Jude is a highly successful model, but a very reluctant one. His life is full of casual hook-ups with pretty men in glamorous locations, but it’s still empty. However, circumstances decreed a long time ago that this was his path, so he’s resolutely stayed on it and accepted his fate with good grace. He made a deal with himself and his hook-ups. Get in, get out and no ties with anyone.
However, an accident at home one night leads to him making a new deal and accepting the offer of help from an unlikely source. It leads to an unexpected summer of falling in love with a larger than life man and his child.
But by the end of the summer his reasons for not staying are still valid. Will he turn away? Can he?
Asa is a talented actor who has spent time away from the scene to look after his son. But now he’s back, and the last thing he needs are complications from the gorgeous man who is staying with him. Scarred from too many betrayals, he has no intention of forming a lasting tie with anyone. However, he can’t resist the beautiful man with secrets, and to his horror he develops feelings.
But a deal’s a deal and they said it was just for the summer. What can Asa do with a man who has forever in his eyes and goodbye on his lips?
Comment: This is the second installment in the Missed Messages trilogy by author Lily Morton. I liked the first book a lot and it was no problem find the will to try this one as well, therefore I added it to my reading list of September.
In this story we focus on Jude, he is a close friend of one of the protagonists of the first book. Jude works as a model and is known by those who don't really know him personally as being fickle in his relationships and careless about his surroundings.
That is why that he decides to play a trick on someone. Due to a problem in his apartment he is told of a possible place to stay in the house of the stepbrother of his on an off lover Dean. Jude then goes to the house of Asa Jacobs (apparently a famous actor) and is immediately considered vain and silly after saying he works as a model. He decides to play that part while staying to help Asa as a PA to cover his staying there.
Of course this only happens because he feels attracted to Asa and doesn't want to look like he is a doormat. What he didn't cont on was not only that Asa might be attracted to him to and that the house feels more like home than anything else ever...
Perhaps my little summary isn't very informative but let me tell you that this plot makes all sense and the story develops in a very believable pace. Yes, there are a few scenes/situations I wasn't very fond of because they felt like they were a little too sugary but it's not that annoying overall.
The real beauty of this novel is the slightly slow burn romance (it felt like so to me) and the cute relationships developed between Jude and the other members of Asa's house.
From the beginning we learn that Jude has something he hides and that often he uses as tool to not let anyone coming to close emotionally. He obviously had a bad experience in the past and now judges all by that. One might say this is unfair but it's quite realistic even for those who don't act like this aware of it. However, despite understanding the issue I think it wasn't reason for such secrecy and it's only "acceptable" because of Jude's profession and the expectations met with it. I'm glad, though, that the romance only tackled this more towards the end because, honestly, the end was way too sugary in this regard.
Asa is an interesting character, very quirky in his way but with baggage too, quite serious. I liked how devoted he was to his son and those who were loyal to him. He had a serious relationship that didn't end well and I can understand the difficulties of dealing with it, especially when someone very close in looks and apparent lifestyle comes along. This allowed for interesting scenes between him and Jude but ll things considered I expected a little more thought to things. I'm definitely glad with the fact they only became intimate closer to the last part of the book - for me this is a good way for the sex to not be used as a tool to fill up pages.
As one can imagine, most of the interactions between the protagonists were cute and funny and later on, romantic and poignant. It was also amazing to see how Jude felt with Asa'a son and the people who worked in Asa's house. We also see the previous protagonists make appearances and there a few more secondary characters playing an important part. It does sound as if the story is too crowded but I think the author did a good job exploiting several issues in relation to several different people. It all makes sense.
Like I said, the end is a little too much for me. Too detailed in terms of sugar effect... I mean things happen in a very unlikely way in my opinion, no matter how sweet. But it's quite heartwarming to read about, yes. I liked this anyway and will read the last book too.