Title: Chasing Butterflies
Author: Cat Kane
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Characters: Nolan Brooks, Gray Ashton
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
When a heat wave wrecks Nolan Brooks’ rental car, leaving him stranded in a sleepy little Tennessee town, the goal of spending the summer running his best friend’s beach-side bar begins to flutter out of reach. He’s trying to be responsible and ambitious for the first time in his life, and spending the weekend at a local festival celebrating the migration of the Purple Lacewing butterfly doesn’t fit into those plans.
But he’s stuck for the duration, and making the best of a bad situation doesn’t seem so difficult when a shortage of hotel rooms means he’s spending it with the charming, if mysterious, Gray Ashton. Gray isn’t too fond of tourists, but despite his misgivings it seems he’ll make an exception for Nolan.
When Nolan succumbs to the charms of the town, the butterflies and Gray, he has to re-evaluate what he really wants. But the secrets in Gray’s past and the obligations in Nolan’s future won’t make that any easier than chasing butterflies.
For a novella, this story and its heroes have surprising depth. And though there are butterflies in the story, this is about breaking away from preconceptions of oneself as a loser and a failure and deciding to seek happiness instead.
Nolan’s ex throws him out, always subtly or less-than subtly calling him a failure. On his way to a new job in a new town, Nolan meets misfortune and ends up stuck in a small town which only booms during a short visit by rare butterflies but now suffers under a heat wave. Years ago the town had been taken in by a con man, and the folks are now distrusting of strangers. No one more so than Gray. Yet he and Nolan are compatible in every way, especially sexually. But… Nolan made a commitment to begin anew, no screw-ups, and Gray appears to have a pretty wife tucked away. Then the ex, Elias, shows up, and everything’s a mess.
We get the story from Nolan’s point of view only. Yet both men come through as emotionally real, tangible men who wish to change but don’t know how and are trapped by their own resignation. The characterization is vivid and profound. It’s easy to sympathize for both men. And Elias is easy to detest, always belittling and selfish. Nolan’s emotional journey is shown deeply here, the hurt, the sadness, the desire to give up and yet want more. His wish to find a place to call home, a place of acceptance and love, is one anyone can relate to.
The pace is about average, not too fast or slow. Yes, the sexual affair between Nolan and Gray happens real fast, but it’s understandable because both men are desperate to find even a sliver of happiness. The plot revolves around Nolan’s self-discovery, a few inherently male miscommunications, and secrets kept and blown out of proportion by mistrust. There’s a lot of sex, hot and steamy, and a few friendships forged. And the elusive butterflies? Guess you’ll just have to read the story to find out.
A good romance, well worth a look or three. Recommended.
Reviewed By: Susan