Fifteen years ago, Elijah Langley’s world fell apart with the death of his high school boyfriend. Packing his past in a shoe box hidden deeply in his bedroom closet, Elijah moved on to be the man his parents and society expected him to be. Until a chance encounter with a boy distributing flyers for an upcoming fundraiser for The Center for HOPE, a LGBT youth center, Elijah had been living the life expected of him: running the family’s logging company, dating women with the right pedigrees, and his sexuality firmly hidden in the closet with the shoebox. Attending the fundraiser, Elijah wasn’t prepared to find himself sitting with the center’s founder.
Adam Lancaster is an out and proud gay man who knows the challenges the youths coming to the center face. A survivor of a turbulent childhood himself, he’s determined to steer clear of getting involved with anyone who wants him to climb back into the closet…including his newest and most generous benefactor, Elijah.
As Elijah becomes more and more involved in the day to day operations of the center, the friendship that he has with Adam have with each other blossoms and they find themselves falling for one another. When one of the youths from the center is brutally assaulted, Elijah is forced to decide to confront his fears and memories in his past before it ruins his life. Can Elijah find the strength to stand strong for those he loves?
This is the first book in a new series – and I am eagerly awaiting the second!
This book focuses primarily on Elijah, and I believe the second one, given the two chapter excerpt at the end of this book, is going to focus more on Adam and his issues. So while we do get a glimpse of Adam’s past, we never really know exactly what his life story is before, just what drives him to be who he is today.
Elijah has spent his entire adult life just going through the motions. As CEO of the family logging business, Elijah’s weekly dinners at his parents have always been used to discuss business and listen to his mother drone on about finding the right woman to settle down with. Elijah plays his part, always having the latest and greatest pedigreed wanna-be wife dangling off his arm at the functions he attends, but half the time he can’t remember the women’s names.
When Kollin, a gay youth who utilizes the Center for HOPE as a place to escape what is going on in his own life, comes strutting through the doors of his building as Elijah is heading out to grab a sandwich, Elijah is unprepared for the memories of his own teenage years to come flooding back. Drawn to the fundraiser, initially claiming it made good business sense, Elijah finds himself seated with Adam. Later, he finds himself seeking out Adam in the parking lot where they share a hot kiss before Adam shuts down Elijah’s proposal to take this up a notch. Angry and determined to just write the check he promised for the center and forget about it, Elijah can’t seem to walk away.
What started out initially as wanting to see Adam again, quickly escalates as Elijah finds himself interacting with the kids at the center. Before he knows it, he’s spending all his free time and money to ensure the center’s shelter can be up and running before schedule. As Elijah and Adam spend more and more time together, a friendship emerges. For me, watching these two danced around each other while they try to keep it just platonic added a bit of humor into the story.
When the two finally decide that their hormones have reached their limits, their passion for one another heats up the pages. It’s a mix of sweet and sexy all rolled into one. I swear, my heart skipped a beat when Elijah declared the reason for his nerves! Swoon!!!
The secondary character, Kollin, really was almost like having a third main character in the book. In fact, I really credit him for being the one that spurred Elijah into dealing with his past and coming out of the closet for good. His story will break your heart!
Overall, this was one of the most uplifting and sweet reads that I’ve read in quite a while. I highly recommend!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.