David’s partner, Kyle, died two years ago from cancer. While David is a successful lawyer, he’s quite lonely and he keeps himself busy at work and pushes himself at the gym. He feels that at the age of forty-eight, he needs to work that much harder and staying busy keeps his mind off of Kyle. David is starting to feel that he could possibly begin to date again, but the landscape has changed since his last date as he was with Kyle for over fifteen years. So David continues to push his workouts, which is how he injures himself and winds up with Brandon as a physical therapist.
Brandon has recently moved from Texas to Virginia and, while he has a steady job, school loans and the cost of living have him on a tight budget. Brandon is instantly attracted to David and it doesn’t bother him that David is over twenty years older than him. Even at work Brandon can’t help but flirt with David and when he learns that David is hesitant about dating again, Brandon offers him a practice date.
Over coffee, David and Brandon know there could be something between them, but David is hesitant about having a much younger lover and Brandon doesn’t want to be seen as a kept man. But the passion burns bright between them and they take tentative steps toward building a relationship. Yet, the world and their acquaintances will see what they want to see and when assumptions are made, it draws a wedge between the men. It may take an unforeseen tragedy to bind them together and overcome the last of their resistance to find their way to everlasting love.
When I initially read the blurb for this book, I passed, as large age differences aren’t what I usually choose to read. It was then a smart decision to go back and take a chance with this one as September is a finely crafted and well-written debut book of love, loss, and healing.
The book opens in a similar fashion to a play as the scene is set by an unknown narrator. We then meet David. David still lives in the same home he shared with Kyle and still works hard as a lawyer. He has taken up Crossfit and gives his all to his workouts. He works out to stay in shape and also to drown out any excess noise in his head. He misses Kyle and the life they had and while he starts to think he may be ready to date, the thought of it all is incredibly daunting.
While Brandon is in his 20s, he’s looking for something or someone more stable. Sure he’s had hookups, but random men are not his preference and he’s genuinely attracted to all of David and the men have a lot in common. The men fall into bed easily and often and they are highly compatible in the bedroom as well as out of it. There is also a realistic push and pull of Brandon being completely on board and then thinking things are moving too fast. He has legitimate concerns about whether David can truly move on and he lets his so-called friends get in his head with their comments of David being older and wealthy. David, for his part, isn’t sure he can fully move on. His loss is acute and an important component of the book, but his grief is portrayed realistically and doesn’t overwhelm the story. He also lets outside noise cloud his judgment of what is truly happening between him and Brandon and when he lets a situation get away from him, he pushes Brandon away.
And there was the tension and the scene that pushed them apart. Yet, Winter wasn’t quite finished with the men or us as he went deeper and added multiple layers of tragedy to their story. This all, of course, works best when you read it fresh and in context and discussing any of it further would do a great disservice to the flow of the book. And then Kyle, remember Kyle, David’s deceased lover? While he’s not an on page character, never underestimate Kyle as Winter skillfully pulls the entire story full circle.
September is a book filled with hurt and comfort, moving on and finding love, and living your best life. This book marks the start of a new series by the author and I will look forward to what he has set up next in this world and would encourage you to do the same.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.