Liam Wade married his pregnant best friend to give her and her baby financial stability and the protection of his wealthy family's name. Sadly, she passed away mere days after the baby was born, leaving him a single dad. Now, three years later, Liam believes his daughter needs the influence of a mother in her life. To provide that for her, he became engaged to a woman who is the perfect social hostess for a man of his stature and someone of whom his family approves. However, Liam is hiding two very important secrets. First, he became an attorney to please his father by joining the family law firm, but deep down, he is an artist at heart and would much rather be out taking pictures than cooped up in a stuffy courtroom or tied to his desk. His second and biggest secret is that he's gay. Needing to get away and do some soul-searching before his wedding day, Liam books a trip to a resort in Southern California. He hopes to make peace with his chosen path and perhaps find a hot guy to share one night of erotic bliss to get it out of his system before walking down the aisle, but he didn't expect to find the one man who could change his entire outlook on life.
Micah Anderson is a vintner, visiting the same resort for a winemakers' convention. Every year, his sisters, who are co-owners of the family winery, book this trip for him, thinking he needs to find a man for some hot sex. They don't seem to understand that Micah is more of a relationship guy, who isn't really into quick hook-ups. On his first day there, he meets the gorgeous Liam while taking a walk on the beach. After running into each other a few more times, the pair go on a couple of relaxing, romantic dates together. Micah knows that Liam has the hots for him, but he refuses to let things between them spiral out of control. Eventually, Liam persuades him to give in to the attraction, but he won't be rushed into something quick and dirty. When he takes the time to passionately make love to Liam, it scares the other man to death, because he wasn't looking for tenderness that feels more like a relationship. Can Micah convince Liam that things can be different between them than he's ever experienced before, and if he can, will Liam be able to stand up to his controlling father and take a chance on creating a new family with Micah?
One Night is a sweet M/M romance novella about two men from disparate walks of life who serendipitously meet at a vacation resort while each of them is there for very different reasons. One is attending a winemakers' convention, while the other is there doing some soul-searching before entering into a marriage of convenience with a woman who his family views as the perfect choice for him from a social standpoint. They spend a few romantic days and one steamy night together before circumstances come between them, leaving them with some very important decisions to make about the future.
Liam is a very sweet beta hero who is confused and vulnerable. Three years earlier, he had married his pregnant best friend since childhood to give her and her baby the protection and stability of his family's name and wealth. She died mere days after the baby was born, leaving him a grieving single father. He loves his little girl more than anything in the world, so much so that he is about to enter into another marriage of convenience, thinking that his daughter needs a mother in her life. His fiancée is a woman who is socially and financially perfect for him on paper, but he doesn't love her. In an attempt to provide all the best things for his daughter and please his family, he became an attorney. He works long hours in the family law firm and doesn't see his little girl as much as he would like. Deep down, Liam is an artist at heart, who would much rather be out taking photographs than toiling away behind a desk or in a courtroom. Mere weeks before his wedding, he decides to take a vacation, during which he hopes to clear his head of all the confusion. Liam knows he's gay, but he doesn't have much experience at being gay. He's still in the closet, because of his fear over what his semi-famous family will think of him. Liam experimented with gay sex a bit in college, but he hasn't been with anyone since. He wants to find a guy who's amenable to a one night stand, thinking it will help get it out of his system, so that he can go through with his wedding. Because of his past experiences with sex, he's very confused about what gay sex is. He thinks it's supposed to be nothing more than quick and dirty with no tenderness and no commitments, and because of where he's at in his life, he believes that's what he wants. With that being the case, when Micah tries to take things slower and actually make love, it's scares him. Liam was an amazing guy to do what he did for his best friend, but since losing her, he hasn't really had any friends. He's a shy guy who doesn't make friends easily, so when Micah comes along, he finds himself longing for that type of connection again but afraid to take the necessary leap to have it. Liam's vulnerability over his sexuality was very touching, and I think Micah was the perfect person to help him sort things out. When Liam finally stood up to his parents and decided to take control of his life, I was cheering him on.
Micah is a well-adjusted gay man with strong family ties. He and his two sisters own and run the family winery business which he's been in charge of since their parents died when he was only eighteen. As such, he's a very responsible guy, who's something of a control freak and a bit of a wine snob. His sisters always insist on sending him on a trip to California each year to attend a winemakers' conference. Like Liam, Micah has his own introverted side. He hates being the public face of the family business and is much more at home in his role of vintner. He prefers growing the grapes and making the wine over giving tours of the winery or schmoozing with his competitors at the convention. When he meets Liam by chance on the beach one day, the attraction is instant and palpable. Part of the reason Micah's sisters sent him on the trip is because they think he needs to find a hot guy and have some equally hot sex, but that isn't really Micah's game. I loved that he was a relationship guy who wasn't into meaningless sex. The way he took care of Liam when he got drunk and refused to sleep with him while he was in that state was sweet and showed him to be a real gentleman. He really likes Liam and wants to give him far more than the other man seems to be looking for.
One Night is a fairly short novella that takes place over only about a week's time. I liked that the author took things slowly though, and allowed Liam and Micah a little time to get to know each other. They spend some really good quality time together, doing some very romantic things, before falling into bed. Even then Micah was a little hesitant, but Liam's overt sexual overtures and overall hotness proved a bit too much for him to resist. Still, I liked that he stuck around afterward even though Liam was trying his best to push him away. Of course, some unexpected circumstances temporarily tear them apart, while Liam makes up his mind about his life. Then they share a sweet reunion, which left the door open for a happy future for them together. Some readers may have to suspend disbelief to buy into the notion of these two men knowing they were meant for one another and Liam making the sort of life changes he did after having only spent a few days together, but it was just so tender and romantic, I didn't have much trouble. I really loved this story and almost gave it 4.5 stars. The only thing that held me back is that the ending, while somewhat satisfying, felt like it happened too soon. I would have loved to see Liam and Micah have a deeper reunion moment, and I would have loved to read more about them as a couple.
The other thing that knocked off half a star was that the story could have used a little better editing. There were lots of places where more contractions were needed, particularly in dialog, and some of the longer sentences should have been broken up to make things flow better. There were also a few spots, the ending included, where it would have been nice if things had been written out in more detail. I think this would have added even more depth to the story. The author had a tendency to skim over certain things, engaging in a bit of telling rather than showing. However, I did just discover that Ms. Scott apparently has gotten back the publishing rights to her stories that were previously released by Silver Publishing, one of which was One Night. She added to the content of the book before republishing it herself. For readers who purchased an old copy of the book put out by Silver, she is offering a free digital replacement copy that includes the updated material. I wish I had realized this before reading it, because she may have fixed some of the things I had issues with. If I discover that she has, I will update my review. In the meantime though, One Night was still a very enjoyable read that I would recommend to fans of the M/M genre who like sweeter stories.
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