Kyle Skelton is returning to Chicago from Europe because his grandfather has passed away. Kyle spent a lot of his childhood with Gramps because his mother was a drug addict and his father (Gramps’ son) was completely absent in his life. Now, Kyle is home to plan Gramps’ funeral and clear out his apartment. He also must find a home for Riggs, Gramps’ senior dog because he can’t bring him back to Europe with him.
Darrell Baines is a real estate lawyer who lived next door to Gramps, and even though Gramps fussed at him, Darrell took care of him, making sure he ate healthy and that Riggs saw the vet. Darrell is the one who discovered the body and took Riggs into his apartment with his own dog, Lacey. Darrell does most of his work from home and is sort of a recluse in training. At first, he’s not sure about Kyle, but he begins to warm to him when he realizes Kyle isn’t just looking for money or material things.
Within a few days, Kyle and Darrell are walking Riggs and Lacey together and finding a friendship. One night, when the power is shut off in Gramps’ apartment, Kyle heads to Darrell’s to crash. Instead, Darrell offers to take Kyle to see a favorite band. Their chemistry explodes and they wind up in bed. Both men know this can only be temporary, but their attraction is powerful. How will they cope when the time comes for Kyle to leave? And what will become of Riggs?
I went into Caring for Riggs expecting a bit of fluff with a happy ending. I thought it would be a light read before bed, but I got quite a bit more. Kyle had left Chicago and Gramps behind for a party-planning career in Europe. His mother was dead. His father was never in his life, and Gramps was distant and not terribly nurturing. Now, Kyle is faced with a feeling of guilt for leaving and not being in regular contact with him, no matter how Gramps acted. Kyle touched me. There was so much more to him than the well dressed, cosmopolitan man he appears to be. His grief seems to have taken him off guard, and it truly crashes into him when he begins to clear Gramps’ closet and finds a box full of memories. I liked how he loved Riggs, even though he’d been apart from him for years. His chemistry with Darrell is off the charts, and he seemed surprised by it.
Darrell hit home for me. I mentioned he is sort of a recluse in training. He works from home and doesn’t really have to interact with too many people besides his family. This is me to a T. His main confidante is Lacey, his dog. Mine (other than the hubs, of course) are our cats. He spends a lot of time on the computer doing research. I spend a lot of time on my computer…well, I spend a lot of time on my computer. I don’t think Darrell wanted to like Kyle. He was expecting an ungrateful man who left his grandfather behind and is only back to see what he could get.
The men have a powerful chemistry and it was damn near instant. Sometimes, something that fast feels forced, but this wasn’t the case with Caring for Riggs. Considering this is only a novella, and how Kyle had a job and a life in Europe, they had to come together quickly. Their relationship was sweet, caring, and extremely sexy. I loved how Darrell was there for Kyle, but he wasn’t pushy. He knew when Kyle needed his space and didn’t press. He didn’t try to hassle Kyle into staying (even though he wanted him to stay) because he didn’t want to come between him and the job he seemed to love, and he was more than willing to participate in a long distance relationship until they could get their situation straightened out.
One of my favorite things about Caring for Riggs was some of the lovely descriptions Bonnie Dee included. It isn’t what I would consider purple prose, but there was some beautiful writing here. My favorite was:
He tightened his arms around Kyle, keeping him anchored there while inhaling the scent of hair so red, he half expected it to make him sneeze like cayenne pepper.
Gorgeous, am I right?
I want to offer a trigger warning that Caring for Riggs does involve the loss of a pet. Further details and my feelings about this are behind the spoiler tag for those of you who are interested.
I’d like to talk for a few minutes about Riggs’ death. I didn’t expect it. The blurb for the book did not mention it. Yes, it said Riggs’ health took a turn for the worse, but that’s not the same. I’m an animal lover and I know what the loss of a pet feels like. Reading about Riggs broke my heart and I just cried and cried. Frankly, I read for pleasure and one of the last things I want to read about it the death of an animal. I guess I was just expecting Kyle and Darrell would live happily ever after with Lacey and Riggs, with anything bad taking place “off camera” when the story ended. However, I will say the scene was well written, and it obviously brought out the raw emotion that goes along with saying goodbye to a beloved member of the family. This being said, I may not have chosen this book if I’d have known.
All in all, Caring for Riggs was a good story about loss and love. It brought out strong emotions and that is a sign of great writing. With the one caveat mentioned in the spoiler, I recommend this book for fans of flawed characters, romance, humor, and some sexy fun.