Sean Flanagan is coming to America from Ireland to attend the weddings of his newly found sisters. Turns out, his father married another woman after he left Ireland and had three daughters with her. His sisters tracked Sean down on the internet and want to welcome him into their family. He’s anxious over the whole thing. His mother has never loved him, not only because he reminds her of his father, but because he’s the bastard child of an accused terrorist. She also hates him because he’s gay. Sean is also so far in the closet he, as they saying goes, may as well be in Narnia. He’s afraid he’ll lose his job as a bartender in a small, conservative town where he lives. The poor man is convinced his new family will be disgusted by him if they find out he’s gay.
Hayden is the personal assistant of Carly, the oldest Flanagan sister. He’s an out and proud gay man, and he’s very nearly a member of the family. He meets Sean at Carly’s company (a billion dollar one, at that), showing him around the building when Carly is called into a last minute meeting. There is an instant attraction, and Hayden flirts with Sean, but Sean panics and blows him off. At first, Hayden is confused, and maybe a little upset, but he becomes determined to win Sean over.
I’ll start out by telling you A Place to Belong is the fourth in a series…an MF series. I actually didn’t realize this when I chose it. When I figured it out, I was a little concerned as I’ve not read any MF stories in heaven knows how long. However, I didn’t need to be worried. While the sisters and their fiancees play important roles in the book, they didn’t distract me from Sean and Hayden. In fact, they enhanced it for me because they were just so welcoming to Sean and showed him the true meaning of familial love.
The cast of characters in A Place to Belong was just about perfect. Sean’s vulnerability alongside Hayden’s confidence was a great mix…not too strong. Sometimes, a character who is terrified of being outed/not being accepted can grate on my nerves. Too much self pity is…well…too much. Also, when there are a lot of characters to keep track of, I find myself getting bogged down in the details. Once again, keeping in mind this is the fourth book in a series, I could have easily been lost, but the ongoing plot was not overwhelming at all. There was not a bad person in the bunch. It’s quite refreshing to not have an abusive ex or a corporate villain popping up out of nowhere.
Sean and Hayden have fantastic chemistry. They’re perfect for each other. Hayden is supportive and loving. He’s also gentle with the soul of a man who sees himself as entirely broken. When they got together, I was so happy for them. It was almost like seeing two dear friends finally discovering they’re meant to be. Also, a real bonus is they were so good with teens in trouble. Hayden volunteers at a center and brings Sean along.
Claire Boston’s writing style is smooth and detailed, but it’s not tedious in its descriptions. I was able to picture the scenes in my head nicely, but I didn’t get bored at all. She also brings the heat when it comes to the sex, but most of it takes place “off camera.” There is kissing and some touching, but none of it is explicit. You all know by now, I enjoy a hot sex scene. I was not bothered in the least by the lack of bow chicka bow wow.
A Place to Belong wraps up neatly, and I was very satisfied. It left me with a warm feeling and a smile. I highly recommend it.