Rating: 4.5 stars
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Brock Summers is a Parks and Wildlife officer for Teller County, Colorado. When a video showing two golden eagles getting shot shows up online, Brock knows he has to rescue the eaglets left in their nest. After a somewhat dangerous rescue, he manages to save one tiny bird. He takes it to wildlife rehabilitator and falconer Landon Weir, knowing the man will be able to save the baby bird.
Landon has definite critter blinders; when an injured animal comes into his shelter, the animal is all he can see. That’s the only explanation he can come up with as to why he’s never noticed just how appealing Brock is. Brock received some scratches on his chest from the bird that he rescued, and Landon offers clean up his wounds for him. It is only then—with a shirtless Brock—that Landon finally sees the man behind the officer who has been bringing him injured animals for years. They begin a friendship, which quickly moves on to more.
But while Brock and Landon are finding their feet in their relationship, the poachers who are shooting Golden and Bald eagles are still out there and posting videos online. Both men are invested in animals in general, and are particularly focused on bringing these poachers to justice. It is illegal to kill raptors and sell their feathers. But they don’t have much to go on, the clues are sparse, and more birds are and other animals are dying.
A chance break in the case has Brock chasing down the poachers, while Landon tries to save the eaglets of the latest pair killed. Things go from bad to worse and both men put their lives on the line. Only their love for each other outweighs their love for animals, and they will do whatever it takes to keep the wildlife safe.
There is so much goodness going on in this story! From the very first page, I was hooked in. Brock is repelling down a cliff in a blizzard to save an eaglet, which sounds completely crazy, but it really shows you the heart of the man. He’s a Park and Wildlife officer because he believes whole-heartedly that people have to protect wild animals. I loved him. I loved his huge heart and his dedication to the job. I loved his determination. I cheered for him, and was completely invested in both his personal life and his professional one.
Landon is just as endearing. His dedication to wildlife rehab and education is an amazing thing. Not only does he do everything he can to rehab and release wild animals, but he also educates the public on just why it’s important. I admired him. I wanted to meet him in real life.
And Brock and Landon together just makes complete and perfect sense. Their lives and interests mesh so well that it was easy to see them together and feel their connection. They both are fairly private about their personal lives. In fact, in the beginning, neither one is sure if the other one is gay. But when they finally get over that hurdle, they jump in with both feet. Their relationship is easy and they are beautiful together. I really enjoyed watching them fall in love. And it was really nice to just see two men falling for each other, with no heavy angst or major hurdles that they have to get over before they can get together. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for a feel good story, and this one absolutely fits the bill.
One of the other things that I really enjoyed about the story was that I learned a lot. I’m an animal person in general, so the conservation and education aspects of this book really appealed to me. Marcus did an amazing job of fitting in a lot of education within the confines of plot, and it all was fitting to the story. There was no extraneous information or info-dumping. It was cleverly crafted to be both educational and entertaining, and I appreciated that so much.
The only small thing that threw the story off for me, and it’s not even really a quibble, is that the climax of the situation with the poachers. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so intense, considering the tone and feel of the rest of the book. I knew that it would be big, considering the passion of the characters, but it was just a little more violent than I was expecting. That’s not to say that it was bad or out of place, but it did surprise me and left me feeling just a bit off-kilter. I had to take a moment to process it before I could move on. In the end, I do feel it is fitting. But it did pull me out of the story a bit because, at first, the intensity of it felt out of place.
I highly recommend this book. It’s one that’s going to stay in my mind for a long while to come.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.