London Underground worker Mal Thomas is staying in Porthkennack to recover from a traumatic experience. Getting some more bad news from home is the last straw—until big, blond museum curator Jory Roscarrock steps up to offer some comfort.
A doctor of English Literature, Jory should be in a prestigious post at a top university. But a youthful indiscretion has led him to abandon academia to come back to his home town, Porthkennack, and the controlling family he’s never really felt a part of. He’s delighted to find a kindred spirit in the young Londoner.
But Jory’s family hurt Mal’s best friend deeply, and while Jory’s desperate to repair the damage, his own mistakes threaten to keep them apart. Meanwhile Mal’s torn between his feelings for Jory and his duty to his friend—and his fears that a failed relationship could be more than his shattered confidence can take.
I really like the stand alone books in the Porthkennack series, but I like the ones that have a strand of connection. In the case of One Under, it could certainly be read as a stand alone, but I loved the fact that it trailed back to where the series began with Wake Up Call, also written by J.L. Merrow.
Jory was kind of a black sheep of his family, but in a good way. He wasn’t perfect and didn’t see himself that way. His family expected a certain level of behavior to fit their status, but Jory never quite fit, despite his brother and sister’s best efforts to control not just him, but pretty much every aspect of his life. Because of Jory’s family, Mal was torn. He felt a real connection to Jory, but he fought it because of his loyalty to one of his best friends, Dev. Mal has some issues of his own that he’s trying to face and spending time with Jory really helps.
I loved spending time in Porthkennack with these two, along with previous characters. Watching them grow and help each other heal in a way that neither one of them expected was an added bonus. One Under was an excellent addition to this series.