Title: As the Sun Sets
Author: R.J. Jones
Release Date: 24th February, 2017
Length: 152 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A sea change could be just what the doctor ordered.
Doctor Scott Penney used to be a Paediatric Oncologist—until he burned out. Watching children suffer and die took its toll on his mental health. To cope, he used anonymous sex as an emotional crutch, thinking it was better than hitting the bottle. But that inevitably destroyed his relationship with the man he loved.
With his tail between his legs and a year’s worth of celibacy under his belt, Scott accepts a position as an Accident and Emergency consultant, leaving his career in oncology and London behind.
Ben Jenkins is a paediatric nurse who loves his seaside city, his job, and his faithful old Labrador, Happy. When he meets the new doctor, Ben falls for Scott’s kind-yet-reserved personality—not to mention his good looks. Scott is great with the children who come through the hospital, but Ben senses there’s more to Scott than meets the eye.
Scott tries to resist Ben’s sunny charm—Scott’s not boyfriend material, after all—but it’s impossible not to fall in love with the sad looking old dog and his charming owner. As Scott and Ben get closer and the weather heats up, tragedy strikes and Ben is left wondering how much of Scott’s history he actually knows.
For them to move forward, Ben must show Scott that no matter what happened in the past, a beautiful day can always start after the sun sets.
**This can be read as a standalone**
My old Labrador, Happy, followed me everywhere I went. We’d been inseparable since day one. So when I opened the front door after work, it was inevitable he’d be sitting in the front room, wagging his tail and waiting for me to get changed into my runners. Happy didn’t run as far anymore—twelve was old for a Lab—but he was content to lie on the shore and wait for me to come back from my jog up the beach. By the time I returned, Happy had regained his breath and we took a slower pace home.
“You ready to hit the beach, buddy? I’ll be back in a sec.” I ruffled his ears as I kicked the door closed behind me, then took the stairs two at a time to get changed. When I’d laced up my running shoes, we set off towards the sea.
I’d thought of leaving him at home when I ran, but the vet had given him a clean bill of health, saying Happy would probably live for a few years yet. Happy knew when he couldn’t go any further, so when he collapsed in his usual spot on our run, I gave him a quick glance to make sure he was okay, then set off at a faster pace towards the marina.
For the past few days, I’d seen someone patting and talking to Happy, but the guy had always walked away when he saw me coming. At first I thought he’d been planning on dognapping him, but after the first couple of days I saw him, I realised he was harmless. He was just saying hello to an old dog. It wouldn’t have been the first time someone had tried to take him, but when Happy didn’t want to go somewhere, there was no moving him. He’d plant his butt and not move. If anyone tried, he’d bite them. The last guy had to have stitches in his arm. This behavioural trait was the reason why Happy hadn’t made the cut with the guide dogs.
I never got a good look at Happy’s new friend; he always left before I got too close. I had a feeling he wasn’t the kind to chitchat, and to be honest, I was always sweaty and exhausted by the time I made it back to Happy anyway.
But today when the man walked away, I thought I recognised him. Tall and lean, he had his head down and hands stuffed into his jacket pockets as he strode towards the steps that would take him to the road. He looked familiar, at least his back did, but I had no idea where I’d seen him before.
Scott’s heartbreaking career in oncology burnt him out and went a long way to ruining his relationship with Noah (from Book #1 in the series). I struggled to understand why Scott had turned to anonymous hook-ups rather than the partner he loved. But it seems Noah wasn’t capable of providing the support and comfort Scott needed at the time. But that’s okay. Noah has moved on and it’s clear they were not meant to be. That might sound ruthless and, for a time, Scott suffered because of his actions.
Scott is alone and broken when he starts afresh in Brighton and meets Ben and his dog, Happy. A change of scenery, a new medical focus, and friendly colleagues are just what he needs. I adored Ben! He is such a lovely guy and although he falls for Scott, he is a friend first and foremost and gives Scott the time and space he needs. Their romance is a slow-build, but in the process they get to know each other better. I loved how the dog brings them together. But life is not all plain-sailing in Brighton. Scott has more decisions to make regarding his career and an unwelcoming family to deal with.
I’m really enjoying this series of stories set in the UK and reading how each set of couples fall in love. This one is my favourite so far. Scott and Ben are well-developed and caring characters and that shines through in this story. Their scenes together are a joy to read. I loved Ben’s rainbow accessories and the way he deals with the children at the hospital. His mum is also a fun and vibrant personality.
Kudos to RJ for tackling two sensitive issues in this story and producing an uplifting romance through them. RJ’s writing style is engaging and the storyline and compelling characters keep you turning the pages.
Trigger warning: some readers might find the references to child cancer disturbing. Scott’s cheating occurred before this story begins so that might be more acceptable to readers who avoid cheating storylines.
Available on Kindle Unlimited
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RJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
RJ’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn’t shut up. They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.
Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.
She is surrounded by males.
RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.
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