Isle of Wishes
Title : Isle of Wishes
Series : Isle of … Where? Book #2
Author : Sue Brown
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 242 pages (e-book)
Published : August 19, 2013
Rating : ★★★★1/2
After a whirlwind vacation on the Isle of Wight, where he found the love of his life, Sam Owens sends Liam Marshall home to Michigan to tie up loose ends so they can be together forever. When all communication with Liam goes silent, Sam worries. Fearing the worst, he enlists the help of his brother, British Metropolitan police officer Paul Owens, to help him find Liam and get him back safely in time for their wedding. Paul has little difficulty digging into this mystery across the pond. Paul is also good-looking and openly bisexual, all of which adds to the dismay of Wisconsin Detective Olaf Skandik.
Olaf is ex-military and still closeted now that he’s part of the police department. He’s frustrated, hemmed in by the walls he’s erected, and when he meets Paul, he wonders if this may be the time and opportunity for change. Looking into his brother’s missing fiancé, Paul also starts looking into Olaf, and business soon mixes with pleasure, a bit of romance that may strengthen his case for them to make a future together.
While on a brief trip back to the States to finalise everything before moving permanently to London, Sam’s fiancé, Liam Marshall, disappears on his way to visit the daughter and ex-wife of his deceased best friend, Alex. After three days of hearing nothing or being able to get hold of Liam, Sam, desperately scared that something terrible has happened, begs his younger brother for help. Paul Owens, a beat cop, immediately agrees to accompany his big brother to Douglas, Michigan to find the missing Liam. When they get there, they find out the hire car Liam was driving to see Tea and Kathy was reported stolen and had been found by the police in Kelder, about two-thirds of the way to Milwaukee. After explaining the situation to the detective handling the stolen car case, it becomes a missing persons case and is handed over to another detective – the delectable, but somewhat abrasive, Olaf Skandik.
Paul is happily bisexual and is very attracted to the sexy, tall detective with the beautiful blue-green eyes, but they don’t exactly get off to a good first impression. At first, Skandik comes across as treating the disappearance as a trivial matter, but when he overhears the brothers stating their fears of this, he assures them that this isn’t the case. When Paul learns of the newsworthy case Skandik had been dealing with, they share an understanding bond as fellow cops. Later that day, the brothers are at the mall where Liam’s hire car was found, piecing together his movements, when Skandik calls to tell them he’s found two John Does matching the description of Liam. One is in the hospital undergoing surgery, and the other is at the morgue.
The thirty-eight year old Skandik is ex-military with a family that are totally unaccepting of gays, both of which had made sure he remained very firmly in the back of the closet. The police station where he was didn’t make it any easier to find his way out of that closet. He’s always been content to go out-of-state for hookups and hadn’t particularly missed having relationships, but when Paul comes along he finds himself surprised at his desire to have Paul and willingness to risk being outed to do it. Even in the few days they spend together while investigating what happened to Liam, Olaf realises he does want more and he wants it with Paul. Poor Olaf, I could really feel his loneliness and longing to have someone, to have Paul, in his life to care about him. Paul has always been a player, but he’s also charming and honest about it. A one time roll in the sack? He’s your man. A relationship? Best be looking for someone else. But it looks like the gorgeous American might just be the man for him. A genuinely nice guy, he’s secure and happy within himself. He loves his large and overly intrusive family – a contrast to Skandik’s more distant upbringing.
What a truly lovely book! Two-thirds the way through; It was after 2am and my eyes were threatening to close themselves for me if I wasn’t going to do it voluntarily, but I did not want to stop reading! Well written, wonderful characters, great dialogue. Sam and Liam, their wedding and the rest of the clan were seamlessly folded into the story without ever taking away from Paul and Olaf’s story being front and centre.
I adored both the MCs. In fact, I genuinely liked all the characters. They were real and full of life, even the minor characters were injected with personality. I loved the relationship between the two brothers right from the start. Skandik states early on in the book that you can tell Paul and Sam are brothers, and you really can. Anyone with siblings will recognise that combination of comradery, exasperation, playful teasing, rivalry, affection and loyalty. I really loved the complex relationships between the Owenses and the build up to Sam and Liam’s wedding. You’d think that Sam and Liam, with their wedding, would take over Paul and Olaf’s story, but although it definitely was prominent in the story, the author treads that line perfectly and keeps the focus where it should be. There was a lot of little moments of humour, but it felt very organic and never slapstick and just made an enjoyable read even more so.
The development of Paul and Olaf’s romance was a joy to read, realistically drawn and true to their characters. Despite Olaf being very deep in the closet, it was due to his work and not because of conflict with or denial of his sexuality. Nothing felt forced or unnecessary, both the writing and story flowing naturally. While relationship obstacles were definitely there, they were handled believably – angst free without being flippant. A couple of little things that could have been fixed: there were some contradictions within the text and, I found the continuing use of Olaf’s last name to feel a bit distancing, although this does ease off in the last third of the book. All in all, both were very minor and did no more than make me scratch my head a few times. The ending was rather abrupt, but I’m crossing my fingers that that is because there is a another book to the series being planned. *squeezes eyes shut and wishes really hard* But that’s not to say that the ending is in any way anything other than positive, although I would class it as a HFN rather than a HEA due to it’s open endedness. Oh, and the little reference to the title of the first book in the series made me smile.
Rated 4.5 stars by BookSmitten