When Brook decides to remain at Sunset Beach in North Carolina in order to care for his grandad, he knows he is giving up on the idea of ever finding the romance he craves—the one he reads about most days in those notebooks in that run down mailbox on the deserted end of the beach. There, people leave handwritten letters in notebooks to loves lost, loves renewed, and loves hoped for. In between watching over his grandad and trying to run the inn where he works, Brook has little time for much more than an occasional weekend fling. Then Dane arrives, the nephew of the inn’s owner and a man who has more baggage than what he carries in with him at check-in.
Dane has spent a great deal of his life building up the walls around his heart in order to survive. Between the mother he never knew walking away from him, his father being indicted for stealing from his clients, and his best friend with benefits up and marrying a girl, Dane has had his fair share of abandonment and is determined not to let anyone else close enough to burn him again. With his father about to be paroled and Dane determined to try and reestablish a connection with the man, he grudgingly accepts his father’s request to meet with the uncle he doesn’t know. Two things snag Dane immediately—the beauty of the inn that he discovers he now half owns and the gentle young man who runs most of the operations there, Brook. Now Dane must make some difficult decisions—should he invest everything he has to save the inn and give up the life he has in New York? If not, can he say goodbye to Brook who has somehow managed to slip in under the barriers he has built or should he actually take the risk and give love a try? With time running out and decisions to be made, Dane must either step up or run and hide.
Author Sloan Johnson offers up a new States of Love novel called, His Kindred Spirit. Set in a remote beach community in North Carolina, this story is all about trusting your heart—something neither Brook nor Dane have had much success with in the past. For Brook, he has never felt he really measures up and doesn’t think he is really good for much more than a summer fling with no strings and no commitment. Given that he barely makes ends meet with his job at the inn and is caring for his aging grandfather, he hardly considers himself a catch. Brook gamely accepts the idea that for now, at least, love is a remote if not impossible dream and he gets his romance fix by religiously scanning the entries in the notebooks kept inside the mailbox on the beach—a place where people often leave notes to those they love. He can’t hope but dream that maybe someday someone will leave a note for him.
Dane has had one disappointment in life after another and has written off the idea of love completely. It was bad enough he virtually lost a chance at a real family life, but when his best friend whom he has secretly been crushing on meets the girl of his dreams, Dane faces the fact that love is not in the cards for him. Then he meets Brook and everything begins to change. The two men have an instant rapport and before long they also find a joint desire to save the inn from having to be sold in order to pay off bad debts. Dane begins to wonder if a life at the beach with the guy who has slowly found a place in his heart is possible after all.
This is a quick romance and yet one that rings true. There is a natural connection between Dane and Brook that the author creates almost immediately and then builds upon using the backdrop of the crisis with the inn as a means of cementing their feelings for each other. This is more than two guys hooking up, there is a shared passion for a legacy that is in danger. It’s a place that represents an anchor to a shattered family Dane desperately wants to rebuild and a second home for Brook that he loves. The two men work together in order to save the inn and while doing so, fall in love. It’s not a perfect romance as there is doubt on both sides, but it is done in an easy and seamless way that allows for both men to gradually let go of their self-doubts.
His Kindred Spirit is a sweet summer read kind of romance—a perfect novel to chase away winter doldrums and afford a bit of escape.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.