Book Reviews

Just for Nice (States of Love) by H.M. Shepherd at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 09-February-2018

Book Blurb

Nick Caratelli flees the city in an attempt to escape a broken relationship and a career he never wanted. He plans to set up a bed-and-breakfast in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country—despite the fact he has no experience in renovating the old building. Luckily his handsome neighbor Sam approaches him with a curious proposal: he’ll help with the restoration in exchange for Nick babysitting his niece.


As they work to have the bed-and-breakfast open for business by summer’s end, their lives become interwoven without them even trying. Before he knows it, Nick is recovering from his loss and taking his place in the unconventional family that seems determined to form. But for Nick and Sam to be together in all the ways they desire, they’ll have to realize all the arguments against romance exist only in their heads….


States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Book Review

Told in delightful little snippets of Nick and Sam growing closer as their lives intermingle over time, this novella has lots of charm, gave me a great feel for what Pennsylvania Dutch country looks and sounds and smells like, what kind of people live there, and made me smile more than once. Nick and Sam are very different guys, but they have a common project (Nick’s bed-and-breakfast) and some complementary skills, so it is no surprise they get along. Whether or not it might become more than an arrangement of convenience – with Sam doing the needed renovations on Nick’s house and Nick watching Sam’s teenage niece – remained to be seen.

Nick is a city boy, a lawyer, who needs a change when his fiancée breaks up with him. Nick decides to move to the countryside smack-dab in the center of Pennsylvania, buy an old farm house, and turn it into a bed-and-breakfast. Easier said than done! Nick has no talents or even understanding of construction, so he’s in trouble pretty quickly. He is also lonely, so when Sam offers to help, Nick happily accepts.

Sam wasn’t convinced he’d like Nick, because he expected him to tear down the old house and put up apartments. When Nick turns out to be really nice and seems to plan nothing of the kind Sam opens up and offers to help. In turn, he needs help with his niece, but it isn’t immediately obvious why Ellie needs almost constant supervision. There is some mystery around why she is even with her uncle, and the suspense around what was going on there was a nice additional layer to the story.

Nick and Sam’s romance is very subtle. They don’t immediately fall for each other, don’t even kiss until halfway into the book. The focus is on them intertwining their lives and getting to know each other as they deal with everyday challenges, and I liked how their emotions grew almost organically out of working on the bed-and-breakfast project together.

If you like your romances soft and slow, if two strangers building a family together is your thing, and if you’re looking for a fun read about two men who fall in love slowly enough that they don’t even realize it at first, then you will probably enjoy this short novella.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 55 pages/20496 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-February-2018
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link