Doran Callaghan made some very bad choices, especially in regards to his gambling addiction, and after spending a little time in jail, he’s been fortunate to get into a reintegration program. The program landed him a job in Bluewater Bay, working for the Tourist Information office. He’s coping, though he’s not thriving, and he’s crushing hard on the park ranger he sees across the street at the gas station every Sunday.
When Doran finally meets Xavier Wagner, he’s tongue tied and makes a bad first impression. His second one isn’t much better, but Xavier takes him for coffee anyway. Both men think it might better to walk away, but the attraction between them is undeniable. Doran’s absolute submission to Xavier’s wishes is a serious turn on for them both, but Xavier quickly learns that he can’t trust Doran to say when he’s reached his limit, and that makes Xavier wary to push too hard. Xavier also won’t abide secrets, and his no nonsense approach has Doran telling him the truth about his gambling addiction. But when it goes one step further, and Doran won’t share, miscommunication has Xavier walking away and Doran thinking he’s messed things up for good.
When Doran finds out that Xavier had called to apologize, he’s elated. But it’s that moment that his life comes crashing down around him as his past surfaces again. Not knowing what else to do, he runs to Xavier. Even though it’s not the most ideal of situations, they still manage to have the overdue and much needed conversation. Now if they can just evade the men after Doran long enough to get back down the mountain, they might be able to build something real on the foundation they’ve created.
We’re back in Bluewater Bay for another installment of the series, and like all the others, this can absolutely be read as a standalone. But I still love going back to this little town and visiting with new people. And When To Hold Them is one of my favorites so far.
These guys. I’m not even sure I have words for how much I love them. Seriously, Gordon has done such a fantastic job of drawing them that I felt like I truly got to know them. Doran is just getting back on his feet, and he’s not perfect and he makes mistakes. But his thoughts and emotions are so real and visceral that I felt them along with the character. When things started coming apart for him, my heart just ached, and I found myself getting upset and worried for him. I was right there in the story with him, every step of the way, and I loved that I was made to care so much.
Xavier worked just as well and was equally well drawn. I loved that he was so different from Doran, and yet I got to know him just as much. And it’s more than just the fact that there is an alternating POV. The author truly does a fantastic job of getting us into his character’s head. With Xavier, I understood exactly where he was coming from, and he was perfectly consistent. His character act and reacted exactly like he should. Even when I wanted to shake him because he wasn’t seeing and understanding things he should, I couldn’t actually get upset with him because it was perfectly in keeping with the character.
The characterizations were where this book shined the brightest, but the plot wasn’t too far behind. Even with a couple of over the top moments that I was able to overlook, I was wonderfully done, perfectly paced, and kept me engaged and invested from word one. And guys, if you’re looking for a book where the sexual chemistry between the MCs is off the charts, where the sex scenes have the perfect balance of smoking hot and intensely intimate, then look no further. This book had all of that and more.
Basically, yeah, I loved this book from beginning to end. It had everything I love in a book, with awesome characterization and perfectly paced plot. I can’t recommend this one enough.