Review: Beyond the Reef by A.J. Llewellyn

Beyond the Reef by A.J. Llewellyn
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Pages: 141
Source: book provided by the publisher for review

Tony takes a shower one day and finds a naked man fondling his loofah. Frank’s a sex machine who knows Tony’s deepest desires…and won’t go away.

Wannabe actor Tony Kaven’s career hasn’t just stalled—it’s in reverse—so he jumps at the chance of being a personal assistant to mercurial movie star Rufus Roscoe on location in Maui, Hawaii. Tony wants to do well, except that, from the moment he arrives, everything goes wrong. Roscoe hates everything about him, even his blue suede shoes. Somebody on Facebook told Tony that Rufus is a big Elvis fan so Tony couldn’t resist splurging on the shoes.

Wrong information.

Rufus hates Elvis, blue suede shoes and overweight, overwrought personal assistants.

It looks like he’s about to get canned when a mysterious man named Frank shows up naked in Tony’s shower and tells him he is the man of his dreams. His true love. Who is this guy? And how is it that when Frank is around, everything has a way of going right? Tony finds that true love means taking a leap of faith, but he finds more than that it also means rolling with the punches, but leading with your heart.

 

Review: Beyond the Reef is a charming fantasy about a man yearning for his true love and the wish he makes on a raindrop. When his wish seems to come true, he tries to enjoy the moment but fears the time will come when it will all unravel back into reality.

Tony is a likeable character but he has a past he hasn’t really dealt with. He’s never quite forgiven his mother for leaving when he was a child. He comes to Hawaii not only for a job but with the added intention of reuniting with his mother – even if he’s not quite ready to deal with seeing her again. A little insecure yet charming, Tony can schmooze his boss (a self-absorbed movie star) into believing almost anything.

I found it delightful that Frank, the fantasy man, appeared and disappeared at random and magically produced the perfect cup of coffee and a full-course meal. I always love reading about local places and legends, especially if I’ve been to that area. For Maui, those are Moku’ula and the Mokuhinia restoration project, and Makawao, and the Hawaiian Goddesses Pele and La’ieikawai.

The birthday party for Keoni’s uncle is exactly the type of family party that happens in Hawaii – family and friends gathering, someone picks up a ukulele and starts to sing, kids running around playing, tables straining under the weight of food, and everyone laughing and having a good time. One thing I’ve found since moving here is that people celebrate anything – birthdays, holidays, a new home, a new baby, a new car, a raise, anything to bring everyone together.

A.J. Llewellyn is a wonderful writer and makes an outrageous idea – a man appearing out of nowhere – seem possible. Probable, even. If you like a little fantasy with your romance, this is a sweet story that might bring a few tears to your eyes.