Learning to Love

Learning to Love (Together #1) - Felice Stevens Review originally posted at Sinfully.

4.5 stars

A bad boy chef/caterer and a dirty talking Rabbi. I could probably just end my review with that, right? I won’t though. This is yet another feel good read with a sweet and sexy couple from Felice Stevens that’s going to give you feels and leave you smiling.

As teenagers, Gideon gained a reputation as the bad boy kid, who slacked in school and his smart, serious and perfect classmate Jonah never hesitated to show just how superior he was to Gideon. Too bad Gideon wanted to kiss him as much as he wanted to punch him. Ten years have passed and at least smartypants lawyer Jonah won’t be around now that Gideon is back home and ready to show everyone he’s not the failure they expected him to be. Well, that thought gave Gideon comfort until Rabbi Jonah Fine appeared in the synagogue’s kitchen.

Intelligent and outwardly mild mannered, Jonah is determined to get what he always wanted. That happens to be Gideon and even as Gideon tries to push him away, Jonah is more determined than ever to have the man he’s wanted since high school. A lot of things have changed for both of them, but Jonah has never forgotten Gideon and isn’t going to let him get away without a fight.

Gideon has struggled for everything he now has and few people realize what he’s been through and how difficult and frustrating things are on a daily basis. Hard work and determination have propelled Gideon’s success and though owning a catering company with his best friend Rico is a great achievement, Gideon still has times where he feels stupid and unworthy. Jonah’s mere presence around him can be enough to set him off. As unexpected as it is, Gideon can’t ignore the desire he sees in Jonah’s eyes.

Jonah isn’t afraid to show or tell Gideon exactly what he wants. While “Rabbi Jonah” may be buttoned up and humble, Jonah the man, who wants nothing more than Gideon, knows how to use his mouth to get it. Whether he’s talking dirty or saying something swoon-worthy he knows just how to melt Gideon’s defenses.

"No matter what I would’ve ended up doing with my life, Gideon, finding you was always part of my plan."

Who could resist that kind of a declaration! Gideon tries time and time again, but it’s a losing battle. Other than a very brief relationship with his best friend and business partner Rico, sex for Gideon has always just been hooking up, but with Jonah, Gideon is falling hard and fast. The chemistry between them is instant and white hot! These guys burn up the page every time they touch each other.

Just because it’s easy for Gideon and Jonah to fall in love, it doesn’t mean that things go smoothly. Gideon constantly gets lost in his head, believing himself diminished by his disability. He is certain that he is a liability for Jonah and that it’s just a matter of time before Jonah sees it as well. He can’t accept that Jonah’s love and intentions are pure, and when Jonah’s desire to help causes him to overstep some boundaries Gideon is devastated. Jonah, meanwhile is having some professional difficulty surrounding the transition of power at the synagogue from his father to himself.

Finding family is so often a theme in Felice Stevens’ books and it is again here. Jonah grew up in a happy, comfortable home while a teenage Gideon suffered through the loss of his mother and the subsequent downward spiral of his relationship with his nasty drunk of a father. The close relationship Gideon develops with Jonah’s father Ari was beautiful and filled yet another emotional hole in his spirit.

So yes, I completely and quickly fell in love with these guys. The story wasn’t overly angsty and love and hot sex didn’t magically fix everything, but rather Gideon and Jonah built a passionate and supportive relationship that gave them both new strength. I hope this isn’t the last we see of them. In fact, maybe Felice Stevens will be so kind to have them pop in again soon, possibly in a story where we can find out more about the secretive Rico and the interest I detected from the adorable (and familiar) red-haired firefighter Adam Barton.