Title: For the Living
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Amber Allure
Length: Novel
Buy link: Amazon

Rating: 4.75

For the past year, Jay Warren has been struggling to tell his wife Misty that he is gay. He has finally come to terms with it himself and knows it is past time to tell her why things in their marriage are not working.  But he is paralyzed by the fear of people finding out he is gay and the incredible guilt he feels knowing he will hurt and disappoint Misty.  As Jay spends another evening drinking and pacing and trying to work up the nerve to tell her, he is startled by a knock on the door and the devastating news that Misty has been killed in a car accident.

Although he and Misty did not share a romantic future, Jay still loved her and is destroyed by the news of her death.  He feels incredibly guilty that she died never knowing the truth about him or the reasons why their marriage was falling apart.  Desperate for someone to talk to, Jay confides in funeral director Scott Lawson. Scott is also gay and understands so many of Jay’s fears about coming out.  He is a voice of comfort to Jay, helping him work through his pain and guilt about Misty.

Although the men start off with Scott in a caregiver role, they soon become close friends and an attraction grows between them.  Scott knows they are walking a fine line in terms of his professional role as staff in the funeral home where Misty was buried.  He worries about whether they are moving too fast and if Jay has fully grieved for Misty.  But as much as Jay misses Misty, he feels such joy at finally be able to be his true self and have a real relationship with a man.  Scott’s comforting presence, as well as their friendship and romance, helps to ease some of Jay’s guilt and pain.

The road is not easy between them however.  Scott is the only person to whom Jay is out, and the idea of sharing that with others still terrifies him.  He must face both his family and Misty’s and not everyone takes the news well.  But most of all, Jay needs to deal with his grief over Misty’s death and the guilt that he feels before he and Scott have any hope of a real future together.

I just loved this story and thought it was so well done.  This story could have been uncomfortable with the bereaved falling for the funeral director, but in Witt’s hands I never felt like it was wrong or crossing a line.  Jay and Scott’s relationship develops so organically and their progression from comfort, to friendship, to attraction, to love happens so smoothly that it never feels wrong.  Jay’s feelings for Misty and her importance in his life are never minimized even as his relationship develops with Scott.  For Jay, the romantic part of his life with Misty was over long before her death, and watching his joy as he experiences real romantic love and passion for the first time is just so gratifying.

The chemistry between Jay and Scott is incredibly hot.  Lots of burning anticipation, raw need, and hot sex between them.  I loved that I could feel both their close friendship as well as their incredible attraction  for one another.  Witt does scorching hot so well and this book is no exception.

For the Living really focuses a lot on Jay’s coming out process.  Witt shows us so clearly how conflicted, anxious, and frankly terrified Jay is about revealing that he is gay, first to Misty and later to his family.  He is so scared of being rejected, hated, and abandoned and his fear is just palpable.  Watching him slowly unburden himself from the weight he has been carrying is so satisfying and I found myself rooting for Jay to find his peace and happiness.

Overall I really loved For the Living and thought it was a wonderful story.  Jay’s problems felt very real and his guilt and pain are clear without being over angsty.  I loved his relationship with Scott and the way it builds throughout the story. The guys are so good together and I enjoyed seeing them find happiness. Very hot, very romantic, and filled with lots of depth.  Definitely highly recommended.

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