Jake Wylder is a bush pilot in Alaska… and a total player. Jake is all about bed hopping, and since he’s pansexual, he’s open to anyone who catches his eye. His reputation is legendary and his conquests cover a good deal of the state. Jake’s business has him flying medical supplies to outlying and remote towns, as well as passengers during the summer months. So when Jake meets the new resident of Two Pines and finds himself captivated by the gorgeous green eyes, Jake is shocked to be shot down.
Dr. Jordan Drake, currently known as JD Smith, is posing as a nurse in the remote Alaskan village. Having made a bad decision and getting in with troublesome crowd, JD is in witness protection until the trial. Though Alaska seems the worst place he could be, the beautiful countryside and welcoming people grow on him. And so does Jake, despite all of JD’s initial resistance. He knows it’s not smart to get involved with the man, but as the weeks drag on, he finds himself smitten with Jake.
Jake is finally changing his ways, ready for the first time to make a life with another person. But when JD has to return home, the truth comes out. JD tells Jake what he was really doing in Alaska and Jake feels betrayed. But with JD gone, Jake has a hole in his heart, though he’s not sure if he wants the man back. When JD turns up again, can Jake forgive the lies and focus on what was real between them?
This story is part of Dreamspinner’s States of Love collection, the point of which is to showcase something unique to each state while telling a love story. I think Archer did exceptionally well in that regard. I had no trouble imagining the Alaskan landscape, the small towns, or the need to fly everywhere. That coupled with two likable characters made for a nice story.
Both the MCs are fleshed out fairly well, and we got to spend time with both Jake and JD, so we know how both men are thinking and feeling. I was glad for this in the story, as if we hadn’t been able to see Jake’s thoughts, he would have come across as nothing more than a careless player. Because we got to see his growth first hand, I was able to believe he was ready to change his ways and make a different life for himself. In the same regard, I was glad to see JD’s internal struggles with getting involved with Jake, and I loved watching him fall in love with Alaska and with Jake.
I will say, however, that I wished they had gotten together a little earlier in the story. While it made sense that it would take them time to get to that point, the last third of the book felt rushed. As Jake and JD finally get together and start moving forward, the rest of the story happens at a breakneck speed. So that pacing was a bit of an issue for me. Especially because these guys had fantastic chemistry. Their banter and reactions to each other were the highlight of this book. So I really wish I could have seen more of it.
The plot itself was a little predictable in places, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The author handled it well for the most part, and I was definitely invested in the story. I will make note that some of the secondary characters were borderline stereotypes, and that didn’t work as well for me. There were others I enjoyed, particularly Jake’s two closest friends, and they helped to enhance the story. I wish some parts had been developed a little more, but overall, this was a solid, lovely tale.
So I had a few small issues with this book, but overall, it worked really well. I enjoyed the characters and watching them fall in love against the Alaskan backdrop. It’s definitely a feel good tale, and Jake and JD’s reunion at the end made everything worth it.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.