Jordan Jensen has finally gotten his life together and is ready to start over. No, he can never forget that while driving drunk he killed a small child. That guilt and horror will haunt him forever. But he has served his time, gone to rehab, found a calling helping people as a massage therapist, and is now looking to settle down some place where he can find peace. Jordan hopes that place is the small town of St. Ignacio where his best friend Cooper lives with his partner Shawn.
Jordan gets a job at the local gym and there he meets Ken Ashton, a former college baseball player with hopes of going pro who suffered a devastating injury in a car accident… caused by a drunk driver. Ken is still deep in his recovery period and Jordan knows he shouldn’t have anything to do with Ken. But as they get to know one another, Ken makes his interest clear and he is determined to be with Jordan, even once he knows about Jordan’s past. Jordan finds himself falling for Ken, but he worries that the balance he has finally found is his life will fall apart if he gets involved with someone. Not to mention that he is sure that the younger, newly out Ken would be better off with someone else. But with time, Jordan and Ken come to realize that they can support and love each other and together they can both heal.
Physical Therapy is the second book in Z.A. Maxfield’s St. Nacho’s series and I think of it as kind of the companion book to the first one, St. Nacho’s. That is Cooper and Shawn’s story and Jordan plays a significant role there as the villain of sorts, or at least the stumbling block to Cooper’s emotional healing and his relationship with Shawn. Jordan is in a very bad place in that story and this book takes place after he has gone to rehab and changed his life. I am a big fan of the “villain redeemed” storyline and I love that we get to see the other side of things from Jordan’s POV here. He is a totally different person, but he hasn’t forgotten the past. He has just learned to find some focus in his life, to direct his energy in positive ways and toward helping others.
I really appreciate that Maxfield doesn’t go for the obvious here and make this a story where Jordan hides his past only to have Ken find out the truth in an 11th hour conflict. I know we have all read that book a million times and Maxfield elevates this story by taking it beyond that. Jordan is honest with Ken from the start. It is not easy by any means. Even though Ken accepts Jordan and his past, Jordan still has trouble moving beyond the guilt and seeing himself as someone who can be good for Ken. And Ken’s protective family definitely doesn’t think he should be with a guy like Jordan. Ken has been struggling with his recovery, both physically and emotionally. It is clear right away that Jordan is so good for him; somehow the connection between them just works. But both men have demons of lives that could have been and both are still struggling to move forward.
This book definitely deals with some serious issues, but surprisingly it is not angsty or overwrought. There is a peace and easiness to the story that fits with the vibe of the town and the series. St. Nacho’s is kind of an odd place filled with quirky characters and it adds a lightness to the story despite its heavier subject matter.
I really love this book and completely adore the set of St. Nacho’s and Physical Therapy together. I will tell you that despite the different MCs, these two books are best read as a set. You will get so much more out of this story if you are already familiar with Jordan and his past, most of which is detailed in the first book. Plus it is so much more rewarding to see Jordan happy when you see how far he has come. The ending of this book is so sweet and mushy and always tears me up a bit. So a great book and I’d definitely recommend both you.
P.S. Wendy agrees and she is going to be continuing our Throwback Thursday reviews of this series with the final two books.