Title: Love’s Medicine
Author: Ashley John
Series: Surf Bay #4
Release Date: 1st March 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Justin White didn’t expect to fall in love with his best friend, Sammie Cooper, but he couldn’t stop himself. Since their teen years, they’ve been inseparable, but as each year passes, it becomes harder and harder for shy Justin to confess his true feelings to his charismatic and promiscuous best friend. Keeping secrets has become second nature to Justin, as his love for Sammie isn’t the only thing he’s concealing from the world. In the shadows of his home, his mother is slowly dying, and despite stealing painkillers from the hospital, there’s nothing he can do to save her.
Sammie Cooper never thought his casual and sexual relationship with his boss at the nightclub would ever turn into anything serious, but when Finley offers him a briefcase stuffed with money to follow him to England, he doesn’t know if he can resist the lure of the cold, hard cash. Sammie is faced with a decision that he never thought he’d have to make, and things only get more complicated when he makes a shocking discovery about Justin’s life.
Can Justin start telling the truth to keep hold of the only man he’ll ever love? Can Sammie turn down life changing money to risk it all on the unknown?
One is scared of love and the other is scared of commitment. Justin and Sammie thought they could make it through anything together, but their crumbling lives threaten to rip them apart. Both are faced with difficult decisions, but will they make the right ones?
Ashley John’s fourth book in the Surf Bay series is a character-driven, friends to lover story, complete with angst and indecision. From my 5 star rating, it is obvious how much I adored Love’s Medicine, but honestly the process of reading it was like a form of book-torture! The plot is cleverly layered with so many different elements that Ashley John never allows his reader to settle into the ‘comfort zone’, in which we would feel able to anticipate the next events. This is a technique Ashley John uses right up to the last chapter and I equally loved him and loathed him for it!
Justin and Sammie are two completely different characters. So much so that we wonder how they can possibly have been best friends for 8 years. The connection between them is like a familial one and they have always been honest with one another Ashley John introduces us to the pair at a point when the cracks in their relationship are beginning to show, mainly because of the possibly life-altering they are both about to make.
Justin is physically and emotionally exhausted; nursing hospital patients by day and caring for his terminally ill mother at home. Justin’s situation has forced him to make uncharacteristically dishonest decisions, which could have far-reaching consequences.
Although Sammie is not oblivious to the change in Justin’s character, he is distracted by his own drama. Unlike his best friend, Sammie is obsessed with the idea of spending his 20s enjoying his single status. Sammie has a sexual arrangement with his boss, which is complicated by Finley’s out-of-hours business.
Initially I wasn’t sure I liked Sammie, probably because he appears materialistic and disloyal, but actually it is his character which matures the most. By the time I reached the end of the novel I felt Ashley John had redeemed Sammie’s actions and I believed in the romance between the two men.
Ashley John’s talent as a writer is in the way he creates characters that we would gravitate towards naturally, even in a room of crowded people. Love’s Medicine is another excellent novel by the author, which fans of M/M romance will immediately fall in love with.