Review: The Veranda (Lavender Shores #3) by Rosalind Abel

Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life, but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.
Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then, he met his pregnant fiancĂ©e’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.
A decade later, after a divorce and crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years. The problem is, those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high.

Once again, Rosalind Abel has written a beautiful story about love, life and the pursuit of happiness without any messy drama or stupid miscommunication angst getting in the way.  Hooray!  I will sing this author's praises til the cows come home for that.

For those of you who have been keeping up with this series, The Veranda is Donovan and Spencer's story.  Donovan we know from The Garden, Gilbert and Walden's story (otherwise known as Book Two).  Donovan is Lavender Shores's resident therapist.  He knows everyone's secrets and has helped many of the town's people through their hard times, most notably talking Gilbert from the edge.  He's older, wiser, quiet and unassuming.  But, he's been harboring his own secret for nearly ten years now.

You see, Donovan is and has been for quite some time, in love with his sister's husband.  Sure, it's unrequited but that doesn't make it any less real.  It was love at first sight that was never acted upon and there's no hope for it to ever become anything more, even if his sister's divorce is now final.  You can't turn a straight man gay; life is not a M/M romance novel, after all.

After a chance encounter at a Pride party, Donovan may have to rethink the past ten years of his life.  Turns out, Spencer may have been harboring a secret of his own.

I really enjoyed getting to know these two men and watching their journey together.  I always love it when I get a story with characters who are older than the normal twenty-two year olds that are in most stories of this genre.  I'm in my early forties with kids who are the same age as most of those characters and it kinda weirds me out to read about the sexcapades of what I consider to be barely adults.

Donovan has a good head on his shoulders and isn't prone to drama.  I really liked that about him.  I loved Spencer more though.  Spencer is a man who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to go after it.  He's got his second chance in life and he doesn't squander it.  He's not repressed but he isn't wild either.  No mid-life crisis for this man!  He's not out to anyone other than his parents and his ex-wife yet but he's working towards it.  I wouldn't say he's closeted, really.  He's got his kids to think about.  He doesn't want to do anything that will hurt them, especially since the divorce is so recent.  Once he makes up his mind, though, hot damn!  He's direct and assertive and, holy cannoli is that some kind of hotness right there!

"I'm not a kid, Donovan.  I'm thirty-nine, a damn good lawyer, a father of two, and I know what I want.  I've known what I've wanted for a long, long time.  Just because I didn't allow myself to have it or act on it doesn't mean I wasn't certain of it."

I've said it before but it bears repeating:  what I love most about this story, this series and this author is the communication.  There's no running away, no miscommunication and no Big Misunderstanding to be found in any of these books.  The characters actually talk to each other; tell each other how they feel.  Communication is so damned sexy!

I love all of the characters in this series.  It was great to see everyone again.  I have fallen in love not only with these two men, but this town and all of it's inhabitants.  Except Erica.  She can take a long walk off a short pier.  That woman has Issues (yes, that's capitalized, because reasons).  She could use a good dose of therapy.  Maybe Donovan could hook her up with a colleague or two.  Or four.  She really needs it.  Bratty woman is bratty.


  1. Awesome review. I'm adding it to my ever growing TBR! :-)

    1. Thanks! I hope you love it as much as I did!. :)