Under contract by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux

Synopsis: Foreman Ted Lucas is in love with his assistant Nick Cooper, but his erratic behaviour leads Nick to believe Ted doesn’t like him and ask for a transfer. One day after work Ted gets up the nerve to confess his feelings. Nick is stunned and agrees to a night together to give them a chance.

Review: "Under contract" is part of "Love ahead", a book with two stories by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux.

I was extremely impressed with Ted and the courage he shows when he tells Nick about how he feels. Not only is he Nick’s superior and a sexual harassment complaint is a distinct possibility, he also isn’t even sure whether Nick is gay or not. In fact from gossip he must assume that Nick isn’t. Yet, since he is a burnt child and already had to let one man go because he didn’t own up to his feelings, which broke his heart, he is determined not to make the second mistake twice. That is even more admirable since he more or less got kicked our from another site after his sexual proclivity was revealed.

Nick turns out to be gay after all – lucky Ted – and agrees to a night together to show Ted that love has nothing to do with this. Again, a commendable reaction. I wonder if Nick didn’t have feelings for Ted all along without even acknowledging it himself. Why else would he agree to such a thing? Just because someone confesses to be in love with you, you won’t be inclined to spend the night with him/her, unless you feel something. At least to my way of thinking.

Anyway, they get along wonderfully and decide to give that thing between them a chance to grow or die. An unfortunate accident at work causes Ted to practically move in with Nick which helps them along the way. However not all is sunshine, since Nick just can’t get the words out that Ted longs to hear.

Then some miscommunication happens and the whole relationship gets blown to pieces. I wasn’t too keen on that, because lack of communication or misreading the other person, even though it should be obvious what they mean, is a pet peeve of mine. However, that whole sad interlude came to a rather quick ending, which reconciled me somewhat.

Apart from the protagonists a few nice supporting guys were present as well. I especially liked the ever fainting Sanders, who turned out to be a perceptive and cunning observer. He would probably be a good scheming matchmaker, if he ever chose to leave his present line of business.

This was a fun read, perfect for readers who don’t like angst and upsetting internal conflicts.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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