Leo Winthrop is at loose ends. Therapy doesn’t seem to be working, and he doesn’t want to think about his past anyway. When Leo meets Nolan Young on a deserted beach, he’s drawn to the sad looking man. Though they part ways, they meet again later at a club, and begin a tentative relationship. But Nolan is dealing with a lot, and he makes a bad choice that leaves Leo questioning what he thought he knew.
Nolan’s father is the mayor of small Sutter’s Bay, and a homophobic bigot, so Nolan has been hiding himself for a long time. Meeting Leo has him reevaluating his choices, and Leo gives him the opportunity to finally get out from underneath his father’s thumb. But though the two young men are trying to find their way, someone is determined to cause them trouble and keep Nolan from finding happiness at all costs.
This books is the fourth and final book in Lane’s Sutter’s Bay Series, and though I have read them all, it works fine on its own. So feel free to start here, or with any of the books in the series, and jump right in. Quick note that this book, and the series, have been rereleased with a new publisher, and it seems that the content has not changed.
This story was short and sweet, a perfect early morning read, and I really enjoyed the characters. Leo has had some bad things happen in his past, some abuse, and he’s trying to work through it on his own. What I like here is that he’s got a fairly solid head on his shoulders, and even though he fighting therapy, there’s a part of him that realizes that. He’s also a natural caretaker and fixer, and Nolan needs that so much. After the life of abuse he’s lived, he needs someone to shelter him so he can learn to stand on his own.
These guys worked so well together, and I give the author credit for writing guys who lean on each other, and in Nolan’s case gets protected, while also giving them the ability to work on themselves. Too many times, one MC swoops in to save the other MC and then there’s magical fixing. That’s not the case here, though there is saving. Nolan gets the support he needs to stand up. And in the process, Leo gets the strength to work on himself. And they have great chemistry, so their emotions and feelings feel real and wonderful. Leo is Nolan’s first in every way, and the way Leo cares for Nolan is just lovely. But despite the newness and their young age, these guys really have me believing that they could, in fact, find forever with each other.
That said, this book moves really fast. It’s short and so some of the larger plotlines are ill defined. While the focus remains on the MCs, and the big plot of them finding love with each other, some of the other aspects go by the wayside. I would have liked much more explanation about Nolan’s life growing up, and have unanswered questions there. The resolution was quick and pat, and larger consequences and more of a drawn out conclusion would have been welcome.
But the characters make it work, which I find is a hallmark of this author’s style. Characters are the strong suit, and that’s the case again here. These guys are young and in love, and work so well together. So I really liked this book, and if it sounds appealing to you, then definitely pick this, and the entire series, up.