Newly out of rehab, Quinn MacGregor heads back to his hometown. Spruce Creek is a tiny forgotten town in Nevada, and the last place Quinn wants to be. Because with his last name, there’s only one thing people will think. The MacGregors have long run the small town, but Quinn has no choice but to return. His uncle Ian is in charge of the clan these days, and though Ian was always good to Quinn, Ian is dying. There isn’t much time left, and Quinn’s cousin Jimmy is set to take over. But given who Jimmy is, and what he does, that would be bad news.
Aaron Larsen is back in Spruce Creek to fix up his parents’ home to get it ready to sell. But he’s battling PTSD and depression, and finds his way to the bottom of a bottle more often than not. He lost his leg while on active duty, and it’s hard for him to find motivation most days. Aaron’s father was murdered years ago, and his mom is now gone too. And the last person Aaron expects to see is Quinn.
Over one summer ten years ago, Aaron and Quinn lived and loved and made plans to get far away from this town. But everything changed when Aaron’s father was killed. Now, both men are broken in different ways. Quinn makes the first move after he learns something shocking, but their reconnection is not easy. There’s a lot of hurt between them. However, as the days stretch on, they find comfort in one another again.
But something big is coming to Spruce Creek, and Quinn has a secret all his own. It’ll take a lot of trust between them, and their old friend Charlie, in order to survive what is about to come down. But it just might be the second chance they’ve all been waiting for.
A Desperate Man is the second book I’ve read by this writing duo and I think their styles mesh well together to give the reader a cohesive and engaging tale. While I had a few small issues with the book, overall I was drawn into the world Fielding and Henry have created here.
In particular, I enjoyed the host of characters the authors have brought us. Not only Aaron and Quinn, who are well drawn and fleshed out, both hurting and broken in different ways, but also a good number of secondary characters that gave this story a complete feel. There’s a lot going on here, and the MCs in particular have a lot to deal with. Seeing Quinn and Aaron reconnect and, eventually shore each other up, was satisfying and believable. These guys clearly have chemistry and, while they jumped back into love a little fast, it’s easy to see why. They’ve both been through so much, and they are in a rough place when the story starts. But finding each other again, and learning to trust each other, smooths those rough spots. Being together again doesn’t fix everything, but it helps.
There are a few interesting twists that happen throughout this story. As I said, there’s a lot going on, most of which is best left to discovery while reading. I will say that Quinn’s secret didn’t come as a surprise to me, as it made sense, even without clues. There’s another twist that was not really all that surprising either. However, I have to say, I was shocked with one big reveal that I never saw coming. But in a very good way. The authors did a great job with the reveal, and then having other characters recollect moments that should have given clues, but wouldn’t have recognized at the time. It was heartbreaking, in a way, but gave the story an additional punch.
As much as I liked the characters and the plot twist, this book wasn’t without its issues for me. I found it slow to start, and the first few chapters were a bit of a slog. I’m glad I pushed through, as the story picked up pace quickly, sucking me in. But at the same time, I felt the ending was a little rushed, especially with the number of things that happened. It felt uneven to me, given the amount of time spent on the rest of the story, that the ending happened so quickly and without as much explanation as I would have expected.
But despite my issues with this story, I enjoyed it overall. The authors craft great characters that tug at your heartstrings and make you root for them. And the very end is very satisfying as we see them finally getting their second chance. Issues with pacing aside, I enjoyed this story, and recommend it to anyone looking for broken men who deserve a chance at happiness.