Noah has known for years that he is bisexual. His twin brother is gay and Noah has always supported him, but Noah suffers from anxiety and depression and he has no idea how to tell his brother, or anyone, how he feels. When Jesse is hired at the bar that Noah works at, he knows it will be harder to keep everything to himself as Jesse is the most beautiful person he has ever seen. Noah wants to tell Jesse how he feels, but that would also mean telling Jesse that he is a virgin.
Jesse is happy to have a job and some steady money coming in. While it’s not enough to get him out of the hostel he is living in, it’s something. At the age of 16, Jesse was banished from the polygamist cult he was raised in and with no knowledge of the outside world, he suffered abuse at the hands of those he thought he could trust. Jesse has been on the run for some time with no plans to stop, but Noah makes him want to confront his past and stay put. Both men have obstacles to overcome, but the friendship and love they have for each other can make them stronger together.
I was excited to see that another book in the Den Boys series was published. Holding On is book five in the series, but if you wanted to start here it would work for the most part. The men all work at a bar called The Den and while other MCs do appear at times, the book is solely focused on Noah and Jesse.
While both of these guys have a lot to work through, it is easy to root for them both. Noah finds it hard at times being the introverted twin and he figures he will just always be alone. He has his brother, who is his best friend, but romantically he is alone. Noah suffers from anxiety and depression and working at a busy bar is a huge step for him. He feels guilty for not telling his brother that he is bisexual and he’s kept it a secret for so long that he doesn’t know how to speak the words. When he sees Jesse, Noah is completely struck by everything about him.
Jesse is small and femme, likes wearing makeup, and leans toward clothing that would be considered feminine and that has people underestimating him. He was brought up in a polygamist cult and suffered years of abuse, only to be banished as a teen and then taken advantage of in the worst of ways. He has been on the run for years and has had no reason to slow down and he’s afraid all of the time, and then he meets Noah, the first person to make him feel safe.
This is a character-driven story and focuses on the relationship that Noah and Jesse slowly and tentatively build. They have a lot to work through from the start as Jesse thinks that Noah is straight. The guys are a good fit for each other as they support each other without judgement and the parts of themselves they want to hide are exactly the parts that turn the other on.
They start a physical relationship easily, Jesse exposes Noah to all the things he has not experienced before, and the author excels at transferring the emotions to the page. Noah loves everything about Jesse and it’s really sweet to see the unwavering support they offer each other. Jesse has a dark past that is well explained, but it came across as a little rote to me and the wrap up was also fairly easy and convenient, which if you don’t want to dwell in the dark places would be a great match for you.
It was great to see glimpses of the former MCs as well and see another love story blossom over the bar at The Den. I enjoy the family Brennan has created here with the Den Boys and am equally pleased to see there will be more books coming up in the series.