Review: The Unlikely Prospect (States of Love) by Lex Chase

In Prospect Harbor, Maine, lobsterman Harper Cook has always loved the sea. He and his two brothers work the harbor waters, in a fishing village of one thousand where everybody knows everybody else’s business and nobody wants to be different.

When it’s time for the annual Men of Maine pinup calendar, Harper’s brothers eagerly volunteer him. Harper isn’t thrilled to bare it all to raise money for an elementary school playground—until he meets out-and-proud Los Angeles out-a-statah Sean Blackburn: the highly available first-grade teacher with Hollywood heartthrob looks.

Harper has no desire to ever stand out from the crowd, but Sean persists and earns Harper’s friendship. Through Sean, Harper opens up to new possibilities. Things get steamy, but Harper still protects his heart. Though the right pressure in the right place might crack even a loner lobsterman out of his shell.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Like shedding lobsters, it was time for Harper Cook to come out of his shell.

Harper Cook is a simple man, he lives in a small simple Maine town working on his family’s boat as a lobsterman. Harper is a man who is loyal to his family and when his brother Joe signs him up for the Men of Maine Calendar to raise money for a new playground at his niece's school, Harper agrees. When his brother tells him that he’ll have to go see the new 1st grade teacher who is putting the calendar together and I who is “like” Harper, he gets frustrated. When Harper learns that he’ll be Mr. December in the calendar and that he’ll be sporting his birthday suit… well Harper doesn’t back down.

I adored Harper. He’s a good man but socially awkward in the most endearing way. I loved being in his head as he accepted yet wrestled with his sexuality. From his dreams of love at first sight to his “high school hormones” and vast amounts of conditioner he goes through, Harper is a 40 year old man who has never explored his sexuality… with another man. BUT when he meets Sean Blackburn, the 1st grade teacher and wrangler of the Men of Maine calendar, Harper decides to open up and see where things go.

Harper Cook never had a damned thing to be embarrassed about. As far as anyone knew, anyway. His mumma—God bless her resting soul—she’d taken his quiet ways as dignity instead of awkward shyness. He’d open up when it was time.

Sean was a fantastic character. He’s so patient and accepting with Harper that you can’t help but fall for him and fall fast. Their trip out on the boat was so much fun. From Sean posting pics of Harper to what happens before they get rescued, I was on board and ready for more. Sean, he sees Harper and gets not only his awkwardness but that Harper is a virgin and needs a few lessons… yep, lessons.

“You’re fascinating,” Sean said, and Harper met his gaze in confusion. “Don’t think I don’t see it.”

Harper's brothers really are amazing. I loved how Joe gave him the push by saying Harper would do the calendar and basically set up his brother with Sean. The scene after the rather detailed lobster cracking (a bit that I skimmed because my stomach and heart couldn’t take it) when Danny and Joe show up and how they instantly included Sean in the ribbing warmed my heart. They are always in the corner of their brother and only want the best for him.

Yeah, this was sweet story and also, sexy as hell! *whistles* What Sean and Harper get up to; what Sean does, what he makes Harper ask for and what Harper needs was nothing short of sexy. Sean has a dirty mouth and even Harper has a few moments. But again, while it was really sexy there was so much intimacy and emotion that felt so true for the romance.

This book is a sort of sexual coming of age with a 40 year old man and it’s wonderful. Not only the exploration of Harper and his sexuality but the character exploration of Harper as a man with a creative mind. Goodness, I am rambling.

I will just say, I have the biggest, cheesiest and sappiest look/grin on my face from that end. What a wonderful and romantic way to end a story about two men with such character finding their way to one another. Just… perfect. Le sigh.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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