Owen Richards lives in a small town, owns a bakery, and seems to be generally happy. One thing is missing, though. Even though Owen has a live in boyfriend, Jonah, they’re not in love anymore. They stopped kissing each other hello and goodbye, and while they are sleeping in the same bed, they haven’t had sex in months. Also frustrating for Owen is the kitchen remodel. Jonah decided to do it on his own, but it’s not going well. Topping off an already difficult day (even though it’s early morning), Owen nearly gets hit by a truck, and when he sees who is driving that truck, he becomes angry.
Brody Walker is that driver. He’s come back to Haven’s Cove after 15 years away. He doesn’t want to be there, but his mother is dying and he’s come to put some demons to rest, including an apology to a certain man who he treated badly in high school. Things go from bad to worse when Brody is hired as a contractor to do a kitchen remodel and realizes whose house it is.
Both men acknowledge there’s an attraction to each other, but they’re each broken in their own way. Can Owen let go of the past, and can Brody face a future without his mother, trying to come to terms with who he is and continuing work for forgiveness for past sins?
Hard to Let Go had a little of everything…a small town, a second chance, and just enough angst to hold my interest without overwhelming me. I enjoyed it very much and I consider it to be an outstanding first novel for author Jaclyn Quinn.
I really liked Owen and Brody. I felt like I understood both of them. I was bullied in school and held on to my anger and confusion until my 20th high school reunion when I got several apologies from the people who were mean to me. I was able to let go and forgive. Because of that, I was able to appreciate what each man was going through. Also, as I read, I was able to see the strength both men had, but didn’t realize it.
Owen and Brody had great chemistry from when they encountered each other on the street in Haven’s Cove, right to the very end. Their sexual relationship was incredibly hot. The sex scenes were awesome, but they weren’t gratuitous. I feel like it was almost a comfort for the both of them. Their connection was off the charts and that made me feel connected to them. The actual love story was gradual and natural. It certainly wasn’t a case of instalove. The pace of not only their relationship, but the whole book, was smooth and well written. I was impressed with how immersed I felt.
There are a few background characters who played a significant role in the story. Brody’s best friend Gabe is also gay. He was…dramatic…but he only had Brody’s best interests at heart (also, I smell a sequel with his story). Owen’s mother and aunt played smaller roles, but they were important. Owen had three women who supported him and what he wanted from life: his mother, his aunt, and his cousin Leslie (aka “Red”). I thought Leslie was almost as over the top as Gabe, but once again, she loved Owen and wanted only what’s best for him. There is Jonah, of course, who above all else was friends with Owen even when they realized they’d fallen out of love. Finally, there is a small cameo by one of Brody’s high school friends. He was still as much of a loser/jerk/asshole as he was back then, but the scene in which he appears was a pivotal point in the book.
The ending wrapped everything up nicely. It was predictable, but that was perfectly fine by me. I love an HEA, and this one was heavy on the H. When I finished the book, I felt like I’d made some new friends. I honestly wouldn’t mind spending time in Haven’s Cove with Owen, Brody, and all their friends. I’m very happy to have gotten the chance to read Hard to Let Go, and I highly recommend it.