Review: The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn

Robbie Wales is young and starting a new job in a new town, on his own. Coming from a split family, he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents and came out as a teen without a lot of fuss, but his father, whom he only saw infrequently, has never known. As an adult, he’s found he’s got a lot in common with his father, and they’re finally getting to know each other. He fears coming out to his father may jeopardize that.

Then he meets Raj Williams, the attractive man in the trailer next to his father’s in a seasonal RV park. Raj is handsome, sophisticated, yet loves to fish and watch silly Disney movies.

Raj finds Robbie equally interesting. But Robbie’s still in the closet, at least in Port Stephen, and Raj’s ex used that as an excuse to treat him as nothing more than a friend with benefits. He’s not interested in a repeat experience.

Robbie finally finds the courage to come out to his father, but was it all just for a summer fling?

The first half of The Lure of Port Stephen is heavy on the horny flirtations of summer romance with boners aplenty. Robbie has come to Port Stephen to spend time with his dad and step mom and fish the idyllic waters. He and his father are not close as Robbie was raised by his mom, but they are connecting and Robbie is looking forward to their time together.

I really liked Robbie, he’s a likable young man with solid character. He just wants to spend the summer fishing and bonding. The trailer next door to his dad has a resident that is more temptation that he can handle though and Robbie’s dad doesn’t know that Robbie is gay. So Raj, the hot neighbor, and Robbie do a fair bit of subtle flirting at first, one thing leads to another and pretty soon they are swapping bodily fluids on the sly, just having a bit of fun.

We all know that fun often leads to feelings, which is a favorite trope of so many readers, me included and about the time the feelings hit is when the book became something more. Raj is a little gun shy from previous heartbreak and Robbie is inexperienced and in the closet in Port Stephen. He’s out elsewhere, but fears what will happen to the tenuous relationship he is working on with his father. Raj isn’t about to be someone’s secret so the angst that came along with the new relationship potential and the whole coming out thing made sense and kept a good balance from there on out.

I found a few of the communications odd between Robbie and his dad and Raj and his family. Like there were more things going on than what was being said and I kept waiting for some clarity that didn’t come. Robbie was about as subtle as a flying brick with his hints about his sexuality and his dad joked along with seemingly no issues. When Robbie did find the courage to say the words his dad flipped his shit a tad. I felt like his reaction would have felt more realistic if Robbie hadn’t been alluding for a while, but his dad didn’t have a lot of depth for me so I had trouble reconciling what I read with what little I knew. There was a comment about a look from Raj’s dad that I didn’t really get either, as if he were slightly surprised about Raj and Robbie being together. But it didn’t really make sense given there was no secrets about their relationship when they got to the family cabin to visit and there was no further commentary and I waited for some closure on it that didn’t happen. Dangling comments are a pet peeve of mine.

I really liked Raj and Robbie together, they were very sweet, very horny and very concerned about one another’s feelings. Which, given Raj’s past and Robbie’s age and inexperience said a fair amount for their potential future. Once these two committed to one another, the romance overflowed; these guys love the love. I was pretty convinced by that point there is a solid HEA on the horizon for Robbie and Raj at the end of the summer.

**a copy of this story was provided by the publisher for an honest review**

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