Every dreary day, Zach Driscoll takes the elevator from the penthouse apartment of his father’s building to his coldly charmed life where being a union lawyer instead of a corporate lawyer is an act of rebellion. Every day, that is, until the day the elevator breaks and Sean Mallory practically runs into his arms. Substitute teacher Sean Mallory is everything Zach is not – poor, happy, and goofily charming. With a disarming smile and a penchant for drama, Sean laughs his way into Zach’s heart one elevator ride at a time.
Zach is thirty-something. He’s a union lawyer living in a high rise owned by his father. He’s gay but only the rent boys he frequents knows that about him. He’s socially awkward and shy and …he’s lonely. Very lonely.
Sean is a substitute teacher also living in a high rise, but he’s got 5 roommates! He’s colorful, quirky, out-going and spontaneous. He sometimes dates, but mostly works – trying to make ends meet.
They meet when the express elevator breaks down and Zach is forced onto the regular elevator that runs for those not in the pent-house. Zach is enthralled by Sean. Sean is color in Zach’s black and white world. Heat to his cold, chaos to his order.
Over a year these two meet for thirty seconds of “dating” on the elevator. It takes a lot of effort. If Zach is too early or late he’ll never catch a glimpse of Sean and he has to ride Sean’s elevator which isn’t his norm. In fact he gets a bit conflicted when he makes friends with Jace and Quent (yay!) who also ride the express elevator so he splits his time between the two elevators.
He managed to catch his friends on the two days (because apparently Jace was made out of clockwork parts and would never be late, rushed, or anything but perfectly attired) and maybe, once or twice a week, Sean managed to make it into the elevator on time.
But he doesn’t approach Sean for more. Sean has to invite Zach over for a party for the two to actually start something real.
Zach sees Sean as his knight in shining armor, come to rescue him from his tower of loneliness and bring him to the land of the loving.
Fortunately, Sean is a knight in shining armor and he does and it’s wonderful!
This story is quirky, funny, sweet, tender and heart-breaking. My heart broke for the inner dialog in Zach’s head. He’s so lonely and feels so useless. Sean is his polar opposite and they mesh so beautifully together.
I love Amy’s “light” fare, because she always gives us at least a taste of the angst, but without the horrible separation/death/bad decision making/curse that the heavier stuff includes. The chemistry is pretty hot, but mostly it’s tender and touching. Sean isn’t a perfect model of a man, but he’s absolutely worshipped by Zach. Zach who probably fits that model definition to a “T” but he’s so broken on the inside.
There was no coming up for air, there was only Sean, who tasted like coffee and magic and unicorns and knights in geeky armor and some sort of gravy he’d had for dinner.
The secondary characters are superb. Zach’s secretary and her girlfriend are a hoot! We get to see a glimpse of my all time favs Jace and Quent and then there’s all of Sean’s roomies living in a two bedroom with 6 people!
This is vaguely a holiday piece as there are some Christmas scenes but really, it’s wonderful any time of the year.
My only complaint was that I’d have liked more time with them together working on their relationship. I’d have loved to see more of Zach transformation from lonely shy guy to coupley “out” guy, but the ending was terribly sweet anyway.
“Happy. I’m happy. I’ve lived my whole life and not known what this feels like.”
Sean kissed him, and pulled back. “That’s awful,” he said, a little hitch in his voice. “We’re going to have to fix that.”
The audio says it’s by Paul Woodson, but you’ll recognize the voice of Philip Alces who does Amy’s Knitter’s series. I’m not sure what the deal is with the name, but it’s gotta be the same guy. I LOVE what he does here. His emotions are spot on and he absolutely brought Zach and Sean to life for me.
I pretty much adore any of Amy’s books, but this one along with Gambling Men go near the top as some of her easiest reads. Just fun and sweetness and gooey happy endings – huzzah!
5 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review