Theo Bruster grew up in Cherry Creek, living at the Lodge where his mother works. Living and working at a hotel has given Theo ample opportunity to indulge in his secret kink — watching and listening to others. And the object of his current fantasy is one of the hotel owners, Brad Motel.
Brad grew up as his father’s favorite, seemingly destined for great things until he left for a weekend at college and came home vowing never to return. Brad has never told anyone what happened that weekend, but it has left lasting emotional scars. He has never had a relationship and can’t imagine how he ever could.
When Brad catches Theo spying on him in an intimate moment, his first feelings are of violation. But Brad also realizes that he likes Theo, and that Theo seems to like him. Even more, Theo is willing to let Brad lead, to listen to Brad’s direction, and to give him the control he so desperately needs in their encounters. And Brad also comes to find that he kind of likes it when Theo watches — as long as it is on Brad’s terms.
As the men spend more time together, Brad begins to feel stronger and more confident. Theo is patient with him and lets Brad take the lead for how they more forward in their relationship. Brad still has a lot of uncertainty, but with Theo’s support, he may just realize that he has the strength to reach for what he wants out of life and their relationship.
Fearless is the fourth book in Kate Hawthorne’s Room for Love series and I am really enjoying these books so much. They feature the Motel brothers who come to the small town of Cherry Creek, forced by a whim of their father’s will to run a hotel together. The books all take place within the framework of the hotel and the town, and the brother’s appear in each other’s stories. So being familiar with previous books will definitely be helpful here, but not totally necessary to understand Fearless, as long as you don’t mind missing some of the backstories.
Before I go too far, let me give a content warning for sexual assault in this story. Hawthorne places the details of what happened within the Prologue and, if this is a trigger for you, you can easily skip this portion and still follow along with the rest of the story. But do be aware that Brad’s past is a focus of the book and his journey forward is affected by his experiences. As I noted, Theo also has a voyeurism kink and does make Brad feel uncomfortable early on when he realizes that Theo has been watching him, but Brad comes to terms with this very quickly and it is not a major issue between them.
This book is really Brad’s journey and I loved the way Hawthorne shows us both his strengths and his vulnerabilities. We see him more forward, to reach for what he wants and to fight for his happiness. And we also see him struggle and have set backs. I love how patient Theo is with Brad, how he takes everything at Brad’s pace. He never freaks out or gets frustrated. He just gives Brad the support he needs to find his own way forward. I liked these guys together a lot. The caring they have for one another comes through so clearly, and they are so sexy together. I love how they figure out a way to be together that gives Brad the comfort he needs, and that plays with Theo’s voyeuristic desires in a way that works for both of them.
I always enjoy the Cherry Creek stories (including E.M. Lindsey’s On the Market series that takes place in the same town). After so many stories, there is a great sense of connection among the characters that I really appreciate. I love seeing the different characters all interact with one another and the at times unconventional friendships that form.
My only note here is that I feel like Theo is a fascinating character in his own right and he doesn’t get explored quite as fully as I would like. This does feel like largely Brad’s story and I very much enjoyed his journey. But I would have liked more of Theo and to see some of the interesting bits about him developed a little more.
That said, this is another great installment of a series I am really loving. Next up is Andy’s book and I really can’t wait to see how this world-traveling brother’s story ties up the series.