Dr. Harris Brewer is in tiny Seaside, Oregon in temporary exile following a disastrous open heart surgical case that ended in the patient’s death. Harris is suffering trauma from the experience and his trusty assistant has booked him into the Changing Tides Inn, a B&B Harris would have never chosen himself. He’s fussy and particular, and the B&B is casual, homey, and charming, just like everything in the godforsaken backwater. Harris is further irritated when he tries to get a dinner his first night, but the St. Patrick’s Day revelers crowd him out of most of Seaside’s eateries. He makes an obnoxious scene at Gail’s Place, his third stop of the night, and the owner, a blonde Adonis named Reid, takes pity on him.
Reid is in his mid-20s and never really planned to be a restaurant owner. He had a bit of savings when his beloved mom, Gail, died of cancer a few years back and he was determined to keep her memory alive. She was a hospitable and beloved Seaside resident, sharing home and hearth with those in need, so Reid took her recipes and built a successful restaurant, buoyed by the sentimentality of Gail’s friends. Harris very much enjoys his meal at the bar at Gail’s Place, having a bit of repartee with sexy Reid. Reid plays coy and is later stunned that Harris left him a ridiculous tip—one he isn’t comfortable accepting. Harris meant it as a ploy that maybe Reid would seek him out to rectify, and he’s ever so pleased it works.
Harris is not so pleased that Reid won’t date him—or have a fling with him. It’s Reid’s policy not to mix with vacationers, because that always gets messy. That said, Reid and Harris have a witty encounter, and Harris tempts Reid more than he wants to admit. Over the weeks that Harris is in residence, it’s clear that there is more than a budding friendship brewing between these two. Reid is afraid to fall for Harris, because he’s lost all his loving family before and can’t bear any new grief. Meanwhile, Harris’ childhood was less than loving, and he doesn’t find himself worthy of love, and certainly not by such a kind and genuine man like Reid. Harris still wallows in the grief of his last case, too, and it makes his self-hatred more present.
The situation that brought Harris to Seaside seemed unlikely, only because surgeons do not generally jet off for untold days and weeks due to a bad outcome in a tricky case. There would be all sorts of investigations and boards to whom Harris would be required to report as standard management. Harris’ disappearance would not be required, just the opposite. And, his other patients would still need care and consultation. Who is managing them? Thus, the premise of the story was weak, to me. However, I could totally see Harris deciding to make the best of a bad situation and gaining much needed perspective through an extended leave of absence. That he finds a welcoming community in Seaside, and a man to be a steadfast lover, is all to the good.
Harris is a character who needs to heal. He’s prickly because he’s always had to fight for himself; his parents were not really interested in him and their passing only further isolated Harris. He has the typical jerk-doctor routine working, and Reid’s compassion is a chisel to Harris’ stony exterior. Reid kind of likes Harris’ imperiousness. He’s more than a little smitten by his audacity and brashness. Men don’t usually try so hard to grasp his attention, so Harris is a force that rocks Reid’s placid existence. Once they begin to fall, it’s pure combustion. Expect some steamy sexy moments, and lots of heart-to-hearts. I liked how they were more friendly before they began to connect physically. There’s some conflict near the end, because Harris starts making too many decisions for the two of them, and Reid needs to make a grand gesture to lasso the love of his life into his Seaside existence.
Expect a small-town happy ending, and a look into the series where I expect Reid’s best friend, a newly injured combat veteran, to find love.