Title: Looking for Adventure
Author: Valentina Heart
Characters: Jonathan Morgan, Nino Herc
POV: Mult. 1st person
Sub-Genre – Contemporary Romance
Book Cover Rating: 4
After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Jonathan looks back on his career-focused life and sees nothing but empty years behind him. His desire for success has left him without a single happy memory, and completely alone. While shocked by the news of his medical condition, he stumbles into Nino: a man without a steady job, without a permanent home and as happy as a person can be. On the spur of the moment they set off to an adventure by the sea, with good food, loads of sun, and rising attraction. Only both hide secrets from each other as they fight against the sparks that keep on lighting the flames.
This is a delightful bon-mot of a summer beach read. The plot is light and character-focused, and the dark tinge of angst never becomes a serious storm. Valentina Heart is a solid writer with a lot of enthusiasm that shows through.
From the first, it is pretty clear that Jonathan Morgan’s medical diagnosis is either a mistake or something that will turn out to be benign, but that is not really giving much away because the story is really about Jonathan coming to terms with his mortality, and discovering how to be happy. It is a lesson he needed a death sentence to learn, though, because his entire lonely life until that point was focused on his law firm, money, and social success. We only get a glimpse of that part of Jonathan’s life, but it is bleak one; he is a self-centered, arrogant man who is impatient with others and lives in an apartment that is almost soulless.
After his diagnosis, Jonathan literally runs into Nino Herc, who is a bike messenger, or is until Jonathan knocks him off his bike. Something clicks between the two men, driven by Jonathan’s desperation to find some meaning to his life or at least a shred of happiness before he dies. Jonathan does not consider himself gay, in fact it is safe to say he spent most of life not particularly interested in relationships at all, so he doesn’t twig to the immediate attraction between them until much later.
Jonathan offers Nino a job as his personal assistant for the summer, and on the spur of the moment decides to spend the season at an island villa near the beach. As Jonathan lets loose to the theme song “Looking for Adventure” the two men slowly fall in love. At first, Jonathan is oblivious but he eventually figures it out, and willingly goes into his first sexual relationship with a man in the spirit of adventure. Heart gets to the sex fairly quickly, but the relationship itself remains a slow build throughout the story, which I really liked.
There are misunderstandings and miracles and a lot of sex, but at the heart of the story are the two wonderful characters Jonathan and Nino. Nino is a loving free spirit with a sad history who is looking for true love and a real home. Jonathan’s willingness to try everything new, from food to sex to a summer on the beach, is perfectly explained by his belief that he’s living on borrowed time. By the time the story ends, they have both learned a lot about each other and about life.
I don’t know where, exactly, this story is set, since if Heart mentioned it then I missed it. It might be the Mediterranean (it is certainly not Florida, I can vouch for that!) and it sounds gorgeous. I want to run away and spend the summer with Nino and Jonathan at their island villa! It is a great setting for a lovely, sweet romance.