Ian Jones has been alone his entire life. After being thown away in a dumpster by his drug addicted mother, Ian went from one foster home to another, never finding a home or anyone he could depend on. He managed to get his degree but he is barely getting by, living in a dump of a hotel with a dead end job while he tries to get work in IT. Heading to Miami for a promising interview, Ian once again finds his hopes dashed as his car breaks down on the way.
Bull Connor has always been a caretaker, both as a big brother and with the men who work in his auto shop. It is important to Bull to take care of people and to nurture his friends and family, but he can’t help but want someone in life to be a partner and love and support him. When Bull sees Ian alone and in need, his protective instincts come forward. And when Bull sees the horrible conditions under which Ian is living, he can’t help but insist the man come to Miami and stay with him until he gets on his feet.
Ian, who Bull dubs “Red,” comes to live with Bull and helps out at his shop. Ian has never had anyone care for him before and it is hard for him to know how to accept Bull’s care and affection. Ian has literally had no one in his life, and he is anxious about accepting Bull’s attention, not sure he can bear it when it ultimately is gone. But Bull slowly convinces Ian he is here to stay. Ian begins to open up and trust Bull with his past. He becomes confident enough to trust in Bull’s affection and to give his in return. Ian becomes part of Bull’s family, both being accepted by Bull’s warm and loving siblings, and with the men who are his friends and coworkers. Ian and Bull are finding happiness together, both finding that relationship that has so long been missing from their lives. But when Ian’s past catches up with him, it brings back all his old fears and frustrations. Now Ian has to decide if with Bull’s love and support he can face the past and move forward with the man he loves.
For a Reason is the second book in Jessie G’s Sizzling Miami series. I actually started this series reading book 3, The Protector, as it links to Tricking Chase, the first book in the author’s new motorcycle club series. Bull and Ian play a pretty big role as side characters in The Protector, along with the guys from the garage. And while I could follow along with The Protector, I definitely felt like at times it was hard to keep up with all the side characters I didn’t really know. So I had been intrigued enough to consider going back to read this one (especially since there are stories planned for many of these other guys). When I saw the author released a novella follow up to this story for Bull and Ian, I decided this was a good time to go back and read their book.
Ian is an interesting combination of internal strength and determination, paired with a lot of suffering and devastation. His past is horrible, always alone with no family or even friends, shuffled from one bad foster situation to another. He is proud and determined to make it, and manages to get by on the strength of his own conviction that he can do it. But at the same time, he has suffered greatly and those scars are still apparently. He doesn’t want to be weak, and he is really hesitant to take Bull’s help. But clearly Ian needs people in his life who support him and love him and he has never had that before. So this story is really heartwarming as Ian finds love with Bull and friendship and family with Bull’s siblings and coworkers. He slowly learns to accept that he is not going to be abandoned, and he begins to thrive on the connections he has been so starved for all his life.
For his part, Bull is a caretaker. He was a leader in the military, putting his men ahead of himself. He owns a halfway house to help people find their way to a better future, and is always on call to help out there. He hired many of the guys from the halfway house for his garage and owns the house they all live in. He takes care of his siblings and is always there for him. And Bull thrives on this, and needs it, but he also needs someone to take care of him. I like how despite Bull’s dominant and aggressive personality, he recognizes he needs love and a real partnership. He wants to take care of Ian, but at the same time he respects that Ian needs to make his own decisions and be independent. They have a nice partnership and are sweetly in love (and sexy as well).
This story is definitely a bit of a fairy tale in terms of the fast attraction and quick transition into forever love, but it is a sweet and sexy story if you can get past that. For the most part I could accept how quickly the men transition from strangers to love and commitment. It was harder for me to accept Ian’s instant switch from never having any physical contact with anyone ever, to suddenly comfortable with all manner of sex and physical connection. I mean, we are told Ian has never even masturbated, never had an orgasm at his own hands or anyone else’s. Aside from one kiss, Ian’s very first physical contact comes complete with all kinds of sexual activity, including anal penetration (at which he is a natural bottom who knows just how to relax). Honestly, it defied belief for me. For a virgin to jump right into perfect anal is hard enough to imagine, but this man has never even come. Ever. Never kissed, never touched. Yet he is comfortable with sex and everything else right out of the gate. I also kind of wanted to know more about Ian’s past that explains how someone gets to 25 without ever having an orgasm. Yes, we learn that Ian has had some rough sexual situations with past foster parents, but this is never linked with his lack of sexual experience. We are also told Ian that has never had any friends. None. No one talks to him, no one interacts with him. Even with a rough past, this seems hard to imagine. And even if we accept this on face value as part of his troubled upbringing, how does he magically move past all that in one night of hot sex with Bull? To go from never touched at all, no socializing, and never an orgasm, to please fuck me in the ass? I just had trouble suspending my disbelief enough to just go with it in the way I could with the romantic end of things.
That aside, I really did enjoy this story quite a lot. Like I said, it is sweet and romantic, and both these guys are really likable. This story also introduces many of the side characters that appear in The Protector and future Sizzling Miami stories, so it was really helpful to get to meet them here. I have a much better sense of their dynamic and personalities than I did before and am SO looking forward to more from them. I had been intrigued by Bull and Ian from the start, so it was great to get to know them here, and I am really looking forward to their follow up story. So I am enjoying this series a lot and can’t wait for more.
P.S. The author visited Joyfully Jay and shared a graphic that shows the relationships among the men and their books if you want to check it out.