David Delaney is an early 40s, out, gay man living in the Houston suburbs, working full time while also caring for his elderly Alzheimer’s afflicted father. It’s rough to be a caregiver, which is a theme the book explores explicitly. David’s father was always an outspoken bigot, never really accepting David’s sexuality, but the more time they spend now, the less his father remembers; David comes out nearly every day. And most days, it’s an ordeal. As a result, David’s social life expired when he father moved in a year ago.
David returns home from work one afternoon to discover the house open and his father missing. He scours the neighborhood, but can’t find him anywhere, so David seeks help at his local precinct where he meets Detective Travis Hart. Travis has recently broken up with the younger man hew was living with—long hours make for lonely days, and that young thang wasn’t willing to wait for Travis to come home for his satisfaction. Meeting David is a boon, not because they get it on (they don’t at first), but because each man really needs a good friend at this moment. They find David’s dad and make plans to connect via the phone for conversation, with the possibility for more later.
David knows he needs to get some day caregivers for his father, but he’s not wealthy. He seeks out adult sitters through his father’s church, and hires a lovely Mexican-American woman, but his father’s mental state is deteriorating more rapidly than David had expected, or noticed. That’s not on him, really, it’s often hard for caregivers to see how debilitated their charges have become from so close a perspective. As a reader, we get the father’s POV and the rapidly worsening paranoia kept me fearing the worst.
In the meantime, as the weeks go on David and Travis build a rapport with phone conversations and text. I really liked watching their affection grow. Soon, Travis has that willing ear he’s long needed when his job gets too brutal to bear. And David has a trusted confidante to confess his dicey predicament with his father.
They do move their friendship into the physical, and it’s really sweet when that happens. David is a great guy and considers his father’s needs first for roughly 80% of the book—while Travis is a patient and understanding partner. These are two mature men looking for companionship above all else, who happen to find themselves rather sexually compatible, too.
There are some super tense moments, with David and Travis and the hazards of both cop life and elder care. I really don’t want to spoil it, but each man is the other’s rock whenever necessary and that gave a lot of heart to the story. The love aspect was maybe a touch fast for my liking, but I assumed there were far more conversations through which these men forged a deep emotional bond than those bits I read on the page. I think people who enjoy stories of complicated families, dementia, and building friendships before love will like this one. Expect mortal peril, in more than one sense, and for these guys to make it to their HEA.
Note: This is a second edition re-release; I can’t comment on changes or updates as I didn’t read the first edition.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.