Title: One Under (Porthkennack Book 9)
Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 281
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Read book blurb here
A few things first ... Having read almost all of the Porthkennack series, I find J.L. Merrow's Porthkennack considerably darker than portrayed by other authors in this series. Merrow's setting is a bleak, gray atmosphere with lots of rain, and more than its share of "Eeyoresque" characters. Also, it took me quite a while to get my footing in One Under. Characters from the first book are referenced here, and honestly, I didn't remember them and there is little information in One Under to flesh out their backstory.
Mal's best mate is Dev (whose story is told in Wake Up Call) and when Mal meets Jory Roscarrock, there is instant attraction, quickly followed by the realization that Jory is Dev's uncle, and a member of the family that basically kicked Dev to the curb. The two men spend considerable time agonizing about their respective secrets and how any relationship between them would never work.
Mal is a tube driver with PTSD and is in Porthannock to recover from a suicide jumping in front of his train; Jory is married to Kirsty and they have a genius 12-year-old named Gawen.
The pace of the story felt very slow and around 80% through the book, Jory finally asks Mal: “I wish I knew where I stood with you.” This book was very nearly a DNF for me because of the constant tension and second-guessing about each and every word and action and although there are a few sex scenes, it is difficult to sense a strong sexual chemistry between the two.
One Under is just not my cuppa, and my rating is 3 stars, but I fully realize that other readers may enjoy this introspective story.