Hi there! Today I have a whole lot to share about a newly released M/M contemporary romance from Lissa Reed. ABSOLUTELY, ALMOST, PERFECT is the third book in her Sucre Coeur series, and I gobbled it right up. AAP features a strapping Scots/English baker and his anxiety-riddled partner who fly to England to attend the wedding of the baker’s estranged brother. It’s a perfect quagmire of familial problems and an almost disaster of absolutely everything they’d built together.
Catch an excerpt, author interview, my review and enter the $25 GC and books giveaway below!
About the book:
Craig Oliver and Alex Scheff lead a charmed life. Craig is part owner of Sucre Coeur, the bakery he’s loved and managed for years. Alex is an up-and-coming Seattle photographer. Their relationship has been going strong for a year, and everything is absolutely perfect—right up until Craig receives a wedding invitation from his long-estranged brother.
As Craig grows tense over seeing his brother for the first time in years, Alex can’t control his anxiety over meeting Craig’s family. At the wedding in an English hamlet, boisterous Scottish mothers, smirking teenage sisters, and awkward ex-boyfriends complicate the sweet life they lead.
Some thoughts from Author Lissa Reed…
Hello, and thanks for hosting this tour stop! I’m a writer living in Texas with a couple of cats and what some folks might call too much yarn and too many books. These people would be terribly wrong.
My current book, Absolutely, Almost, Perfect, is an homage to one of my favorite genres of film – the British rom-com. Only with a gay couple in the lead, rather than relegated to being sidekicks or best friends. Craig and Alex, my protagonists from my first book, are back to face their first major obstacle as a couple: Officially Meeting The Parents.
Why do you write?
Honestly, I have written for so long, that I don’t quite know how to answer this question! The shortest, simplest answer is that I do it because I must. But then also, because no one else is going to write the stories that skulk around in my brain, and I want to see them written! I need them out on paper so the next idea can come in and capture my imagination, my time, and my ink pen.
Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
I would say Certainly, Possibly, You, my second book. It was a story about queer females, and being one of those myself, it was a little more of a personal story in a lot of ways, and I had to battle myself a bit to really let go and write it freely. I had to get out of my own way and stop worrying about whether I was going to represent queer women well, were people going to wonder about how I knew this or that, did anyone even want to read about queer women? It was a fight.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
In Absolutely, Almost, Perfect, we come back around to Craig and Alex from Definitely, Maybe, Yours. When the book opens, they’re not struggling with their feelings for each other anymore – they’re a solid relationship already in progress, about to meet a huge sort of milestone-slash-obstacle. What makes them special to me is the way they face things together, as a unit. They went through so much just to acknowledge that they loved each other, that now to see them hand-in-hand, dealing with things together, just delights me no end.
How much research do you do for your books?
Depends on the topic of the book, honestly. I am always going to want to get the things I don’t know as right as I can get them. Absolutely went through two English readers, one of whom had a roommate from the Essex area to help out and make sure my book was correctly British when it needed to be. I also had to do some research on wedding cakes – full size cakes are not my specialty – and how to get pet dogs to England (because I was not having them leave Fitz behind). But I have a project in the pipeline set in my home state of Louisiana, so I can get away with a little bit less in the research department.
Who designs your covers?
The initial cover was designed by RJ Shepherd, for my first book. Then CB Messer kept the concept going through the next books so we had a coordinated trilogy. I love these book covers, but I’m excited to see if I can write something else for Interlude that’s outside the Sucre Coeur universe, so I can see what CB can really do for the stuff my brain produces!
How about a little taste?
Smelling of soap, a blue bath towel slung around his hips, Craig drops a kiss on Alex’s forehead before he takes his own seat. He slides the Ivory Square of Doom to his side of the table. “Right, we have to work this out.”
“Do we?” Alex cuts a finger of toast and dips it into his egg. He concentrates on the simple task so he doesn’t have to look Craig in the eye. “I mean, really. Neither of us actually wants to go. Why can’t we just RSVP with a sad but firm no and send them the nicest thing on their registry?”
Silence stretches long enough that he does look up. Open-mouthed, Craig stares at him. A forgotten toast finger drips egg yolk onto the tabletop. “You…” Craig shakes his head and puts down the toast. “You spoke to my mother. Many times you faced this woman on Skype or Facetime and had actual conversations with her, and you still somehow think that is a reasonable course of action.” His eyebrows lift, and he lets out a low whistle. “You know, I’ve held your balls in my hand. Were they brass all this time, and I just missed it?”
“Oh, come on, Craig.” Alex runs a hand through his hair. “Yes, I spoke to your mother. She’s nowhere near as scary as mine.”
“See, now, there’s an excellent reason for both of us to go to this damn wedding, so I can show you in person exactly how wrong you are.” Craig lifts his mug of tea and coughs out a laugh. “Your mother is frightening, I grant you: half my size and twice as intimidating as I can manage on my best day. In fact, our mothers would get on like houses afire, which should give you an idea as to why I, at least, cannot get out of going to this wedding.” He takes a sip of tea, sets the mug aside, and reaches over the table to catch Alex’s hand in both of his. “Alex, even apart from my mother’s insistence… Chloe is one of my oldest friends. I have to do this for her. But I can’t do it without you. I know it won’t be easy, but I need you there with me.”
At the sight of their joined hands, a lump grows in Alex’s throat to match the one in his stomach. “It’s just… your family…”
Silence falls again, interrupted only by Fitz tap-tap-tapping across the checkerboard linoleum of the kitchen floor and whining to be picked up. Craig scoops him up and scratches Fitz’s fuzzy little ears. “They won’t bite, Alex. They’re just…”
“Just people, just your family, I know.” Alex’s chest tightens. “Just your mother, your father, your sisters, your brother who you don’t even like, and I guess there’s an Aunt Lorraine now, and this Chloe chick and God knows who else gathering for the Wedding of the Century, where they’ll get to meet Craig’s neurotic train wreck of a boyfriend and judge us. They’ll judge me for being an uptight, deadbeat American and you for clearly having some kind of episode, to decide that I was an appropriate choice for a boyfriend.”
The lump in his throat swells and cuts him off.
Craig and Alex have been together for nearly two years and they are very much in love. Alex is a bit of an emotional mess, thanks to an abusive ex, but he and Craig are solid. Stable. And…freaking out about returning to England for Craig’s brother’s wedding to his dearest childhood friend, Chloe. Craig and his brother, Duncan, are estranged because Duncan was a horse’s ass of a sibling, who mercilessly bullied young Craig and never apologized for years of emotional and physical torment.
Alex doesn’t want to go at all, but he’s not going to let Craig go alone. They head off to Merry Olde for the festivities and it’s…uh, I believe the correct British term is: tit’s up. O.o. Chloe is a bridezilla, hell-bent on getting Craig and Duncan to make up in time for the wedding. She’s adamant that Duncan has changed his personality completely from when they were all kids, and Craig should give him the chance to make amends. Still, it’s easy to see that she’s a decent person, despite her many tantrums. Craig and Alex are reliant upon Craig’s childhood boyfriend, David, a sweet man attractive to both of them, to navigate the parent-infested waters. And Duncan, well, if this would have been playing out in front of me, that man would have gotten a swift boot to his manparts.
I haven’t read any of the earlier book in this series, but I had no trouble dropping into this rom-com. Alex’s medications for anxiety make him loopy and he gets a hysterical fit in response to Duncan’s shenanigans. Craig doesn’t let the slights go, and Duncan–if Chloe doesn’t ditch him–might turn up to his own wedding with a (well-deserved) shiner. Throughout, stalwart Craig is the hot mess and shaky Alex the voice of reason, which is quite the juxtaposition. I loved the folks, and the fun. Duncan and Craig’s family is large and boisterous, and they love with abandon. There’s just a little bit of steam to go along with all the zaniness.
Fans of the series will love the twists, and the sweet resolution, which brings along a super-sized HEA. I had a lot of fun with the Brit English bits, and watching Alex grow as a partner to Craig.
Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 GC to Interlude Press or one of five ebooks of Absolutely, Almost, Perfect.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Lissa Reed is a writer of ﬁction, blogs, and bawdy Renaissance song parodies. She traces her early interest in writing back to elementary school, when a teacher gifted her with her ﬁrst composition book and told her to fill it with words. After experimenting with print journalism, Reed shifted her writing focus to romance and literary ﬁction and never looked back. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Absolutely, Almost, Perfect is the third book in her Sucre Coeur Series.