family tiesRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Blake Bartlett’s life has not turned out like he expected. He and his husband have been separated for a year when an accident takes his husband’s life. Now Blake is heading back home to Havendale, Florida and the huge Bartlett clan to raise his daughter. He comes clean about the secret he was keeping from his family and vows to start fresh.

Working in the office of the family’s construction company is a no brainer, but Blake doesn’t expect to meet Lincoln Coleman. Linc is one of the foremen, and he’s the most beautiful man Blake has ever seen. What starts as a casual flirtation quickly escalates to more.

But the Bartlett family is a bit overwhelming, and Linc asks Blake if they can keep things quiet. It doesn’t sit easy with Blake; he swore he was done keeping secrets. And when an offhand comment seems to confirm Linc’s worries, Blake wonders if the potential conflict is too much for their relationship. It’s going to take some tough conversation to finally get to their happily ever after.

Dennison has penned a low angst, mostly sweet tale about a man who comes home to start over and finds a new beginning. While I had some issues in the beginning of the book, I was soon invested and involved with watching Blake fix his life and find his new forever.

Coming from a huge family myself, I know exactly how Blake feels and interacts with his clan. Fortunately, though some of his relatives meddle a little, they are all good hearted people who only want what’s best for their family. I liked that Blake fell easily back into his routine, and that everyone jumped in to help with his daughter. I liked that the secondary characters here were well fleshed out and never overwhelming. Well, they were on occasion, where they were supposed to be. But it was a lovely support system for Blake, and I think the author handled it well.

I wanted to get to know Linc a little better. A couple of things were brought up about him, but never really explored. What we did get to see about Linc was great. He fell quickly for Blake, and for Blake’s daughter. This book is told in third person, but only from Blake’s POV, and I felt like I was missing Linc a bit at times. But the chemistry between the MCs was off the charts and these guys really worked well together. I could buy their HEA at the end.

So the beginning was a little rough for me, as I said earlier. I felt like there were some definite pacing issues and the slow first few chapters didn’t engage me enough. I was waiting for things to get going. But I’m glad I stuck with because the story picked up and really worked. The ending, conversely, was a little rushed for my tastes. But I appreciated the epilogue that wrapped things up at the end.

All in all, this was a nice start to a series. As least two upcoming characters were introduced, and I have an idea about another one. Dennison did a good job writing in interesting characters without letting any potential sequels overwhelm the plot. If you’re looking for something low angst, with nice characters and a fun family, then this one is definitely for you.

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