Shamed and going through a bad divorce, Ira Fragale has run away from his old life. He winds up nearly as far away as possible, in Skagit, Washington. It’s the place his father (an FBI agent) was murdered 20 years earlier. Ira buys a 500 square foot cabin deep in the woods, determined to be as private and reclusive as possible…unless he’s at his job as a barista at The Booking Room, a popular coffee shop, or at The Loft, Skagit’s most gay friendly bar, picking up young twinks for one night stands.
Cameron McCulloch tends bar at The Loft, and he absolutely hates having to watch Ira leave with a different man every night. Some time back, he and Ira spent a weekend together that (at least to Cam) was wonderful…full of laughing, talking, and making love. However, Ira broke Cam’s heart, telling him he was too young for him and there was no future for them. Already troubled because his “loving” family kicked him out of the house at the age of 18 for being gay, Cam tries to forget all about Ira and concentrate on his job and his friends.
An attack on Cam and an illness for Ira bring the men together, and Ira realizes he does, indeed, want Cam in his life. Skeptical, Cam agrees to try a relationship, but he’s not sure Ira is being serious. As the police and FBI agents in Skagit begin to close in on the man suspected of murdering Ira’s father, Ira and Cam have to lean on each other to stay safe. Can their blossoming relationship survive?
I’ve been with the Accidental Roots series from the beginning and I’ve really enjoyed them. Elle Keaton has written multi-dimensional, believable, interesting characters that stayed with me even after I finished the books. They’re full of mystery and action, as well as couples who are romantic and sexy. Unforgivable is no different, and it’s a perfect addition to the series.
Ira and Cameron were great: well fleshed out and well written. We get a real feel for what’s happening in their heads and hearts. Ira is suffering with shame, anger, and sorrow from losing his wife and son. Meanwhile, Cam can’t get over a feeling of abandonment after his deeply religious parents kicked him out as soon as he was legal because he was gay. Yes, he’s made some good friends and has a decent job. He just wants more…college, a partner who will love him, and a place to call his own. I found both men to be sympathetic without being overwhelmed. I wanted to comfort them. I do admit I wasn’t terribly fond of Ira at the beginning. He was surly and rude, and not just to Cam. Of course, as the story moves along, I was able to see why he acted that way. I really liked how he grew as a person, and once he broke through his barriers, how loving and caring he became.
Ira and Cam were very sexual. We aren’t treated to any real detail about what happened between them on that magical weekend, but when they finally came together, there was explosive chemistry…the touching, talking, and even their cuddling. However, the sex scenes aren’t gratuitous, and each one fits the story. Explosive, but sweet, they were mirroring what was going on in their lives. (Still seriously hot, though.)
Along with Ira and Cam’s love story, there is the underlying mystery of who attacked Cam and who murdered Ira’s father. The answer is topical and current. It will make you feel angry that issues like this still exist in 2018. I found this to be interesting and I was thoroughly engaged. Personally, I feel like this could take the series in a whole new direction with all new bad guys and heroes, and I really hope I’m correct.
There are a few background characters that played an important part in Unforgivable. Sterling and Evan are good friends of Cam’s. They’re protective and want to take care of him. Ruth is an older lady who lived near Cam’s family when he was growing up. They’re very close, and Cam goes to visit and chat every now and then. She’s also feisty and funny. Loved her! Rod and Travis are firefighters who come into The Loft once fire season is over. They’re friendly with Cam. I have a feeling they’ll be the next couple in the series. We also had Ira’s son and ex wife. I’d expected trouble with them, but I was pleasantly surprised. Cam also has a sister who comes in toward the end. She’s nice and genuinely wants to get to know him again. I must also mention FBI agent Adam Klay. He has been featured in the series from the beginning. He’s cool as a cucumber, but deep down, I think he really loves Skagit and it’s townsfolk. As it often goes with stories in small towns, Skagit also becomes a character. There are interesting people and interesting (and some bad) things go on there. The author paints a detailed picture of the town…the houses, the stores, the streets. There’s a downtown, a residential area, and a lot of woods. It seems like an inviting place to live…crimes excluded, of course 🙂
The ending had some action, but the sequence wasn’t long or drawn out. That happens sometimes in stories like these. This was the perfect length with the perfect amount of detail. It wrapped up nicely, and it was satisfying…even though it left me anxious for more. I was quite pleased with the whole book.
While you don’t necessarily have to read the first five books in the series, I recommend you do. There are some character crossovers and mentions of past goings on in Skagit. A bit of exposition is given, but I think you’ll have a richer experience with Unforgivable if you start at the beginning. Plus, the books are excellent reads and I highly recommend them, as well as recommending you pick this one up.
I can’t wait to see what comes next.