Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Christopher Rourke
Length: 7 hours, 12 minutes
Reed has a routine. A daily routine that turns into a weekly routine and it serves him well as the head of a small-town Catholic school. His routine is interrupted, however, during his Friday night take-out when he sees Dominic; it’s been about 20 years since the men have seen each other.
Reed and Dominic were foster brothers for a short time and developed a strong bond. When Reed was adopted, they never saw each other again, but they never forgot each other either. Dominic has spent years thinking about Reed and Reed has spent those years desperately missing Dominic while repressing his desires.
After too long apart, the men find themselves emotionally overrun at the sight of each other and what it could mean for their future. Reed is haunted by his faith and his pride and Dominic is afraid of having is heart broken all over again. The temptation is more than either can bear and they know they have a second chance, but they have to be strong enough to stand together in the light of day.
Dominic and Reed explore a lot of dynamics in this book that opens the Secrets in Edgewood series. Dominic and Reed knew each other as foster brothers and fell in love with each other just when they were figuring out what that meant. As grown men now, Dominic is an Episcopalian priest and Reed is the principal of a Catholic school. Dominic is at peace with who he is and his desires, but Reed fights himself every step of the way and lives a life of structure and solitude.
Reed barely knows what to do with himself and is terrified about letting his desires out, but he can’t stay away from Dominic. But for every interaction, Reed is then running away from what he wants and from Dominic. Hawthorne gives a good understanding of Reed, so the frustration of the back and forth was minimal as it’s an extremely difficult time for Reed. Dominic tries to protect himself and his heart, but he has always missed Reed, always regretted a life never lived, and if he can make it work with Reed, he’s going to give it everything he has.
It’s a delicate subject where Hawthorne shows the complete upheaval of Reed’s life for him to come to terms with who he is and that he deserves to be loved. It’s not an effortless love story for them, but a rewarding ending that allows Reed and Dominic to have what they have always wanted—each other.
This audio is performed by Christopher Rourke and he has a good tone overall. Reed and Dominic did sound mostly the same, and after having listened to one other performance by Rourke that had a lot more variation, I was expecting that here as well. Mostly, I felt he reads the story nicely without a lot of performance. The women were my least favorite aspect and I did not care for how he handled their voices, but there is limited time with them. Rourke’s narration did bring the setting, characters, and turmoil to life and is a worthwhile way to enjoy this offering from author Kate Hawthorne.