Rating: 4 stars
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Rhys feels like he’s been on his own for a while. Three years ago, his sister died of cancer and his world turned around. His niece was left in his custody, but his homophobic parents took her away from him and Rhys is just getting through life at this point. When he started working at The Den, his co-workers became his friends, who then became his family. Rhys is all about the quick hook-up, but he really craves more, and a chance meeting with Caleb sets him on a new path yet again.
Caleb almost landed at Rhys’ feet, in the literal sense. An epileptic seizure had him hitting the pavement steps away from Rhys, who rushed to his rescue. Caleb has dealt with a lot. He grew up in foster care, lost most of his hearing, and still fears his abusive ex. He wants to believe in Caleb, but it’s incredibly difficult. His social anxiety and fear of intimacy rule him and he has no idea why someone like Rhys would want to be with him. But Rhys and Caleb just fit together and Caleb has to learn to trust again to get the future he always dreamed of.
I have enjoyed all of the books in The Den Boys series and Sweet Surrender brings us to book four with Rhys and Caleb’s story. Mostly this book does stand alone. However, the guys at The Den have created a found family and they do appear across all of the books and it definitely enriches the series to be familiar with all of them.
This book is split between the men forming a relationship and them figuring out their lives. Rhys is at loose ends after his sister died and his relationship with his parents is strained. He sees his niece whenever he can, but it’s a struggle to get time with her. Once Rhys came out, he was all about as many hookups as he could find, but now that his friends are settling down, he realizes he longs for intimacy.
Caleb is a unique book character in that he is hearing impaired and has epilepsy. He grew up in the foster care system and is anxiety ridden and shaky after getting out of an abusive relationship. His ex destroyed his self esteem and he truly believes no one will want to be with him because he has so much to deal with. Rhys sees beyond Caleb’s disabilities and just wants to be with him and is completely caring and goes at Caleb’s pace. Caleb has intimacy issues as well that stemmed from his prior relationship and Rhys is patient and truly comes to care for him.
Brennan excels at writing intimate moments and these scenes were a little different from the rest of the series in that Caleb needed a slower pace and his anxiety ruled him most of the time. Rhys was the perfect balance to him as they created the family they both always wanted. While these two characters and their story didn’t resonate with me as much as the other characters in the series, I enjoyed being back in this world. Tristan’s story seems to be up next and I will look forward to another chapter involving The Den Boys.