I've had this book a while and keep squirreling off to other things so when book 2 came out I was motivated.
'At Your Service' started out really well for me. It was Paris, a book conference, dinner with the boss/friend, a hot waiter and some hot sex in the city of love...how could this not end with love? Maybe if at the end of it all there's an ocean between the two people in question?
Anthony lives in North Carolina and he's only in Paris for a few days to attend a book fair on business. When he and his boss enter Au coeur du terroir looking for good food and a relaxing environment to enjoy their meal in, meeting Paul Delescluse is not on his list of expectations and having sex with him and waking up in his bedroom isn't even on his radar much less an expectation but that's exactly what happens again and again and again until 5 days have passed and Anthony needs to return to his real life an ocean away.
Paul's just looking for sex, hot steamy, take him out of his head sex and the man who enters his family restaurant where he works and who just happens to be sitting at a table in his section pushes all the right buttons for him and if his instincts are right and he's sure they are, he's not only interesting, he's interested in what Paul has to offer. So no harm no foul, right? A little bit of steamy sex, a few days of enjoying each other's company and then everyone walks away happy, right?
But what happens when feelings get involved? A long distance friendship, of course. Anthony's been burned once by a long distance relationship and ironically one of the things that he and Paul agree on is the fact that Paul's probably not the best candidate for relationship material much less a long distance relationship.
I loved the way this relationship developed. What was suppose to just be a one or two or five night stand became a long distance friendship as neither Anthony nor Paul really wanted to give up the relationship that started in Paris, but neither was willing to ask for more than friendship. It's during the building of their friendship that both men begin to realize that their attraction to each other goes beyond the boundaries of mere friendship. When Anthony is sent back to Paris on business both men continue to remain determined to keep things on a friends only basis...or at least they try.
Where this story lost me was when Anthony returned to Paris. I felt like Paul had a personality change at this point. He seemed to be needy and even clingy in his own way. Suddenly he was someone who couldn't seem to survive spending a night alone without it becoming a traumatic event and maintaining a monogamous relationship became a herculean task for him. Honestly I never really got this part of the story. I was ok with the fact that Paul didn't have relationships so much as hook-ups before Anthony came along. That he suddenly became this clingy, needy person was just more drama than I felt was needed. I can handle a bit of insecurity on the part of one or both partners but this seemed like it was a permanent, forever thing that was never going to go away and no matter how long they're together it's something that they're always going to be dealing with and that just didn't work for me. In the end what started out as easily being a 4 or even 5 star read for me became 3 slightly lackluster stars of neediness.
But to end this on a positive note I love this cover. It totally has the feel of Paris and romance about it.