Charlie Matthews is a schoolteacher in the town where he grew up. Openly gay and out of the closet, Charlie has managed to create a life for himself. Surrounded by his friends, he’s managed to settle down and buy a house. The only thing missing is his knight in shining armor…until that knight came charging in to save the day, riding in an ambulance to attend to one of his students who broke her leg playing on the playground.
It is love at first sight between Charlie and Josh Campbell. Josh has lost nearly everything in his life, except for his older brother, who he is pretty sure wouldn’t be too happy to have a brother who is gay after he stopped speaking to his best friend many years ago when he came out of the closet. While Charlie and Josh’s relationship is heating up, the two must hide it from Josh’s brother.
Initially okay with Josh needing time, Charlie’s patience begins to wear thin, until he runs into his own parents who disowned him when he came out. Knowing what Josh has to lose, will Charlie stay in a relationship where he has to hide? Can Josh find the courage to come out of the closet for Charlie?
This is the first in Nic Starr’s The Heroes Series. As I have found with most first books in a series, the first book can be the hardest to “get into.” This book was no different. It was a little slow out of the starting gate, but once it got going, it ran right to the winner’s circle! Honestly, the first few chapters were really hard for me to connect to the characters. It wasn’t until we started getting into the fourth and fifth chapters, when I started getting a bit of insight into the characters, that I felt that I was invested in the story. I loved watching Charlie and Josh as their relationship progressed.
Charlie is on the shy side and somewhat insecure, which is understandable considering that his parents basically disowned him when he came out as a teenager. Now a schoolteacher, he’s moved back to his hometown and reconnected with his friends and has started a new life…or has he? Living in the same town as his parents, he is doomed to eventually run into them or see them from afar. So when he meets Josh, who is firmly in the closet around his brother, Charlie goes through conflicting emotions as to whether he wants to be with someone who isn’t willing to take a chance with him.
Josh’s only surviving family member is his brother Andrew. Knowing Andrew had a parting-of-the-ways with his best friend (Tanner) when he came out of the closet many years ago, Josh is terrified that he will have no one if his brother finds out that he is gay. Yet, while he hides his sexuality from his brother, he is out with his co-workers and friends. However, living in a small town makes it difficult to keep his sexuality hidden from his brother while dating Charlie.
The cast of secondary characters really brings this story to life. Initially, it seemed as if there were all these people in the story. We have Charlie’s friends and coworkers. We have Josh’s friends and co-workers. Yet we didn’t have a whole lot of Charlie and Josh together. Once the two came together, the story began to focus on the blending of Charlie and Josh, including their friends. Afterwards, we meet their families – both Charlie’s and Josh’s. I have to say it was heart wrenching and heartwarming to watch these two interact with their families.
The sex scenes in this story are H-O-T. Let’s just say that despite Charlie being shy, he is anything but shy when it comes to the bedroom. I love stories where the characters defy the stereotypes when they are behind closed doors.
Without spoiling the story for readers, Josh struggles with coming out to his brother throughout the story. At times, it seems as if their relationship will be accidentally outed. At other times, it seems as if Andrew suspects there is more to Josh and Charlie’s friendship.
Overall, after I started becoming invested in the story, I couldn’t put it down. Now that I’ve finished with the book, I am anxiously awaiting the second in the series which should be out the end of summer/early fall.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.