Release Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
His Horizon by Con Riley
Temperatures rise when there are two cooks in Jude’s kitchen…
Jude’s drowning in guilt when he can’t save his family business single-handed. The last person he expects to throw a lifeline is Rob, a rival chef who once beat him to first place in a cooking contest.
Two chefs working together won’t be easy. Not when Rob is everything Jude isn’t—popular, extroverted, and a one-time hook-up. What’s worse is that Rob wears his heart on his sleeve while Jude’s still in the closet.
Jude’s dilemma doesn’t end there. Rob’s rescue package comes with conditions that mean sharing everything from the profits to Jude’s sleeping quarters.
Sleeping with the enemy will either be a disaster or signal a much brighter future, but only if Jude can meet Rob’s final condition and love him in the open.
Featuring opposites who attract, rivals to lovers, and an out-for-you storyline dripping with hurt-comfort feelings, His Horizon is the first in a shared-world series of standalone MM romance novels from Con Riley.
CONTENT ADVISORY: Grief-related angst, Off-page peril & British-English spelling/grammar.
Excerpt:It was beyond dark in the boatyard, clouds covering the moon leaving the way deeply shadowed. Rob held out his phone, flashlight app a white beam that sliced through the darkness, his other hand in Jude’s, fingers laced as they walked in silence to the boatshed. It lit the ceiling when he placed it at the head of the bed, the portholes dark circles above them. He stayed quiet until Jude lay flat on his bunk. “One thing,” he then said, after kneeling over him. “Just to check.” Rob dipped down for a kiss, lips barely touching Jude’s before he pulled back a scant inch. “You didn’t help yourself to a finger or two of cognac from the bar before coming to find me, did you?” His knees were so close to the edge of Jude’s bunk that he slipped after straddling him. Jude grabbed him with one hand on each of his hips, raising his knees to keep Rob steady. Once he was, Jude slid both hands under Rob’s T-shirt, hands travelling up and around to appreciate where his back broadened. “You think I’d need to be drunk to want this? Why?” Rob’s gaze skittered away. It wasn’t easy to switch position. “Jesus, you’re a lump.” Jude pushed up while twisting, rolling them over so Rob was beneath him. “Why, Rob? You really think my judgement needs to be impaired to want you?” “No… I… well, yes.” Rob’s hands skimmed Jude’s hips, his waist, the curve of pectorals that were more pronounced after a year’s sailing. “To be fair, I have had months of Lou telling me about how you never do this.” “This?” “It’s nothing.” Rob’s touch was distracting, but Jude stayed on topic. “Tell me. What did Lou say I never do?” Even in the dim light, Rob’s mask slipping again was visible. “Let people get close.” He squirmed, awkward before adding, “Besides, have you seen you?” He pushed Jude’s shirt higher. “Some people might say I’m punching a teensy bit above my weight.” He glanced down at that last word to where Jude had one hand on his belly. Rob’s skin was soft and giving. “Too many second breakfasts.” “You’re gorgeous,” Jude said, and he meant it. Had done from their first meeting. “Annoying, but gorgeous.” Rob pulled him closer and Jude sank into it, lying instead of kneeling, kissing instead of thinking about what might come tomorrow. With his eyes closed, and Rob’s arms around him, Jude was back in London, after the contest semi-finals, only this time—now—he wasn’t about to stop at kissing. No, if he’d learned anything this year, it was to take as much as he could, because tomorrow could get washed away without any warning.
Review: Jude is at sea when “His Horizon” begins. He has been searching for his parents. They were caught in a huge storm while on the trip of a lifetime and were lost at sea. He returns home to the pub his parents established that’s being run by his sister, Lou. But he finds a town he doesn’t even recognize anymore. Jude was once on a path to become a top chef in London, he was competing against his antagonistic colleague, Rob when he found out about his parents. There was a kiss… then Jude fled to find his parents without explanation.
When Jude returns to the pub, he finds the pub locked and Rob sleeping in the boathouse. There’s a long story about why Rob is there… but there sure is some drama as the three main characters struggle to figure it all out!
There are a few themes running through the book… it’s much more than a romance! That’s one of the things that I enjoy about Riley’s writing. I love the romance genre, but I love it even more when there’s some real substance to it.
People are missing in this book and that really brings up a lot for the characters. Riley does a great job of exploring how terrifying the thought of “giving up” on someone can be. When is someone missing “long enough”? When there are no bodies, how do you even begin to come to terms with the fact that someone may not be returning home?
Jude isn’t open about his sexuality in the small town he comes from. He lives with some heavy emotions that are leftover from the past. Riley really hits home with this part of the story… showing that relationships from our past can really leave a mark on us, change how we think, leave us with behavior that is difficult to change. There are many reasons for not coming out in a small town, not the least of which is how our families may receive us. Sadly, Jude is haunted by his father’s reluctance to engage anyone who was gay. That’s a legacy that has stayed with him.
Speaking of fathers, there is also an unresolved relationship issue between Rob and his father. Rob’s father is very successful and has plans for Rob to take over his restaurants. That’s not what Rob wants, he doesn’t want gifts and money… he wants his father to be proud of him. There’s a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings between the two men.
The sexual relationship between Jude and Rob is sweet and very hot. They might be opposites, but the energy they put into disagreeing with one another translates well into a physical relationship.
Rob was definitely my favorite character. He was lovely and complex… more so than you might think at the very beginning of the novel. His motivations were always quite lovely, even though the decisions and choices he makes throughout the novel weren’t the best at times. He was likable and from the beginning, I was rooting for him.
Riley is also great at world-building. The town of Porthperrin may not be real, but I’m familiar with the type of seaside town that is Jude’s home in this book. The pub atmosphere and the small town are perfectly described… and I could imagine myself being there. I loved it.
“You don’t talk, Jude. You’re quiet, so people fill in your silence. That means when you do speak, people listen.” – Rob “His Horizon”
This is a great book. It’s a good, solid romance with a lot of other things packed into the story. If you’re a fan of Riley’s other books I’m certain you will enjoy this one.
Warnings: supporting characters are missing at sea, memories of a sick and dying parent in the past, a character is estranged from father, a character is not out, angst, mentions of supporting character losing home/ being discharged from the military in the past for being gay.
Enter the Giveaway:
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About the Author:
Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.
Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time instead. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.
When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.
Connect with Con:
FACEBOOK GROUP: facebook.com/groups/458421868222590 TWITTER: twitter.com/con_riley INSTA: instagram.com/con_riley BOOKBUB: bookbub.com/authors/con-riley AMAZON: amazon.com/Con-Riley/e/B WEBSITE: https://www.conriley.com