Jesse Winters is a rock star with some issues he can’t get past. It’s taking its toll on him, his band mates, and his ability to perform or write songs. Jesse just wants to be alone, and one of his band mates, Kyle, sends Jesse to his secluded cabin in the woods. While he’s there, Jesse pretty much hits rock bottom. He’s been a cutter for most of his life, but now he begins to imagine what it would be like if he just cut too long and too deep. Maybe being gone is the only way he can get some peace.
Ryker Jorgenson is a wounded veteran and he’s just left the hospital. He’s plagued by nightmares and depression. Ryker needs some alone time before he rejoins society, so his cousin, Kyle offers him use of the cabin. Kyle has been trying to call Jesse to let him know Ryker is coming, but he’s turned his phone off. Kyle had intended to evict Jesse so Ryker could stay there.
Jesse decides he’s going to leave, but he doesn’t get far. There’s a huge snowstorm and he can’t get down the mountain. Reluctantly, he returns to the cabin where he’s determined to ignore Ryker. However, the close quarters makes that nearly impossible. Gradually, the men begin to confide in each other, become closer, rely on each other, and eventually, fall in love.
Not everything goes smoothly, though. Jesse has an ex who abused him and he’s stalking him. When it becomes violent, Ryker takes matters in his own hands and does everything he can to protect the man he loves. Can Ryker help Jesse? Or will Jesse become a victim to his ex all over again?
I loved this book, and I’m going to tell you why, but first I do feel the need to make you aware of some trigger warnings. There are detailed images of cutting, thoughts of suicide, PTSD, terrible nightmares, and descriptions of horrific abuse by an ex who has also become a violent stalker. Admittedly, the first half of Halfway to Someday was difficult to read, so readers should be prepared.
With all that being said, I’m going to give you my feelings on this amazing story. When I chose this book, I thought it was going to be just another cute snowbound story. Two men, who are opposites, stuck together and angry about it…until they realize they’re attraction and act upon it. Instead, I got a deeply emotional book about two very broken men who seem hopeless in the face of all they’ve been through. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved Halfway to Someday.
Layla Dorine is a new author to me, and wow…I’m so impressed! She is able to grab the reader and immerse them into the world she’s created. I read the book from beginning to end without stopping. I was completely enthralled, and I felt as if I had a personal stake in the lives of Jesse and Ryker. I loved them instantly and wanted to just reach through my Kindle and embrace them. What they were going through individually felt so…real.
The character development was spot on. Jesse and Ryker weren’t just thrust into the story, ready to fall in love (or into bed). Each man is painstakingly fleshed out with small details that never felt unnecessary. I never felt overwhelmed or buried in every little piece of their lives. To me, this is a perfect example of the skill of the author. The way Jesse and Ryker slowly found themselves falling for each other was compelling. When I say “slowly,” I mean it. Through the first half, their relationship was a slow burn. They began to reveal things about themselves, sometimes reluctantly, to each other. This is the complete opposite of an insta-love situation. Eventually, they begin to actually need each other. I felt privileged to be a part of it.
There are a few background characters in Halfway to Someday. I mentioned Kyle, Ryker’s cousin and Jesse’s band mate. There is also Tish and Griffin, the other band members. They’re not very nice to Jesse, and I really wasn’t crazy about them at all. Next, there is Dakota and Keegan. They’re also former soldiers and friends with Ryker. They are brought in to be bodyguards for Jesse. I liked them very much. They were serious about their tasks, but they’re also a bit humorous. It’s a nice balance. Finally, there’s Troy. Evil Troy. He’s Jesse’s ex. Troy abused Jesse badly…physically, emotionally, and psychologically. He eventually turns into a stalker who is violent and cruel…and written perfectly. I hated him with such a passion. Nobody messes with my Jesse (and Ryker’,s of course) and gets away with it. His end is quick and just, and such a relief.
Speaking of ends, Halfway to Someday ties up neatly and exactly as it should be. Jesse and Ryker’s HEA is hard fought and hard won, and I think it’s perfect. I wish I could properly convey how amazing this book is. I think you really have to read it yourself to understand. I highly recommend this one, and since it is the first in a new series, I’m excited to see where it goes.