Owen is a respected music teacher, enjoying his favorite pastime of “birding” during his summer break. While walking in the woods, he is approached by a gorgeous specimen of male who lures him off the trail. Realizing he was letting his lust drive him, Owen backs off only to find himself wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, and placed under arrest when Officer Luke Daniels didn’t appreciate being turned down. Seeking the services of a lawyer from the Men’s Center, he meets Brent, a junior partner. Brent believes Owen’s story, despite his bosses’ fear of causing problems for the Men’s Center by taking the case. Determined to prove Owen’s innocence, Brent struggles with his attraction to Owen and the ethics of crossing the line with a client.
This is the third book in the Beneath the Palisade series, yet can be read as a standalone novel without readers feeling as if they are missing part of the story line. While the characters from the first two books make appearances in this novel, the author provides readers with enough background information that you don’t feel as if you had to have read the previous two beforehand…though I warn you, you may end up wanting to read the other two afterwards, like I did.
I loved this book! It was so well written that I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and found myself not wanting to put the book down. Owen is somewhat of a loner. As a relatively new teacher, he is still settling in to his new community, away from friends and family. Spending his free time bird watching, he never expected following a stranger in the forest would result in him being handcuffed and facing serious charges that could ruin his career.
Brent is a recently hired attorney at the Men’s Center. When Owen comes seeking their services, Brent jumps at the chance to represent the young man. Finding out that the two are neighbors, Brent finds himself struggling with his attraction to the young man and the ethical considerations of becoming involved with a client. Yet, he can’t seem to help himself despite the fact that not only does he risk losing his chance at partnership, he could be disbarred.
The villain in this story is the handsome Luke Daniels, a recently hired police officer. In a case of he said/he said, his word holds much more weight than Owen’s when it comes to the people in town, who begin calling on the school committee to do something about Owen. As the town begins turning against Owen, Owen and Brent have to find proof of Owen’s innocence before both of them lose their jobs.
There is plenty of romance, complete with intimate scenes between Owen and Brent. Owen is relatively sexually inexperienced and Brent is more than happy to educate the teacher, but Brent finds himself wanting to take it slow and get to know each other. Despite this, the sex scenes between these two are steamy!
Overall, I thought this was a great book and look forward to reading more from this author.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.