Drake Park lives his life by a set of strict rules. His life is complicated with health issues and he’s devoted to keeping himself on track. He’s a male midwife, which draws attention, but it’s his Crohn’s disease that has him retreating from relationships. His last boyfriend said he could handle things, but when Drake’s health had a flare up, the relationship ended and Drake has no interest in that kind of pain ever again and staying healthy is his priority. It’s the complications from the disease that have Drake getting arrested of all things, and while he is outraged, the hot cop with handcuffs at least makes the view good.
Caleb Ashton is a busy detective. He has never had an interest in a long-term relationship and having a variety of men fits into his life nicely. Caleb thinks he’s just doing his job when he arrests Drake, but Caleb had no idea of the effect Drake would have on him. Caleb soon finds himself going all out to convince Drake to even go on a first date with him. But Drake is not ready to open himself up completely and when Drake’s health flares up again, both men are going to have to risk themselves to keep their relationship going strong.
Jay Hogan has become an author that I look forward to time and again and Digging Deep is another great book. The characters are all excellent and extremely well written, from Drake and Caleb, to all of the side characters.
Drake has not had an easy time of it. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a teen, it has ruled his life for years now. While he is said to be in remission, he takes daily medication and can have issues at any time, usually when it is most inconvenient. He rigorously plans his meals and his days, but even then, the disease is always in charge. Hogan did a great job showing what Drake had to deal with on a daily basis, both when he is feeling okay and when he has flare ups. Drake feels controlled by his disease and since his last relationship ended, he doesn’t think it’s fair to ask a partner to also take on the vast complexities of the disease and he doesn’t think there is even a man out there strong enough to do so. He just hasn’t given Caleb a chance.
The men have amazing chemistry together right from the start, even under the less than ideal circumstances of their first meeting. Caleb has never been interested in a relationship before and it was entertaining to see him try to “woo” (Caleb’s word) Drake into giving him a chance. Everything about Drake calls to him and he is willing to educate himself and learn from Drake, but their relationship is not an easy one. Sure, the attraction is real, but the intricacies of Drake’s health issues are also real and Drake is not ready to fully let someone in and there is plenty of heartache throughout the early stages of their relationship. But when they are together, the intimacy between the men is soft and erotic and they are amazing together.
There is also plenty of stress outside their relationship where Drake is a midwife and Caleb is a detective. Hogan gives their careers on page time and the realities of both of their jobs are seen first hand, causing even greater turmoil for the men. The attraction between Caleb and Drake is the easy part, but there is real work to be done as both men have to figure out how to let the other be a true part of their life. The secondary characters here round out the story and give both Caleb and Drake the friendship and support they need and the entire storyline is well put together.
The character development during the course of the book is detailed and layered and it is one of the aspects of Hogan’s writing that I have come to truly enjoy. Drake and Caleb work for their happiness and their ending is perfectly romantic. Each book I have read from this author becomes my favorite and I am anticipating what will come next.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.