satisfy all fans out there, who just love to finish a sweet, sexy love story like this with a big sappy grin. Like its predecessor in the Hope series, MacFarland's Farm, this small town story with it's likeable characters, gentle, not too angsty feel good storyline and of course it's dose of sizzle, definitely delivers the warm and fuzzies with bells on. It’s Cardeno C…simple as!
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