Rating: 3.75 stars
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The last thing Peter Morse wanted to do to start his three-week leave was to check on Theo’s assistant’s brother. But even after falling for Theo months ago and being rejected, Peter still finds it difficult to deny Theo anything. Maggie, Theo’s assistant, is having financial troubles and needs the sale of her father’s house in order to make ends meet, but her brother never answers the phone when she calls.
When Peter finds Maggie’s brother Sean Reid injured by the side of the road, his paramedic instincts kick in. Trying to treat the injured man turns out to be difficult when Sean runs away from the scene. After chasing Sean through the woods only to find him soaking wet, injured, and possibly suffering from shock, Peter makes it his mission to make sure Sean is healthy before leaving. At first, Peter blames the protectiveness he feels for Sean on his training. There is no way that he could be attracted to Sean, he is not even Peter’s type. But there is something about Sean that draws Peter in.
Sean is grieving his father’s death – the man that threw Sean away and took away the only family he knew. He spends his days trying to figure out his father, trying to understand him. Sean seems to feel like he can’t leave or even think about selling his family home until he knows what was going on in his father’s head. Peter does everything he can to support Sean, but between threats from the locals in town and Sean always running or pushing Peter away, Peter finds it difficult to help. When the fire marshal threatens to condemn Sean’s house, Peter is forced to seek help from friends and family in order to help Sean. But even as Peter offers to help, he’s not sure if Sean will accept it.
Saving Sean is the second book in the Seattle Stories series by Con Riley. It can be read as a standalone but if you want to see where Peter’s infatuation with Theo began you should read After Ben first.
I enjoyed this sequel even though I was a little disappointed by it. I had such high expectations after the first book and this sequel fell just a little short. It was easier for me to get into this story than it was the first book though. The storyline flowed well and kept me interested, if a little confused at times. And the characters, both main and secondary, were fun to get to know again.
I had to adjust my view of Peter just a little bit, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy his character. I actually think I may have liked him more here. There was some inconsistency in his character between this book and the previous. Peter was a little more unsure of himself than I noticed originally, although that could be a result of Theo’s rejection. I would not call it insecurity, exactly. He just seemed more hesitant when it came to helping Sean in the beginning. But when it came to putting his contact with Sean in a professional perspective, Peter became this confident, competent man. I watched as Peter originally treated Sean as a patient and gradually grew to see him as a friend and lover. I also don’t remember Peter without a verbal filter. It was explained that as a paramedic, he was used to verbalizing all of his thoughts and that translated into his everyday life. Even when he did not know, Peter was speaking thoughts he may have meant to keep to himself. Like I said, it wasn’t really part of his character in the first book, but I found it kind of endearing in this book and funny at times.
The progression of Peter’s character was nice to watch. He begins this journey still pining for Theo and what might have been. He doesn’t seem to begrudge Theo or Morgan their relationship, but he remains a little jealous that Morgan has what Peter wants. As his story progresses, Peter begins to realize that it’s not so much that he wants Theo anymore but that he wants a relationship similar to what Theo and Morgan have instead of a string of one night stands. I wouldn’t say that he has a hero complex, but he likes to help, to heal. I think it comes from his paramedic training. When he meets Sean, the overwhelming urge to protect him, to help and heal him is so strong that he doesn’t think twice about following a complete stranger home. And whereas, Sean appears to be helpless and needs saving, in reality he is simply overwhelmed with the chore his father left him.
Figuring Sean out was a task in itself. To be honest, there were a few times that I wasn’t so sure that Sean didn’t suffer from the same mental problems as his father. When he is first introduced, his actions are so sporadic and strange. He overreacted to the smallest things and when things got hard or scary for him he ran away. He was a little frustrating. Watching Sean’s character through Peter’s eyes showed me the many different ways to grieve a loved one’s death. Sean was cast away and written off by his father, but then, in his last days, Sean’s father called on him for help. A mental disorder had taken hold in his father’s life when Sean was still a child, and now as an adult, Sean felt the only way to understand his father’s actions was to figure out who his father was. It was an overwhelming, hopeless task until Peter came along. Sean was very confusing and all over the place at times. I can’t really explain all that happened in Sean’s progression from the confused man in the beginning of the story to the more confident man who strived to fight his father’s fight in the end because I’m not sure that I completely understand it, but I can say that he was only able to progress at all with Peter’s help.
The relationship between Peter and Sean was more than a little confusing at the beginning. The attraction wasn’t immediately evident for either character. I believe that the physical relationship began as part of Sean’s way of coping with his grief, but it turned into more. The trust between Sean and Peter became an issue; but even having it called into question eventually created a stronger bond between the two.
The entire cast of secondary characters includes a lot of the characters from After Ben. Theo, Morgan, Evan, Joel, Aiden, Maggie, and Marco all returned in the sequel with updates of established relationships as well as further developing some of the characters that readers haven’t gotten to know very well yet. As of right now, I’m most looking forward to Aiden’s story. There was a lot of personality and detail given to his character in this book and I look forward to seeing how his story turns out. I am a little disappointed with how Maggie was portrayed in this story. In the first book, Maggie was a rock. She supported Theo through the worst time in his life. She was so patient and understanding. But in this story, I found her to be selfish, overbearing, and pushy. I did not like her very much at all. I’m hoping she can be redeemed somewhere in the future. But my favorite secondary was Peter’s father. Watching the healing between father and son in this book was so full of hope and so very sweet. Peter’s father was so wise and patient and loving. I just adored him.
The process of grief seems to be a major theme in these first two installments of the Seattle Stories. I think that the varying ways that people grieve were highlighted in this story. Sean’s grieving process took him, as well as Peter, on a journey into the mind of a mental disorder neither man was prepared to experience. But in order for his life to return to normal, Sean was determined to understand a man that disowned him if only to finally put his memory to rest.
The storyline should have been a simple one – find Sean, help Sean, attempt to save Sean from himself. That seems easy, right? It was the “save Sean from himself” that seemed to complicate things. Not only did Sean need to be saved from himself, but he also needed to be saved from the memory of his father. But that’s only one part of the story. Peter’s role as savior is not an easy one because Peter has issues in his own life to deal with – career, family, friends, failed relationships.
To recap, Saving Sean, is a good story, if somewhat confusing at times. All of the characters have a way of grabbing a reader’s attention and holding on. Even though grief is a major part of this book as it was in the first, it is explored in a different manner. The characters helped keep this book so enjoyable. In the end, I did enjoy the book and I feel that anyone who read the first book may like it, as well.