Pascal Larocque, a waiter at a high-end Montréal restaurant, knows what it means to love—and he knows what it means to lose. He buried the man he expected to spend his life with years ago. He’s perfectly happy with his solitude, or so he tells his friends. But a chance encounter in a neighborhood bar followed by a run-in at his apartment building turns his world upside down.
Mathias Perras is twenty-four, newly arrived in Montréal, and works two jobs so he can live on rue Sainte-Catherine in the heart of the gay district. During the day, he’s on a fast track to management at the Banque de Montréal. At night, he waits tables at a gay bar down the street. He’s burning the candle at both ends, but it will be worth it when his career takes off and he has the life he’s always dreamed of. When he meets Pascal, one more piece of that dream slots into place. Pascal is everything he wants in a lover: older, self-assured, established in his life and his career. But Pascal doesn’t look at him twice. What’s a boy have to do to get a little action?
Where else besides Paris can you find good food, sexy men and steamy romance...
MONTREAL!!! Of course. As you've probably guessed if you didn't already know this. I'm Canadian and I love Montreal...actually, I love Quebec in general it's a beautiful province.
I'm going to start with what I didn't like...or more accurately what I thought I wouldn't like about this book...the age difference...that's right, I'm not a fan of this and in this story it was considerable, but please notice I said 'I thought I wouldn't like it'. Admittedly I'm still not a fan of stories with a big age difference but if it's handled right I can still enjoy the story and I was good with how the author handled this. I felt that for as much as Mathias appreciated Pascal's maturity and experience, Pascal appreciated Mathias's vibrancy and enthusiasm for life.
So, now we move onto the rest of what I liked...
Pascal is a waiter at a high end restaurant and he likes his job. He takes pride in what he does and he does it well. So I'm going to just stop here and say this alone made me a fan of Pascal. I loved reading a story where it was ok that one of the MCs was just an average guy doing a job that is so often overlooked and undervalued. Honestly that was what attracted me to this series in the first place the fact that for me it felt like a tribute to a part of the workforce that is highly under appreciated.
Mathias is in banking he's on the fast track training for a management position but in the mean time he's got bills to pay so he works as a waiter at a local gay bar to enable himself to live in on rue Sainte-Catherine because like it or not when you're in a profession such as banking 'image matters'.
As coincidence would have it these two men live in the same apartment building. Two men, with a considerable age gap between them, at different stages in their lives and yet both wanting the same thing...someone to share their lives with.
Pascal had that once and then he lost it when the man he loved died. He's learned to be content with life as it is or he was until Mathias came along. Watching as these two juggled their conflicting schedules and maneuvered their own insecurities and that of the other was quite the challenge. I loved that they talked and yes, there was some miscommunication so they talked some more because in life that's what can happen. Things get said that seem clear to you and are clear as mud to the other person...so you keep talking and eventually you get to the make up sex...hot, steamy make up sex. Ironically though the best part of this romance was in their conversations. Seeing them get to know each other and find out about each other. I loved that it never felt like Pascal had an attitude of always being right because he was the older one in the relationship and if Mathias made a mistake that came from his youth or lack of experience Pascal neither embarrassed nor chastised him for it he simply acknowledged that when we are young we all make such mistakes and moved on.
Oops, I almost forgot one of the other things I really, really loved about this book the friends. Both of these men had friends who wanted them to be happy, who saw that they made each other happy and encouraged them to pursue the relationship because that's what friends do. When they see that something is good for you the support you and encourage you to pursue it because they're your friend and they want you to be happy.
'Service With A Smirk' for me was so much better than the first book in this series and both of these books can very easily be read as a standalone.
An ARC of 'Service With A Smirk' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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