Miguel Ramirez settled in Skagit, Washington and has been there for about three years. He was in the system all his life, finally learning a trade at the side of his last foster parent. Miguel is an auto mechanic at the local car repair shop, and he’s allowed himself to fit in. He’s also bisexual, with a penchant for sleeping with a lot of people. Miguel also has a problem…an abusive ex who has stalked him since their breakup.
Nate Richardson is an FBI agent who fell in love with Skagit when he worked a case there. Speaking of cases, he’s working with another (undercover) agent trying to get info about a human trafficking ring that uses migrant workers who are tricked into coming into the U.S. thinking they’ll have a better life, but instead are dropped into a horror show. Nate meets Miguel the morning after a wedding and offers him a ride home. Their attraction is immediate and the men begins a tentative relationship.
Things are never normal in Skagit and there are circumstances that aren’t making Nate and Miguel’s road to happiness very smooth. Unusual things start happening…flat tires, burnt down houses, and more. Also, the migrant worker case begins to heat up. Can Miguel and Nate make it through these obstacles? Or will a violent event cause their newly discovered love to end before it’s had the chance to begin?
Let me begin by telling you I’m a huge fan of the Accidental Roots series. The setting, the characters, and the stories are compelling and utterly readable. River Home is no different. I picked up my Kindle, and the only reason I didn’t read it straight through was pure exhaustion. I considered taping my eyes open so I could finish. I didn’t even get out of bed the next morning, simply reaching over and picking it right up again.
Elle Keaton always writes characters who are troubled, but also have heart. Miguel and Nate are no different. Miguel loves the friends he’s made in Skagit, but he’s worried they’ll be harmed if his violent ex finds him. Nate has some family issues, some sexuality issues, and on top of that, a partner who’s undercover as a migrant worker picking vegetables in a field. Miguel and Nate make sense as a couple. They’re very nearly broken, but when they’re together, they begin to heal.
I liked the dual plots of the book, and I would actually consider Miguel’s problem to be the primary one. I mentioned Miguel’s ex, Justin, is violent and angry. I’m not giving anything away when I tell you Justin’s found Miguel and wants to end him. The migrant worker/trafficking plot is secondary, but it’s still important. Skagit is on the border of Washington and Canada, so it’s a stopover for gangs who want to bring people and drugs into British Columbia and beyond. Other than Nate being involved with both plots, they don’t get in the way of each other, and the transitions are smoothly written.
The romance aspect of River Home is also interesting. Miguel is a very sexual character who is into hookups rather than relationships. He craves skin to skin contact, but because of the constant threat of Justin, he doesn’t allow himself to get attached to any one lover. On the other hand, Nate is complicated. He’s tried dating women, and even some men, but he’s never been sexually attracted to any of them. I didn’t read anything that said he was a virgin, but Miguel is his first real romantic partner, and he becomes very attracted to him. There’s mention of Nate questioning whether he was asexual, but it’s dismissed. Personally, I’d consider him demisexual. That’s someone who doesn’t feel a sexual attraction unless there’s a strong emotional connection first. As you read, I think you’ll agree with me.
There are a few background characters who play a role in River Home. Gomez, Nate’s partner and friend, Buck and Joey, Miguel’s close friends (Buck is also Miguel’s employer), Melody, Miguel’s sister, and of course, Justin. There are also a few small players and a character or two from some of the other books. They’re all necessary to the story itself, and even though there are quite a few, they never get in the way of Miguel and Nate.
The climax of the book has a decent amount of action and held my attention. It’s got intrigue, violence, and fear. Don’t worry when I say “violence.” You won’t squirm or scream. It’s short and leads to the end. That end wraps up neatly and rather predictably, but that’s not a problem at all. It also sets up what I believe will be a great new way to continue the series.
As you can see, this is book five in the Accidental Roots series. I don’t recommend you start here, but instead read from the beginning with Storm Season. If you’re a fan of mystery and intrigue, multifaceted characters, powerful romance, and hot (but intimate) sex, I believe these books are for you. I can’t recommend them enough, and I look forward to any new installments Elle Keaton is ready to publish.