Why I bought the book: I read and reviewed the previous short, Getting off the Ground at Brief Encounters Reviews and enjoyed it so much I bought this sequel as soon as it was released.
Plot: The story follows on directly from Getting Off the Ground. After making the decision to change his holiday plans at the last minute, jilted groom Elliott is on his way to two weeks spent in the company of Derek, a man he met just a few hours previously at the airport.
The plot then follows the two men as they spend an intensive two weeks in each others' company, learning about each other, having lots of sex and slowly developing feelings for each other. Normally, two weeks would be a little too short for me in terms of falling in love, but the fact that, apart from one day, they spend nearly every minute of that two weeks in each others' company made it believable that they should fall quickly.
Characters: This is very much an opposites attract story with Elliot generally being uptight and organised and Derek being laid back. Elliott sees his time on Maui as an opportunity to forget the mess he's left behind in Seattle and also forget all his rules. As a result, he's more relaxed and enjoys the freedom he allows himself. I found the whole shift in character for Elliott quite charming. He also makes himself face up to some of the things he had been avoiding, such as why he was left at the altar, as well as trying to sift through his growing feelings for Derek. I liked Elliott a great deal and was pleased that impetuous decision he makes at the end of the first book is given the space to be dealt with properly. That eased some of my misgivings about the end of the first book. Derek is seen through Elliott's eyes, but it was quite clear to me (even if Elliott couldn't see it) that he too was starting to change his life views. This is mostly done through the erotic and yet also beautifully tender sex scenes, as well as the way that Derek deliberately goes out of his way to make Elliott see the beauty of Maui. I also liked that we get to see that Derek isn't just a feckless drifter with no concept of responsibility, but that he has a job and commitments too.
Overall: I really enjoyed this follow on from Getting Off the Ground. The extension in the characterisation was realistic with the focus being almost solely on Elliott and Derek and their romantic journey together. The descriptions of Maui were vivid and made me want to visit. If I have any niggles it's that I was a little disappointed in the epilogue, not because it wasn't satisfying or romantic, but rather because it meant that the story between these two very sympathetic characters has come to a very definite HEA and I was really hoping for another book! For those who read and liked Getting Off the Ground this is an absolute must-read and I'm giving it a grade of 'Excellent'. If you haven't that first short then you can still read this, but you get more of a feel of the change in character for Elliot if you read the short story first.
Buy this book HERE.