When Cole was just old enough, he left his home and his dysfunctional mother in search of a better life. He landed in a small town in Florida, working as a bartender. Longing for a family and a home, he lives with four other guys and he considers them all his brothers. All of the guys are either going to school or figuring out careers, but Cole has not gotten past hookups and the casual life of a bartender. The one problem Cole has is Ian Stark. Ian is a lawyer, and Cole’s roommate Brendan’s boss, and just the sight of him unravels Cole. But, Ian is completely off limits. Off limits because Cole wonders what a successful guy like Ian would ever see in him, and off limits because Brendan is in love with Ian. Cole’s family of friends is the most important thing to him and jeopardizing that is not as option.
Ian knows Cole is attracted to him as he can feel it and he can see it. When Cole keeps avoiding him, it only makes Ian more determined to be with Cole. Self confident and cool under pressure is how the world sees Ian, but he has not navigated relationships as well. When a devastating tragedy unravels Cole’s world, it throws him and Ian together as they wade through unimaginable grief. In just a moment’s time, life as they knew it is changed forever.
Here For You starts out going in one direction with one type of story line and then shifts completely in a different direction. The tragedy is the foundation for the entire book and as Cole says, “It was too much. A hurricane of grief,” and to discuss it would be a great disservice and too much of a spoiler should you decide to read the book. So we will discuss Cole. Cole is a good, heart-of-gold-type of guy. His broken family life left him feeling never good enough and he does everything to keep his chosen family of friends functioning as a solid unit. He’s the one calling family meetings and trying to keep the peace between everyone. Brendan is his closest friend and although Cole is wildly attracted to Ian, Ian is simply off limits out of respect for Brendan.
As for Ian, as successful as he is as a lawyer, his personal life is uninspired. His last relationship was more about companionship and lacked true passion. When Ian and Cole are together the air and the energy around them crackles and Ian has no idea why Cole is always trying to get away from him. As Cole and Ian make their way towards each other, this is the area where the book really shines. When they are together the writing is so descriptive and the love, lust, compassion, and tenderness they have for each other has a dream-like quality.
The roommates offer an interesting cast of characters and their presence enhances the overall story. The beginning of the story sets up with bit of a who’s who and all of the guys remain a constant presence throughout the book. The issue here is that they are all mysterious and they all have pasts that are not spoken of. Clearly it’s not their story, but their secrets were introduced or hinted at much too often in a general sense to then not have any further insight. Also, for as intense as Ian was when he was alone with Cole, outside of the bedroom, he read as rather bland to me. Ian agrees that he never had passion for anyone like he has for Cole and the author did such a good job conveying that lack of passion that it translated right off the page.
Here For You is a book I would recommend simply for Cole. Cole carries his self made family and he carries the story. And, the sensual, evolving relationship between Cole and Ian is full of emotion and well done. In some ways this book is a study of grief, but through that grief there is love, creating your own family, and finding home.
Final note: The author posted on the Dreamspinner page that this book is the first in a new series titled Sunshine and Happiness. The series name coming from the Rod Stewart lyric, “And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home.”
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.