Stuart is a high flier in the international finance, mergers, and acquisition business. It's a job that gives him a rush when it all comes together, but his doctor warns Stuart that the stress has him headed for a heart attack before he's 40 if he doesn't take some time off. So, he books a two-week private yacht charter out of Cairns and invites his friend-with-benefits along. Stuart is looking forward to 12 days of sun, sea, and sex, but his friend cancels on him at the last minute, leaving Stuart to go alone. When he meets the captain of his boat, Stuart begins to think the vacation may not be a total loss after all.
Foster used to be like Stuart, and even did exactly the same job, but he realized the toll it was taking on his mind and body, so he quit and now makes his living chartering his yacht for vacationers. When Stuart shows up alone, Foster is a bit taken aback. He's never had a solo charter before, but he's determined to give the other man the vacation he has paid for. Once Stuart makes it plain that he is interested in Foster, the captain knows it would be a bad idea to get involved with a client. A very bad idea.
Like the author's other book I reviewed recently, Davo, this is another limited-time relationship story. There's no reason to doubt that Stuart and Foster will get together. It's largely a question of how, and what will happen when Stuart's two-week charter is over. You can be fairly confident about how this romance will end, so it's just a matter of how it gets there. The point of view alternates between Stuart and Foster, so we get both sides of the story, so to speak.
Stuart is likable almost from the start. His job requires a fair amount of ruthlessness. At first, he comes across as very confident and self-assured, but as we get to know him better, we begin to see that's all part of his business facade. Stuart is not the morally bankrupt capitalist you might assume someone with his job would be.
Foster is the perfect foil for Stuart. They have a lot of shared experiences, yet Foster managed to find his way out of the same rat race that Stuart feels trapped in. The two together make for a compelling, realistic couple.
“Private Charter” is available from Amazon.