Take one shy French gardener, mix in a naughty aristocrat, add a splash of water, a dash of sunshine, and wait for love to grow.
If only it were that easy.
Reuben Costaud counts his blessings daily. His run-in with crime is firmly behind him. He has a wonderful job gardening on the Rossingley estate, a tiny cottage all to himself, an orphaned cat named Obélix, and a friendly bunch of workmates. The last thing he needs is a tall, blond aristocrat strolling across the manicured lawns towards him.
Falling in love is not part of his plan.
Viscount Aloysius Frederick Lloyd Duchamps-Avery, Freddie to his friends, is in big trouble with everyone, from his father and his modelling agency, to his controlling older boyfriend. Seeking solace and refuge, he escapes to Rossingley and his adored cousin Lucien, the sixteenth earl. To take his mind off his woes, Lucien finds him a job with the estate gardening team.
Mutual attraction blossoms amongst the gardening tools, and Freddie charms his way through Reuben’s defences. But as spring turns to summer and Freddie’s London life collides with their Rossingley idyll, Reuben’s trust in him is ruptured. Will their love flourish or is it destined for the compost bin?
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Class Differences, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Office / Workplace Romance, Opposites Attract, Smartass Twinks
Word Count: 75000
Setting: British countryside
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
“Oh, baby doll, for goodness’ sake! Please, please, please. Could we ensure this be the last time I have to put up with all of your ridiculousness?”
Disappointment is the inevitable result of a mismatch between expectation and reality. Vincent expects me to never get drunk, never embarrass him in public, and never, ever, ever vomit over his shoes outside a smart London restaurant.
The reality, of course, is that I’m a twenty-five-year-old male model. I like booze, I like to occasionally snort coke, I say stupid things in front of people I shouldn’t, and sometimes, all of those combined, lead to unexpected chundering episodes outside smart London restaurants. So, I can’t be blamed if Vincent chooses to put his burgundy Lobb penny loafers in the path of the contents of my stomach.READ MORE
I am fully cognisant of the reasons Vincent endures these occasional mishaps. Being a minor member of the aristocracy helps. In addition, my father, a well-known and respected politician, is perfectly placed to further Vincent’s own eventual political ambitions. But, most importantly, Vincent is a sucker for eye-catching arm candy. I’m not the first pretty piece of fluff he’s moved into his Belgravia apartment, but I’ve stayed the longest. While I’m definitely pretty, I also have financial independence and a first-class degree from Cambridge. Thus, he finds my company tolerable.
What’s in it for me is more complex. Despite occasional debauched one-night forgettables when I’m working abroad—to which Vincent turns a blind eye—I’m a sucker for a steady relationship. Unless I’m travelling for work, I prefer waking up in the same familiar bed each morning. I enjoy the finer things in life, such as sharing good food in decent restaurants and trips to the theatre with an educated partner.
My adorable cousin, Lucien, believes my predilection for older men comes from a deep-seated desire to be cared for, seeing as Father left that responsibility entirely to my boarding school after Mother died. According to his theory, my monogamous tendencies are an unconscious rebellion against Father’s complete lack of fidelity towards my mother. He’s probably right on both accounts, explaining how I muster a coquettish smile as I watch forty-something Vincent, in his pristine white Y-fronts and sock garters, select a double-breasted Hawes & Curtis suit from his walk-in wardrobe. Even though the zipping of his fly and the clack of one wooden coat hanger against another is enough to make my head reel and my guts threaten a repeat performanceCOLLAPSE
True loveislove on https://www.instagram.com/loveislovereview/ wrote:
Well I absolutely loved this story! We met Reuben briefly in the first book, but we get to know him in this one. Same with Freddie. Both characters have been through A LOT! From the outside they appear to be so different it’s amazing they would find anything to talk about. I absolutely loved the way Freddie realized how impressive Reuben is – overcoming all that he has with literally not ONE advantage in the world. I was having a conversation about these types of situations – where people have been through absolute horrors and nobody knows or suspects. But they have managed to persevere and overcome so much – but force of will, determination and maybe someone finally giving them a break. That’s what has happened with Reuben and he finds his passion in gardening. Freddie has had all the advantages that money can buy – but the only real support he’s ever had since he lost his mother is his beloved cousin Lucien – who has had his own horrible loss. I absolutely adored Lucien and Freddie’s relationship. Lucien and Jay are a big part of Freddie’s life and thus they become quite attached to Reuben as well. I just loved the relationships that develop between these four. Freddie’s ability to adapt and see what Reuben really needed was so heartwarming. I just wanted to hug them both! To see them both finally find love was just so beautiful. The ending is just “chef’s kiss” perfection! Highly recommend this whole series and I cannot wait for book 3!
High praise for this stunning story, I was floored!
The whole story is so preciously delicate created, my heart couldn’t handle it at times.
Frederick, fully title and name are Viscount Aloysius Frederick Lloyd Duchamps-Avery, also known as Freddie, is an educated guy, an international top model, and living an exclusive life of fashion, parties, bubbles, and more.
He’s in a dull relationship with an older guy who’s awfully controlling and unspontaneous, like planned sex three times a week. He’s way too old fashion for Freddie’s free spirit. Both his father and boyfriend are manipulating him into a place he doesn’t belong and are always deeply disappointed in him.
At some point, Freddie escapes when he reaches the point enough is enough!
He’s warmly welcomed at the Rossingley estate by cousin Lucien. It’s his only refuge and quite different from his sparkling life in the big cities.
Thanks to Lucien Avery, the sixteenth Earl of Rossingley, (omg you MUST read about him in the glorious story To Hold a Hidden Pearl) Freddie even finds a job with the gardening team of the estate.
Reuben is a Frenchman working as a gardener on the land of the Rossingley estate. He has done ten years in prison. He’s quite content with his little cottage and his cat Obélix. He’s shy and introverted and loves his quiet evenings alone, reading or writing. His cottage is the only real home he ever had, it’s old and super small, but it’s his home.
Gardening with Freddie is something special, the man is stunningly beautiful.
Freddie is alone, most of the time dismissed by his haughty father who thinks of him as .... inconvenient, troublesome, and embarrassing.
Besides his work as a model, he hasn’t had a clue what to do with his life.
But now gardening with Reuben, gosh, he’s swooning by Reuben’s French accent, can’t get enough of it.
Throughout the story we get peeks into the men’s lives, and every time a layer is peeled off, the picture gets clearer how things really are. There are heartbreaking moments, my heart cracked.
They have so much story and so much to tell.
It’s an extremely catching narrative, feelings all over.
This author rises higher and higher on the ladder of my special and favorite authors!
The writing is exquisite, it’s all written in an absolutely breathtaking and mesmerizing way. The characters are extraordinary with so many different lovable characteristics it’s top work in the category of character development.
I adored Freddie, in all the ways possible. When he’s drunk he’s so silly,
Overall, no overall, I can’t put it in one sentence!
An extremely elegantly written romance, with breathtaking, heartwarming characters and a beautiful extraordinary, solid plot. The very last part gave me thick goosebumps and blurry eyes.
PS: If possible, do read To Hold a Hidden Pearl
PPS it’s not necessary but you’ll miss an extraordinary story and miss the opportunity to meet darling Lucien and his protective Jay, and thát would be a shame!