Oz (Finding Home #1), Lily Morton
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Lily Morton
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Bi Character, Humor, Opposites Attract, Romance, Series
Purchase At: Amazon.com
What happens when temporary becomes forever?
Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?
From bestselling author, Lily Morton, comes a romantic comedy about two very different men and one very dilapidated house.
This is the first book in the Finding Home series but it can be read as a standalone.
Silas, a veterinarian, was first introduced in Risk Taker (Mixed Messages, #3) as Henry’s older brother. He was in that book enough for the reader to get a feel for him as a character. What it didn’t mention was that Silas is an earl whose family goes back generations. Or it may have been mentioned but I don’t remember. I knew there was a lot of family history but not much more than that because Henry didn’t embrace it like his brother did. With Silas being the oldest and the heir, he was stuck with responsibilities that he may not have necessarily wanted.
Oz has just walked in on his boyfriend having sex with another guy in their bed. The boyfriend, James, doesn’t waste time letting Oz know that the guy is his replacement and not just in the bed. Oz, unfortunately, was living with and sleeping with his boss. The breakup is no loss really. James was a jerk. Losing the job, however, is a big deal. Not only does Oz not have a job but he now doesn’t have a place to live. He’s having lunch with his best friend Shaun when Shaun shows him an employment listing as a house manager in Cornwall for a big renovation. He’s not even close to being qualified but he applies anyway. When he arrives for the interview and sees the other applicants, he knows he stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting the job. So what does Oz do? Let’s just say that he’s brutally honest about pretty much everything. Hey, if he’s going to royally screw up an interview, why not do it right? What shocks him is when Niall, the interviewer, hires him on the spot.
Silas, who’s openly bisexual, is stuck with a huge estate that’s in need of a quick renovation and a big mess left by his former house manager, a guy he was unfortunately sleeping with. The guy obviously thought as long as he was in the boss’ bed he didn’t have to actually work. The problem is that there are plans to open the estate to visitors so the renovations have to be complete in six months time. After the ex leaves, it looks like an impossible task.
This is where Oz comes in. He meets Silas not knowing it’s Silas. You know, the boss, the earl. That was kind of funny. Silas isn’t at all what Oz expects. Also, there’s a ton of sexual tension between them right off. They recognize it, discuss it, and are both on the same page after both of their most recent experiences – no hookups. Work only. Maybe friendship. Nothing more.
Well, sometimes fate has other plans. 😉
With Oz’s hilarious yet strong personality, things start getting done around the estate. The lazy workers are actually working, not spending their days in the pub like they were before. The renovations are coming along nicely and Silas and Oz are becoming friends. This is all fine and good until that above-mentioned sexual tension gets to be too much. A kiss and a few gropes turn into Silas wanting more. Instead of taking Oz straight to bed, he dates him, courts him. Every relationship he’s ever had has started with sex and then moved on to the getting to know you part. Silas wants to take things slow. Oz, knowing he’ll only be around for a few months, agrees. Oh, he’d totally love to have sex with Silas but he’s also enjoying the dating. He doesn’t do relationships, especially after the last one.
Silas is so romantic. Every single thing he did for Oz was romantic. This isn’t something that Oz is used to. But he goes with the flow because he’s enjoying his time with Silas, even knowing that in the real world they’d never work. Silas is an earl and Oz is an Irishman from the wrong side of the tracks who doesn’t even know who his father is and who wears black nail polish and eyeliner. He’s close to his mother but he didn’t grow up with the finer, more expensive things like Silas did. He grew up in an old apartment in London with his single mother. He was named after Ozzy Osbourne during her metal phase. He was college educated but that didn’t change how different he was from Silas in every way.
Oz is hilarious, as I said above. Humor is his way of not showing his softer side. Thankfully, Silas sees straight through it. Little by little Silas brings him out of his shell. One thing I loved about Silas was how he was so eager to tell everybody that he was dating Oz. There was no hesitation. He was proud of it. So-called stations didn’t matter. What mattered was that Silas was finally with a man he could see himself falling in love with.
Every man Oz has ever dated has looked down on him and his upbringing, even making snide remarks about where his mother lives. It doesn’t bother him anymore because he’s used to it. Shaun and another man (explained in the book… I won’t do it here) show up for a visit. The other guy was a bit of a twit but it doesn’t matter. Shaun likes Silas but the ultimate test will be how Silas acts in Oz’s stomping grounds and after he meets Oz’s mother. This happens not much later when they go to London for a few days. Oz immediately expects Silas to act like all the others who came before him, the snobby ones who made snide comments about his upbringing and where his mother lives. But Silas isn’t like the others, as he’s quick to point out more than once.
Oh, these two together…. so different yet so absolutely perfect together. I loved both Silas and Oz equally.
Of course, there has to be a little drama or it would’ve been boring. This is where Silas and Henry’s horrible mother comes in. She’s a rich snob who looks down her nose on everybody, especially Oz when she meets him for an event at the estate. Henry and Ivo thankfully are there and not just at the house. They’re in the perfect spot at the perfect time when Silas puts his mother in her place once and for all, not knowing that Oz, Henry, and Ivo can hear every word. If I didn’t love Silas before, that conversation with his bitchy mother would have had me falling head over heels.
Honestly, he’s perfect.
Oz overhearing what he does changes everything. He’d allowed the witch to put him down, tear him apart, remind him that he’s not good enough for her son. But one conversation outside the door of where he rushed to hide when he rushed away from the mother from hell, and he knows what he has to do. He has to go downstairs and be there for his man, the mother be damned.
I mentioned Henry and Ivo from Risk Taker. It was so nice to see them again.
I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book, with the exception of Silas and Henry’s mother. Oz and Silas, as different as night and day, are perfect for each other. There was no real drama, no ridiculous big misunderstanding, no jealousy. It was simply a sweet story about two men who belong together. I had a lot of favorite scenes in this book but one really stands out. Oz and Silas are getting ready for the above-mentioned event that’s very formal. Oz, not wanting to make things worse with Silas’ mother, removes his nail polish and eyeliner. To Silas, that’s Oz not being himself. He paints Oz’s nails and insists he line his eyes. You can’t read that and not get all kinds of feels.
“I am going to paint your nails,” he says in a voice that has outrage and fierceness running through it. “Because I will not have you fucking ever muting even a millimetre of your personality to suit anyone.” He glares at me. “Then you are going to outline those pretty eyes and you are going to put your fucking combat boots on with this dinner suit and be my Oz again, because that Oz is utterly perfect to me the way he is.” He takes a breath. “Now hold out your hand. I can’t claim to be an expert at this and you’ll probably look a tit, but at least you’ll look yourself again.”
The next book in the series is Milo. Milo was introduced in Oz as someone Oz would be mentoring as he managed the renovations. Milo was a sweetheart in this book. He was shy and obviously had a crush on Niall. I’ve since read his story. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as I did this one, nor did I particularly love Gideon, the one after Milo.
Even so, I simply adored Oz and Silas. They’ve become a new favorite couple of mine. No doubt this book will go on my comfort read list, to be read again and again.
As with a lot of the author’s other books, there’s a short freebie on her website. The one from Oz is Ten Minutes Peace. My short review for that is below.
Ten Minutes Peace
This takes place a few months after the end and long before the epilogue.
All Silas wants is a few minutes alone with his man. He has something special planned and is determined to do it right. He comes in from work early to chaos. The estate has been opened to the public for awhile and it’s packed. Little old ladies want selfies with the earl, Oz is up to his ears with people needing him, and Silas is even forced to help out just to get Oz away for a few minutes. When he finally does, Oz takes him to one of the rooms – that’s on the tour, I might add – and starts trying to get down and dirty with his man. Hmm… you can imagine what happens next. I did say the room was part of the visitor tour. 😉 Then there’s a fire alarm, an incident with Silas falling and hitting his head as he’s trying to hurry into his jeans, and even a fire truck and ambulance.
What was supposed to be romantic turns into exactly what one would expect with these two. It was funny and it was sweet. I think this is my favorite short of the author’s yet.