Author: Amy Aislin
Book: The Heights
Series: Lakeshore, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 235 pages, 76K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: September 20, 2018
Cover Artist: Champagne Book Design
Twenty-one years ago, a four-year old child was kidnapped from his front yard. He was never found. Until now.
All Nat Walker wants is to make his late father’s dream of running a father/son woodworking shop come true. And he had the perfect building in mind—until the new guy in town came in and bought the place right out from under him. The fact that the new guy is adorable means nothing. For all Nat cares, he can take his new dance studio and waltz back to New York City.
Professional dancer Quinn Carroll couldn’t be happier that he made the move to the small town of Lakeshore, Oregon. Sure, it’s not New York, but now he’ll be living closer to his adoptive brother. And since his studio will be the only one in the area, he should get enough business to keep him busy. Besides, there’s something about this place that seems familiar…
He doesn’t expect to fall hard for the local, grumpy woodworker who won’t even smile at him.
Or find out that his entire life is a lie.
A week later, Saturday afternoon found Nat wrapping his latest project in bubble wrap in his workshop when a car that sounded minutes away from death pulled into the driveway. He went out to greet his visitor and was both surprised, and yet not, at the identity of the individual who stepped out of the car.
When Shay had asked him for an emergency favor—could he pretty please craft a ballet barre for his brother in less than ten days?—it hadn’t taken Nat long to put two and two together and figure out that said brother was his very own nemesis.
Okay, maybe nemesis was a strong word. Poor guy still didn’t know that Nat was pissed at losing the Main Street building, pissed at him. Which he was aware made no sense, but feelings made no sense, so whatever.
And he was surprised because, for some reason, he’d thought it’d be Shay coming to pick up the barre.
So this was Shay’s brother, Quinn. When Shay had moved to Lakeshore over a year ago, he’d commissioned Nat for some everyday household pieces. A couple of bed frames, kitchen and dining room tables and chairs, a couple of side tables. They’d become friends over the course of the projects. Shay’d been excited about Quinn’s move to Lakeshore and had talked at length about how great it’d be to have him close by again. He’d failed to mention Quinn was a dancer.
And that he was adorable as fuck.
Nat met Quinn at his car and gave the tire a kick. “What is this? An oh-five?”
“Two thousand,” Quinn corrected, squinting up at Nat.
Nat gave the car a second look. “And it still runs?”
Quinn grinned and bounced on the balls of his feet. “Yup. She’s not pretty, my Corolla, I know.”
He was right about that. Rust crusted the rim, paint was peeling off the back bumper, and duct tape held the passenger side mirror together.
Quinn patted the roof. “But she moved me here, so she’s all right.”
“You drove this thing across the country?” The car looked like it’d fall to pieces if driven above twenty miles per hour. “You’re crazy. It’s a death trap.”
“No,” Quinn said, laughing. “My uncle’s a mechanic, and he says she’s got at least ten years in her. I mean, she’s not perfect. The passenger side window goes down, but it doesn’t come back up again. The heater doesn’t work. Oh, and if I turn the volume on the radio up too high, the car automatically turns it down.”
Nat leaned against the hood. “Like some kind of annoying audio autocorrect?”
They stood staring at each other, and man, Quinn’s eyes were so green. Something about his dazzling grin made them pop even brighter, like wet grass after a rainfall.
Jesus, now he was waxing poetic about a guy’s eyes? A guy he didn’t even like? Though he had to admit, the fact that Quinn was checking him out made him feel like a million bucks. It was different from the way the guys he met via hookup apps checked him out. Those guys were only into him for a night of fucking and fun. He had no idea what Quinn wanted, but the way he looked at Nat made something soft uncurl in his belly. Something soft that yearned.
He jerked himself out of it and straightened.
Quinn seemed to jerk out of it too, eyes snapping up to Nat’s from where they’d been focused on Nat’s upper arms. He stuck a hand out. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Quinn Carroll. You know my brother, Shay.”
“Nat Walker.” Quinn’s hand was soft and warm, but his grip was strong. A tingle shot up Nat’s arm. He ripped his hand away so fast that he startled Quinn, who jumped slightly.
5✨s – I loved this book. From the setting to the characters, to the plot, it grabbed me right away and I wasn’t able to put it down. Quinn and Nat came from two different worlds. Nat worked so hard to avoid people, even his family, after things happened that stripped away his confidence. Quinn couldn’t see himself away from his older brother. When the two meet they have very different ideas of the other, but the more time they spend together the more they want to know the other.
It’s not long, however, until Quinn’s past starts catching up to him. A past he didn’t know he had.
The whole premise of being kidnapped and then adopted is different and intriguing. My heart ached for Quinn as I couldn’t imagine what he was going through. Luckily he had Nat. As much as Nat didn’t want a boyfriend at the beginning, he turned out to be exactly what Quinn needed and took care of him when he needed him the most. It was so sweet.
I need more in this series. Amy Aislin has a whole bunch of fun secondary characters and I cannot wait for them to have their stories. Especially when there seems to be more to Quinn’s kidnapping that first appears.
A little bit of mystery, a lt of family and friendship, and some sweet love between two people who are perfect for each other. This book is a favorite of mine.
5✨s – Loved this book!! The storyline is predictable given the blurb BUT the way Ms. Aislin gets us to the end is wonderful. The character development of Quinn and Nat – I just love them both. Nat’s character hits very close to home to me personally as I lost my father suddenly 2 years ago so I can completely understand his thoughts and feelings. Quinn struggles with, well everything, once he learns the truth. And the dance scene – WOWZA!!! I found the book refreshing and a great change of pace for me. Looking forward to the next book!!
4✨s – Amy Aislin has penned a charming story of family ties and new connections from a very different perspective than the norm. Quinn has moved to Lakeshore, joining his older brother and opening his dream dance school, Once he meets the attractive owner, Nat is trying really hard to stay angry with him for buying his dream store but with little success. Nat has issues over being responsible for anyone he’s close to, so he doesn’t want to be drawn to Quinn. But after meeting frequently through chance and their respective brothers, Quinn is stunned by a shocking revelation from the past. Nat can’t help revealing his interest along with his concern for Quinn. Since it’s not mentioned in the blurb, I won’t spoil things by telling you what happened. It’s a premise I have never read before and I really liked that about the book. I don’t know if the plot is unique but it’s certainly fresh feeling and unusual, in my opinion.
This was more laid-back in execution than my mystery craving expectations, based on the prologue but the lower level of angst was quite satisfying. I liked and empathized with Quinn and Nat, both as characters and a couple. Steamy scenes are limited and paced well in the narrative. There is much interpersonal conflict and a great deal of emotion to process for nearly everyone in the story. Secondary characters are critically important, well drawn and defined in their roles. Nat’s brother John and Quinn’s brother Shay are excellent touchstones for their siblings and help both MC’s navigate changes in their lives. It’s very enjoyable reading and circumstances from the past aren’t completely resolved, promising intriguing events in the coming sequel. The focus on family and their developing love and affection sparked all the feels and the warm fuzzies along the way. I can happily recommend this one.
About Amy Aislin:
Amy Aislin started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in Oakville, Ontario, she’s a marketer at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including traveling, astronomy, ecology, and baking.
Guest Post by Amy Aislin:
Thank you for joining me to celebrate the release of my newest m/m contemporary romance, The Heights, and thank you to Jessie G. Books for having me!
The Heights is set in the fictional small town of Lakeshore, Oregon. I had the opportunity to visit Oregon with a friend in May, and although I dubbed it “research,” really it was mostly for fun. I happened to find myself in Reno for the RT Booklovers Convention and took an extra week off work to head up to Oregon right after for some sightseeing since I was in that neck of the woods, so to speak.
It’s a beautiful state with so many different landscapes and climates. Here’s a funny story: on day three of our trip, we drove from Bend to Newport. It was hot and sunny in Bend. So hot that I was regretting my jeans while we were at the Lava Lands Visitor Center. When we got to the coast hours later, we stopped first at the Sea Lion Caves and parked in the lot across the street. A woman exited the Sea Lion Caves Visitor Center and crossed the street wearing a heavy jacket and a scarf.
Me: There’s no way it’s that cold out. *steps out of the car* Holy crap, it is that cold out!
I had to borrow my friend’s extra jacket because I was silly and didn’t pack anything except a lightweight jean jacket. It was so much colder at the coast than I thought it’d be. Although, I’ve been to St. John’s, Newfoundland in June and it was windy and cold then too, so really, I don’t know what I was expecting. Silly Amy.
But the biggest surprise of all was how often we wanted to do something, only to find that we couldn’t. I’m from the suburbs outside of Toronto, where everything is always open. All the time. Sometimes even on holidays. So my friend and I went to Oregon expecting the same thing, mostly because we didn’t know any better. But we couldn’t visit the lava caves because they were closed on the day we were in Bend. We missed the whale watching tour because the last tour left at noon and we didn’t get to Depoe Bay until 2 PM. The Hatfield Marine Science Center was closed on the day we got to Newport. Most of the stores in the Aquarium Village in Newport were closed both days we were there.
At least now we know better than to assume everything’s going to be open simply because that’s what we’re used to.
And I’m not sure if Oregon gets a lot of visitors from across the country.
Us: We’re from Toronto.
Literally everyone we met: Wow, you travelled far!
I mean, I guess? Canadians like to travel, so Oregon isn’t that far for me. I lived in Europe twice, so Oregon is a stone’s throw away in comparison.
I loved Oregon to pieces. It’s beautiful, the people are super friendly, and, although we never saw the sun once we got to the coast, we never got rained on. If you’re looking for a low-key vacation, it hits the spot!
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