Sunday, January 13, 2019

Gnarly (World of Love) by Mickie B. Ashling


Dr. Ed Hollingsworth, widowed for five years, returns to San Sebastián, Spain, after a thirty-year absence. He seeks out his first and only male lover, pro surfer Javi Elizalde.

After surviving a near-fatal shark attack, Javi turned his back on the sport he loves and became a recluse.

Iker Lizaso, professional jai alai player, finds himself at loose ends now that his contract has expired. Forced to retire at thirty-eight, he returned to his home in the Basque Country to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

Three different men, encumbered by their past, converge in a city famous for its food, summer festivals, and romantic promenades. Can they find happiness together? It’ll be difficult, maybe even improbable, considering their backgrounds, but Cupid’s arrow usually hits the mark, and this particular strike might be epic.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

My Rating - 4 Stars!

When I start a book, I try to not look at the blurb, so I go into it with no clue what I'm about to read. (I read the blurbs when I buy a book or request an ARC. I'm not that crazy. lol) Thus, Gnarly, by Mickie B Ashling, is nothing like I was expecting.

From the cover, I certainly wasn't expecting a menage romance, but, luckily, that is exactly what I got. 

I found the beginning to be a little awkward, as the author packs in so much background information. There's the description of Ed and Javi's relationship 30 years ago and Ed's years since. Once we are all caught up and start with the present, the story really grabbed my interest.  

Ed left Spain 30 years ago, and hasn't spoken to Javi since, but he's back trying to find him. The Javi he finds is a mere shell of the man he used to be. Back then, Javi was a surfer and he went on to become famous. But, now, he's a depressed, washed up has-been, after losing his foot to a shark. 

With Ed's visit, and strong words, Javi is inspired to live again. Ed's able to jumpstart Javi's life again, as Javi realizes he's still got things to appreciate in this life, mainly Ed.

But there's also fear. As much as he's happy to have Ed back, he's terrified that Ed will leave again. He's still hurt from the 30 years of silence.

The changes in Javi from the beginning to the end are amazing. I absolutely came to love Javi. He's so insightful and so loving. And the strength in his love for Ed is stellar. 

One of my favorite parts is the cuddling between Ed and Javi. Honestly, it's so damn sweet and tender. 

Now, add in Iker, who's a much younger lifeguard and things get more interesting. The way the addition of Iker is handled is unique and completely impressive. I certainly never expected any of it. And I found it romantic and enchanting. 

Gnarly is an impressive tale of facing your fears and overcoming challenges. It's a second chance story, not just of love, but also life. 

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