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Happy by Chris Scully
Release Date: March 30, 2016
Pages: 147 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspinner • Amazon • ARe
Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.
When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.
As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.
Chris Scully is an author I have come to associate with comfort, a really sexy comfort. Her stories are so easy to slip into and fall in love with the characters, and Happy did just that for me.
What would that be like? To do what you wanted? What made you happy?
We meet Peter as he is struggling at a party, he is struggling with life decisions and struggling to not perv on his best friends as they make out under a window. You see, Peter is not out to anyone in his social circle, his family or even to his girlfriend. Yup, you read that right, Peter has a girlfriend who he has zero sexual interest in but their Greek mothers set them up and when you are a good boy… sigh.
We get to meet Louie soon after as his sister, and Peter’s “girlfriend” ask him for a favor… to pick up Peter from said party. The best thing about Louie? He used to crush hard on Peter in High School and when he sees adult Peter, the crush comes back full force.
I adored the hell out of Peter and Louie. I loved that there was an instant attraction but Louie figured Peter for straight, I mean he IS dating his sister, and that Peter had to deny the attraction to Louie for a number of reasons. None of the reasons I was happy with, because they were so cute from the get go, but happy is the name of this book and I would wait for us all to get there.
Louie, how could I not love a man who still holds unrequited love for the sexy football player from high school with the mullet? That description of Peter could well be MY husband in high school, complete with a mullet and holding the attention of boys and girls as he strutted his stuff on the field. But Louie, his crush on adult Peter is swoon worthy though maddening because Louie thinks Peter is with his sister and you don’t crush on your sister’s boyfriend, unless…
You know how it can be with family—they mean well, but sometimes you get so tangled up in it, in what they want, that you can’t ever get free.
I get that some readers will not understand Peter’s choices though for me, they weren’t that overly dramatic. I guess it’s my self-proclaimed love for boys in the closet that make it not a big deal for me but I adored Peter. I loved being in his head as he tried to figure out a way to be himself and not hurt his family. I am married to man whose family is not as dramatic as Peter’s Greek one but still a family that loves their ethnic traditions and attempt to demand the family live as per the “rules”. So, I got that too with Peter coming home after his father’s heart attack, leaving the life he was building for himself to take care of his family, to do what is expected and what is right. Ugh. I respected him for that because it takes a strong person to do so, a coward would stay away and not deal with it at all. I loved that there was character growth with Peter, that he took chances and that when it meant something to him, when he found someone who meant enough to him, the laid it all on the line and took a chance.
ACK! I loved seeing Adam and Joe again. It took me a bit to realize exactly who they were though I spent the each moment they came on page thinking, “Why do they seem SO familiar?” and then it hit me. Inseparable was my first book from Chris Scully and I was thrilled that Adam and Joe showed up and that they are still so damn in love with one another.
Happy is a moderately angsty love story about two men who have both left their lives to come home and start over in one way or another. There is a line from The Wizard of Oz that kept playing in my head as I read Louie and Peter deal with their romance and while these two live a few blocks away, the sweet sentiment is present in this story and it has made me on hell of a happy reader.
If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there….then I never really lost it to begin with.
–Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz