Evan Cerelli is lost after his wife of twenty years was killed in a car accident, leaving behind Evan and his four children. Evan’s wife was his everything for the last twenty years – his only girlfriend, his only lover, his rock who managed to hold everything together for him and the kids. As a vice detective, Evan struggles to figure out how to go on after her death as he juggles work and raising a family on his own.
Matt Haight is lonely and bitter after being demoted from homicide detective to foot patrol after turning in a crooked brother-in-blue. Refusing to accept the demotion, he quit and joined a private security firm that paid the rent and kept the beers flowing at the local pub. Though he has never had a serious relationship, he considers himself a ladies man.
Evan and Matt meet at Matt’s former partner’s retirement party, bonding over the misery they see in each other. They begin a friendship where they spend once a week commiserating together over beers and wings at a local corner bar before quickly adding in daily phone calls. When plans to go to the football game are changed, Evan and Matt spend the day entertaining Evan’s kids doing “family stuff.” When Evan worries about the pending snowstorm cancelling school, Matt offers to babysit the kids so Evan doesn’t have to miss work.
Sleeping over, Matt hears Evan having a nightmare and goes to comfort him before he wakes up the kids. Both Matt and Evan are shocked to find neither of them is repelled by the other’s touch, and that they actually crave it. The two of them fall into a relationship of close friends, secret lovers until an on-the-job accident threatens to expose their relationship and jeopardize Evan’s job and family in the process. Is Matt worth risking it all for?
I have to admit, I absolutely loved this book the first time I read it. This is the perfect “segue book” for those who aren’t sure whether M/M romance is for them. The honesty and emotional turmoil of these two main characters rips your heart on every page. This is romance and falling in love at its finest.
The conflict in this book tore me apart because I could understand both Evan’s and Matt’s confusion. Evan is questioning who he is and wondering whether he really does love Matt or whether this is just a way to ease the loneliness of having lost his wife. Matt, on the other hand, is also questioning whether he is really the ladies man he always thought himself as or whether he is bisexual.
Tere Michael’s creates characters that grab you. Evan, Matt, the kids, the in-laws, and Evan’s co-workers all become unforgettable as the story unwinds. Even minor secondary characters are well developed and help bring the story to life. For instance, the crossing guard who offers to time Matt as he jogs around the block huffing and puffing. We know very little about her, but we can imagine her vividly because she helps bring the scene to life.
The downside to this book, and whether it is a downside is up to the reader, is that the sex scenes are glossed over. They were still sexy and intimate, just no real sex to speak of.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite M/M romance reads, one I keep coming back to because it reminds me of what I love about romance books in the first place. It isn’t about the labels; it’s about loving someone for who they are to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.