Publisher Description: “Brian Watson knows close friends Gerald Young and Dieter Krumpf have an ulterior motive when they invite him to their Christmas party. Brian has taken over the case to secure the return of the famous painting called The Woman in Blue to Dieter, but they don’t want Brian to be all work and no play. They intend to set him up with a friend, but he’s not who catches Brian’s eye. Instead, it’s Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the works already returned to Dieter.
But pursuing Nicolai won’t be easy. A year ago Nicolai had to fight to regain his independence after a bad break-up, and he’s reluctant to give up his freedom a second time. Plus, Brian has competition in Justin, Nicolai’s ex, who wants him back badly.
Nicolai’s reluctance isn’t the only roadblock. Brian was married to a woman for almost ten years. Now he has to confess to his mother, his ex-wife, and his young daughter that he loves a man—all while conducting a potentially groundbreaking court case and trying to convince Nicolai that love isn’t about co-dependence, it’s about support.”
OK, I have put off writing this review for far too long. I actually first read this novel back in December 2011, when I was just discovering m/m romance novels, and I held off on writing my review because I was trying to figure out how to classify Andrew Grey’s work. His writing fills a unique space in the world of GLBT romance writing, and when I first read him, I wasn’t sure what to make of him. Because Andrew Grey writes romances about real people who fall in love and just happen to be guys. He is the quintessential contemporary romance writer. There is no kink, no BDSM, and no crazy drama. Average people with normal jobs, who don’t have tons of hangups, who have sweet, romantic, and pretty hot, vanilla sex.
I have yet to read the other books in the (Bottled Up) series, but I am looking forward to them. I do however, think this story can stand alone. I found it to be refreshing. It was interesting to read about a main character (Nicolai) who was deaf, and watch both Brian and Nicolai learn to communicate with each other. It was also refreshing to read about a main character (Brian) who has his life together. Brian is a no-nonsense lawyer who doesn’t take any crap from anyone, including his absolute mess of an ex-wife. Brian is also an amazing father to his daughter Zoe. Not only that, but because Brian and Nicolai are healthy, well-adjusted adults, they both approach their lives with a confidence and bravery that makes the obstacles thrown in their way seem minor. Brian can’t cook, (he burns chicken nuggets repeatedly in this book), but that seems to be his only flaw.
The story does, if you’ve read it, pick up where Grey’s last book in the series Legal Artistry left off. Brian takes over for Gerald as legal counsel for the duration of Dieter’s continuing appeals process. The now partnered lovers Gerald and Dieter, are trying to reclaim four valuable paintings (including the very famous “Woman in Blue” painting that depicts Dieter’s Grandmother), that were stolen from Dieter’s family when they fled from to America to escape the Nazi’s during WWII. The appeal goes all the way to the Supreme Court, which is pretty exciting!
All in all, a lovely story. It’s wonderful to watch Brian and Nicolai fall in love, and Zoe is so precocious and adorable. A great romantic story to curl up with!