Ocean’s Apart by J.K. Hogan is one of those novels that is just pure romance shrouded in lovely sweetness from beginning to end. While there may be a few tiny flaws here and there, they truly are minimized by the incredible appeal of both Leo and Sellars. Two men who could not be more polar opposites, but who create an instant bond first due to lust and then to genuine affection and growing love are the stars of this novel. Sellars, both naïve and yet aware of how much of the world he wants to experience, is ripe for a relationship and Leo, weary and disillusioned with the life he has been leading, is ready for change.
Sellars has lived his whole life under the increasingly crushing dream his father has for him—marry, have heirs, take over the family farm, and live, breathe, and die in the same place without ever really experiencing the world. Having not even seen the ocean, which is a mere ninety minutes away, Sellars has been clandestinely taking online college courses and dreaming of escaping the farm life he seems so deeply rooted to without ever being asked if that is his real desire. If his secret hopes are not enough to alienate his parents, Sellars has also long known he is gay and that is something he keeps deep in the closet—until Leo opens the door.
Leo has left his life and rather controlling parents on the west coast to come east and find the joy that has been missing from his life. When a breakdown leaves his car stranded in the middle of nowhere with parts that will take more than a few days to procure, Leo is taken in by Sellars and his parents. Welcomed like a long lost son, Leo falls into the rhythm of farm life and into the arms of its native son, Sellars. Very aware that Sellars is a virgin in many ways and not just sexually, Leo is hesitant to give into the lust coursing through his veins, but the farmboy is willing and before either know it, they are falling steadily into more than just simple attraction.
I loved how when the chips were down for Sellars, his sisters rallied around him and how his mother did as well. I also reveled in the idea that Leo was a top despite being the more diminutive of the two men and Sellars was just so happy to submit. Theirs was a somewhat magical coupling both in the bedroom and in all the secret moments they steal to be together. Leo had scruples and nowhere were they more apparent than his reluctance to tie Sellars to himself when he knew the young man had so little experience. But it was the tenderness, the intimate moments when the two men explored each other, that really stood out in this novel. Wrapped around those encounters was a fast moving story that allowed the reader to really get inside the hearts and minds of Leo and Sellars and meet the wonderful side cast of characters that revolved around them.
Oceans Apart by J.K. Hogan is sure to be a hit with those who are looking for a beautiful love story. It is a promise that dreams really can come true when you are willing to take the risk and have faith that your own happiness is worth all the work you may have to do in order to see them realized. For the romantics of the world—this story is for you.