Bishop Ridge is the second novel in Cate Ashwood’s Sawyer’s Ferry series. Set in the hospital of a small Alaskan town, this novel picks up almost directly from the first book, Alaska. While it could be read as a standalone, I would not recommend it. I feel you would lose the backstory for the entire premise of this novel, namely, Logan finally moving on from the longtime crush he’s had on his best friend, fellow surgeon, Gage. Now that Gage and Holden are a couple, Logan is forced to come to terms with his own lack of long term relationships—in other words, the fact that he tends to have one night stands and not much more. So, when the opportunity arises to take the surgical supplies and much needed medical support run to the remote town of Belcourt, Logan jumps at the chance. Logan is looking forward to getting away and having a break and then Jackson walks into the clinic and everything changes.
Jackson is a drifter—a guy who takes temporary jobs and then moves on, never setting down roots. Perhaps it is because of his past, one that he rarely speaks of or cares to think too much about, or maybe it is because he just doesn’t like the idea of relationships. Either way, he was never expecting for the hot doc from Sawyer’s Ridge to get under his skin so fast and so hard. They are worlds apart in so many ways, but all that seems to dissolve when they are together. The sex is scorching, the company pleasing, and damn if his feelings aren’t changing. However, Jackson is slated to go to New Mexico in two months and not even Logan can convince him to stay…or can he?
I like this series by author Cate Ashwood. Focusing on relationships and emotions, along with a dose of hospital procedure, the characters are fairly standard guys all with some definite reservations at handing over their hearts to just anyone. These novels are hard work when it comes to building trust, despite the fact that the falling in love aspect seems to come fast and furious. It’s the emotional reservation that the guys have that keep Logan and Jackson’s story from falling into a cliched love at first sight sort of novel. Instead, we feel the turmoil, confusion, and fear building in both men when they realize the one night stand they were both craving is morphing into something more. Those reactions are written with such a genuine feel to them that I found myself sucked into the mindset of both Logan and Jackson and rooting for them to succeed. It wasn’t going to be an easy victory for these guys and both were going to have to allow for some serious concessions if they were ever going to move beyond the hook up stage.
In many ways, this novel relied more on individual growth rather than establishing a couple. Both Logan and Jackson were not easily swayed when it came to throwing all in and pursuing a monogamous relationship, so every time they inched closer to the real thing, there was a big payoff for the reader in terms of belief that these two guys could actually make a go of it. In the end, it would mean letting go of some real fear on Jackson’s part and the courage for Logan to open up his heart once more after pining after Gage for so long. Ashwood skillfully guides her men through the pitfalls and brings us right to the brink, keeping us guessing as to whether or not they will succeed.
I enjoyed Bishop Ridge almost as much as the first in this series. I really hope the next installment picks up on one of Jackson’s friends, Witt, who really peaked my curiosity in this novel. Until then enjoy Logan and Jackson’s story.