Zeb Evans doesn’t do messy.
The product of a disorganized and chaotic childhood, Zeb likes order and control, and as the boss of his own employment agency he can give that to himself. Life runs along strict lines and he never mixes business with pleasure. Everything in his life lives in neat, alphabetized boxes. Until Jesse.
Jesse Reed is Zeb’s complete opposite. He’s chaos personified. A whirling cyclone of disorder. He’s also charming and funny and a very unwanted distraction.
Which is why it comes as a complete surprise to Zeb to find himself asking Jesse to pose as his boyfriend for a few days in the country at a wedding.
Zeb doesn’t do impulsive, but as the time away progresses, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the merry and irreverent Jesse. But can he bring himself to break the hard-won lessons he’s learnt in life? And even if he can, how could Jesse be attracted to him anyway? He’s so much older than Jesse, not to mention being his boss.
From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages and Finding Home series comes a warm and funny romance about one man’s fight for control and another man’s determination to circumvent it.
This is the first book in the Close Proximity series, but it can be read as a standalone.
Yay, a brand new Lily Morton series!
This first book was a bit of a loosely-tied spin-off for the London flatmates of Eli, from "Gideon (Finding Home #3)", although sadly Eli and Gideon didn't make an appearance in this story.
The book begins with a short prologue from 3 years prior, when 21 y.o. Jesse had a job interview with 41 y.o. Zeb at his very pro-LGBT "people for hire for whatever you might need" agency.
That first meeting between Jesse and Zeb was pretty funny and reminded me a bit of something that might happen with Oz from "Oz (Finding Home #1)".
When being sent out on assignments, the fact that Jesse genuinely cared about people tended to get him in (often hilarious) "situations", like the dead grandmother and Jesse's black eye, which would normally have gotten the straight-laced Zeb furious, but instead tended to amuse him endlessly. As long as the customer was happy, that is. Which with Jesse was pretty much always.
Zeb had been drawn to Jesse for the entire 3 years they'd worked together, but he'd always kept a professional distance, siting their 20 year age difference and employer/employee status, but that all began to change when Zeb needed a personal favor from Jesse.
Zeb had agreed to act as best man when Patrick, his cheating ex-of-5-years, decided to marry a woman, which had "don't even go there" written allllllll the hell over it from the start. But Zeb promised, so he was honor-bound to follow through. And Zeb needed a date for the occasion, soooo...
Most of the drama came from Patrick's less-than-honorable intentions toward Zeb, Jesse, and his soon-to-be bride. Ugh, that asshole had me looking for a flamethrower and a match, no lie.
Other than the fallout from Patrick's shenanigans, the rest of the story was pretty much drama-free, other than Zeb's warring denial of his feelings for Jesse, so the angst was kept to manageable levels, with the same in regards to steam.
I loved Max (Zeb's step-brother) and Felix (Zeb's office manager) and can't wait to read their book. We were also introduced to the other flatmate, Charlie, and his potential love interest, Misha, so I suspect those guys will be the MC's in books 2 and 3.
I'd rate this story at around 3.5 *funny-but-not-OTT-hilarious* stars and recommend it to any fans of Lily's previous books.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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