Service with a Smirk, by Ariel Tachna
Series: At Your Service, Book 2
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Release date: January 13, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Pascal Larocque, a waiter at a high-end Montréal restaurant, knows what it means to love—and he knows what it means to lose. He buried the man he expected to spend his life with years ago. He’s perfectly happy with his solitude, or so he tells his friends. But a chance encounter in a neighborhood bar followed by a run-in at his apartment building turns his world upside down.
Mathias Perras is twenty-four, newly arrived in Montréal, and works two jobs so he can live on rue Sainte-Catherine in the heart of the gay district. During the day, he’s on a fast track to management at the Banque de Montréal. At night, he waits tables at a gay bar down the street. He’s burning the candle at both ends, but it will be worth it when his career takes off and he has the life he’s always dreamed of. When he meets Pascal, one more piece of that dream slots into place. Pascal is everything he wants in a lover: older, self-assured, established in his life and his career. But Pascal doesn’t look at him twice. What’s a boy have to do to get a little action?
Part of Series (Standalone)
When I first read the summary for this book, I already knew I was going to like it. I’m a sucker for age differences in romance, especially when the younger MC doesn’t act like a bratty kid and fly off the handle at every little bump in the road. Plus, the setting is Montreal which is a gorgeous city and the perfect place for a romance. Just based on those two things alone, I knew I had to read this.
Service with a Smirk is a low-angst, low-steam book that focuses on how two people, who are both at very different stages in life, can build a relationship based on friendship, mutual respect and love. And maybe that sounds boring, but I found it rather refreshing and lovely. The fact that there is real communication between the two MCs is especially nice; I’m all for tension but manufactured drama is definitely a turn-off.
Pascal is the head waiter at a high-end restaurant (note: not a millionaire, not a doctor, not a sugar daddy, just a regular guy – I love it), and young Mathias is on the fast-track to management at his job at a bank. He also works nights at a bar, earning extra cash to afford his small apartment in a charming but expensive part of the city. It’s kinda nice to read about people who can’t leave work at a moment’s notice to go on a date, or a take spontaneous 3 day trip out of the city – these are regular guys and I found that immensely appealing.
One of the other things I really liked about this book is the total and complete support each of our MCs finds in their friends and family, especially Pascal who has never really recovered from losing his partner almost 15 years prior and is reluctant to pursue something with Mathias for fear that it may never match the kind of relationship he once had.
Benjamin sighed. “You met him when you were in your twenties. You had a few good years together before he got sick, and then you spent the rest of his life taking care of him as cancer stole his health and eventually his life. You’re a different man that you were then….You need someone for the man you are now, not the man you were then.”
“And you think Mathias is that man?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” Benjamin said with a bright smile, “but you seem to be entertaining the idea, and I know you too well. You’ll do your best to talk yourself out of it if Rene and I don’t knock some sense into you, so consider yourself knocked.”
The slow burn romance between Pascal and Mathias sweet with very little angst. Although I might have appreciated a bit more tension or conflict to raise a little more interest and investment in their relationship, I did really like the fact that they spoke with each other – often at the encouragement of friends – to clear up any misunderstandings before insecurity or jealousy could really take root.
This is a very simple love story about two people falling in love. Although we can always use a little fantasy to take us away from the drudgery of life, sometimes it’s nice just to read about people you can actually relate to. It’s a good reminder that ‘real life’ has its charms too.
Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.