Twelve years ago, two teenagers met briefly. After a stolen kiss, one was forced to come out to his family while the other was brutally beaten and kicked to the curb.
Dr. Nathan Kirkfield was sixteen years old when his parents rejected him. Taken in by his uncle, Nathan worked hard to become a surgeon. Nowadays, his life is devoted to his career and his research. Now, he is forced to take leave to deal with the estate after his parents death, which means going back to the place that holds only bad memories.
Kelly MacNiel is a former FBI agent now working at the family auction house. When his brother sends him to spend the next two weeks photographing and organizing the auction of the Kirkfield estate, Kelly finds himself face-to-face with the boy his shared his first kiss with.
Forced to spend two weeks together in the same house, Nathan and Kelly realize that the attraction they both had for one another all those years ago is still there. As the two begin to reconnect, they are forced to deal with a burglar who is intent at getting what they want at any cost. Can Nathan and Kelly make peace with the past and move towards a future, or will the demons that haunt them destroy them?
There is nothing that annoys me, as a reader, more than having a blurb that doesn’t match the storyline. If you read the blurb on the back of this book, one would assume that this would be an entirely different story than what you actually get. We are led to believe Kelly was an FBI agent in charge of Nathan’s case – which would suggest Kelly was somewhat older than Nathan and that there was something significant that happened in Nathan’s past that would have required the FBI to get involved. Instead, the actual story is significantly different with both main characters being of the same age and with both main characters suffering from PTSD. With that said, let’s move on to my review!
Nathan grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, but the price he paid was a high one as both his parents were cold and unfeeling. When he is caught kissing the boy who accompanied the deliverymen, his father beat him while his mother stood by. Kicked out of the house, his uncle took him in and later adopted him. Now, with his parents dead, it falls on him to be there to oversee the selling of the estate as his sister and her husband are out of the country performing charity work.
Kelly grew up with a granda who was larger than life. Though an auctioneer by trade, his granda would up and leave for days and weeks at a time, off doing something secretive that always resulted in him coming home with aches and pains but claiming he had made a difference. Growing up, Kelly dreamed of being like granda and joined the FBI. When a case goes horribly wrong, Kelly is shot on the job and forced into leaving the bureau when he is no longer capable of performing. Suffering from PTSD over the incident, he recognizes the demons he sees in Nathan’s eyes.
As a mystery/suspense, this book had a fairly decent storyline, despite the fact that readers know pretty early on who the bad guy/girl is. Nathan is dealing with sexual harassment from his department head at work, a woman who in intent on discrediting Nathan as a doctor and stealing his research. Meanwhile, there is a series of break-ins happening at the house, where the burglar is intent on getting what they want at any cost. This forces Kelly to rely on his FBI training in order to protect Nathan…and then Nathan does his best to protect and save Kelly when things go horribly wrong.
As a romance, this book was just okay. The most prominent theme is the one of comfort/healing. With both main characters dealing with traumatic incidents in their past, they are able to recognize these within each other and help the other deal with the aftereffects. Then there is the whole Kelly the protector with Nathan the healer theme going on, which I will talk about more in a bit.
There is also a bit of paranormal going on here when after a tragic event, Kelly finds himself visiting his grandparents – both of whom have passed away. Though I am not a fan of paranormal, I have to admit that I thought this bit fit in well with the storyline. For those of you who are not fans of paranormal, it plays a very minor role in the story.
Before I start in on what didn’t work for me in this book, I want to just stress that on the surface, this book was well written (for the most part). There was good dialogue and the scenes were well detailed. The problem that I had with this book was that there was this whole theme of Kelly the protector and Nathan the healer going on – which may have worked if the details were spot on.
We have two main characters – a “brilliant” surgeon with a fabulous bedside manner and a former FBI agent, men who in their personal lives both have a serious problem with communication. Two men with careers that deem communication is a necessary skill, yet neither of them possesses much of it in their regular lives? I really had a hard time believing that, therefore, I wasn’t buying their miscommunication problems. In fact, these miscommunications came across as juvenile and how they dealt with them was just as immature. To say it irritated me is probably an understatement. For me, it seemed as if Nathan and Kelly were still sixteen years old during these time rather than men in their thirties.
Then we have the whole issue of Nathan being a virgin without much experience at all. I could almost buy this storyline, except for the fact that you have Nathan who is this brilliant doctor, yet is completely naïve about the prostate. Asking “what was that?” seemed completely out of character for someone who’s been through medical school and has probably performed more than a few prostate checks in his training. So while the sex scenes were hot, it was the little details that kept ruining it for me.
Overall, this story didn’t work for me. I am a reader who is all about the details and I want the details to match the character. As the saying goes, the truth is in the details…and nothing was adding up. For me, it felt as if the author was trying too hard to paint these characters as the protector and the healer that she overlooked the smaller details along the way. Despite this, for a debut novel, this was an admirable attempt and I’d be interested in seeing what this author writes next.