Adam Hathaway moved to Red Creek two years ago after a bad break-up left him shattered. He’s teaching first grade now and keeping up with his sister’s family, but his life is otherwise rather sterile. The single ladies of Red Creek have been trying to win Adam’s favor, but he’s avoided their attention—not that he’s wanted it; he’s gay, but not really vocal about it. Not after the troubles he had in his last position. It’s near the end of the school year and a new student has turned up in Mr. Hathaway’s class, Caroline Fenton. She’s a sweet girl, who’s confided that her mother died recently. Adam first meets Caroline’s father, Kyle, when he’s late to pick up Caroline from school. There’s an immediate attraction, though Adam covers it with a gruff frustration for Kyle’s tardiness.
Kyle’s still adjusting to his new life back in Red Creek. He and his daughter have returned to his childhood home to live with his dad—and share the expenses and responsibility of caring for Caroline now that his partner had died. Kyle was event planner back in Seattle, but the long hours were too difficult to keep with a newborn daughter; years ago he transitioned to virtual assistant to manage his work/life balance. While it’s a job he can do remotely, his schedule is pretty much round the clock managing big and small crises for a few clients.
Kyle and Adam continue to run into each other—at pick-up basketball games, at the grocery, and when Kyle’s late to collect Caroline. It’s not always natural, they do get “set up” by Adam’s sister once, which results in a big misunderstanding. Adam recognizes that Kyle’s in a bad way—emotionally and financially. He offers to be a friend to Kyle, and they connect as friends for a while. And, Caroline’s on board; she likes Mr. Hathaway. This works specifically because Adam is honor-bound not to have a relationship with a student’s parent, and they need to keep intimacy off the menu until the school year ends. When the last day of school comes, however, it’s not long before Kyle and Adam make sexytimes happen.
Despite the comfort of his father’s support, Kyle isn’t set on staying in Red Creek. Adam doesn’t want to fall for Kyle, knowing that he might move. Unfortunately, he didn’t guard his heart closely enough. But, the more Kyle stays, the more he recognizes there’s value in being around people who love him, and want to help. He see how happy Caroline is, having made friends with classmates and daughters of Kyle’s childhood friends. The security of their life is upset, however, when Kyle needs a more stable job, and he’s faced with relocating again to have a position that’s in line with his experience.
I liked this one. It’s very methodical in building the friendship and then the romance between Adam and Kyle. There’s a bit of sweet sexytimes, but that’s secondary to the romance. Kyle grew a lot in this, recognizing that his ideas/ideals got in the way of his reality. Adam had to loosen up and let someone in again, which wasn’t easy for him to do. There are some really nice secondary characters, including Kyle’s father and best friend, and Adam’s sister. The small-town dynamic was really focused, as well, with Kyle’s big-city ideals being a real culture clash for him. His eclectic style is one thing that attracts Adam, and sparks the interest, too.
It’s a little on the long side and dragged just a little in the middle, for me, but I did enjoy it. I found Adam’s competitiveness to be funny and Kyle’s openness to be charming. He’s desperate to be a good father and a supportive partner, and those are traits I connect with easily.