As I promised on September 24, 2021 when I hosted Jay Hogan’s On Board, book two in the Painted Bay series, a m/m contemporary romance, I am reviewing the novel today. Check out what I have to say.
Leroy Madden is in trouble. Big, handsome, Fox Carmody trouble.
Leroy has buried his attraction to the enigmatic fisherman in irritation and pointless bickering, keeping Fox at a safe distance. But with the troublesome man now living in Leroy’s house, it’s becoming impossible for Leroy to keep his true feelings hidden, or the fact that Leroy isn’t so straight, after all.
Leroy hungers for something different between them. He wants more. But Leroy’s business is struggling, his newly mended relationship with his brother is at risk, Fox doesn’t plan to stay, and their mothers are lovers.
Regardless of what Leroy’s heart so desperately wants, his entire world is at stake, and nothing about a relationship with Fox Carmody was ever going to be easy.
I never read the first book in the series, so I came into this novel cold. I do think reading the first book is a good idea because from what I understand, this is supposed to be Leroy’s redemption story. And when you first meet Leroy, he isn’t a nice guy, and this makes it hard to root for him. It also made me wonder what Fox saw in this guy, and why he was so persistent in winning over Leroy. The author, however, did her job well.
The plot and stakes aren’t high, for starters. This is all about Leroy and Fox. Neither really has anything to lose, other than their feelings and getting hurt. Both are at a place in their lives where change is happening, though. Fox is newly-divorced. Leroy is trying to keep his business afloat…literally.
What makes this novel precious is the character arcs, especially Leroy’s. Hang in there. He does soften. He does become likable.
So what made me pick up this novel? The setting. I really enjoy reading novels that take place anywhere other than North America. It’s refreshing to delve into a new world that I know nothing about. This is my second book I read that takes place in New Zealand and the author painted a wonderful picture of this place through the eyes of the characters.
The author’s voice really brings Fox and Leroy to life. She let them tell the story by simply dictating what each had to say. That’s how I felt while reading. Each have their own POV and each was spot on in having their own narrative “voice.” Their thoughts and actions were truly Leroy and Fox.
I also loved the small-town vibe. And the mothers as lovers was awesome. They came close to stealing the show, but the author did a great job of making sure Leroy and Fox were always centre stage.
Leroy’s arc is well executed. It takes a long time to break this guy down. I was happy to see this, because he’s a stubborn fella. If it would’ve been rushed, it wouldn’t have felt real to me. As for Fox, I really adored him. He is everything everyone wants in a hero.
The writing is fresh and strong. The dialogue is snappy, sweet, and even harsh. Jay Hogan is very talented.
Do yourself a favour and pick yourself up a copy.
Have you read On Board? If you have, do you agree with my review? If you haven’t, are you willing to now?