"Don't beg me Dustin, convince me." The whimper of need from Dustin's throat could not be contained. It rushed out against Nicolæ's palm. "I don't know how."
"Better." Nicolæ smiled. "At least that sounded real."
Înflori really was quite a enchanting story told from the perspective of Dustin, a man with a habit of substance abuse, sex in toilet cubicles and also a shitload of guilt.
Nicolæ, on the other hand, is quarter weather forecaster, a third of animal whisperer, one eighth cryptic and 100% "Gypsy", one of the Roma people. Though not officially a weather forecaster or animal whisperer (though I refuse to believe otherwise), he is very much the mysterious hero, primed and ready to swoop in and save Dustin's sorry ass.
These men are very very different, and their courting dance is rather.. Quirky. The way their relationship grows and builds is quite different. Refreshing and unique. You don't seem much of the likes of this in M/M. Their romance really is a gentle, slow burn."A slow burn," Nicolæ muttered. "There is so much more longevity to it. A star can stay lit only if it does not burn itself out."
Nicolæ is very much one of the, how do I say this.. charms (?) of this book, with his uniqueness (I guess) as a person that I don't think many can say they've encountered before. However I actually found him difficult to love. Well, I actually haven't managed to love him. To me, Nicolæ, being who he is, is more a mentor than anything else. And that in itself makes him feel much more distant to me than I'd like. Though I find in books that the love interest does help the hero "heal" in a way, there is still almost always a mentor or wise-random character. So, I found this arrangement rather strange, charming and a bit daring actually. Looking at the ratings and reading the reviews, I think it's pretty safe to say, it was very well pulled off.
Unfortunately... Personally, I wasn't really feeling Nicolæ as a main character. When I actually think about it, he's probably the type of character that, in another book where he would be a secondary character, I would totally fall head over heels, and be demanding a book on him in my reviews. And in Înflori, he still feels a bit like a secondary character, in the sense that he's so perfect and put together, like you haven't really gotten to see past the facade. Relationships are messy. And don't be mistaken, the one in Înflori was quite a mess too. However it was always Dustin. Nicolæ, if I recall correctly, literally did no wrong in this relationship. I mean, he did cause Dustin to have some pretty despairing thoughts, but that was never because of anything so direct such as a careless word, or, god forbid, some personal inner crisis of his own.
I think my opinion of Nicolæ is more personal and a pet peeve then anything else, so you really shouldn't take it to heart. Apart from little pet peeves, the story, though not exactly the edge-of-your-seat type, meshed wonderfully with the romance, and helped their relationship develop further, in my opinion.
Apart from all that, this was a really delightful read for me. And I'm not saying this for review's sake, this book quite literally filled me with delight when I read it.. This is a pretty busy period for me right now, but I honestly stalled numerous important tasks to read this book (which I am very much berating myself over, urgh) but I definitely have no regrets. This seems to be A.F Henley's first published book (or so I think) and I oh so hope she/he continues producing such magical books! :)
(And I am so excited for honour!! It seems more like ma thang, ya know?
I managed to make myself sound intelligent and contemplative for 600 words, now it's time to let my inner self out. omg I am ruining this review.