At forty-five, Monroe “Roe” Covington has embraced small town life. He grew up in Harmony and his family is there, but when Roe wanted more, he left for the city. He made a life for himself and thought he found his forever love, but when Roe wanted to move back home, his relationship didn’t survive. Roe now has almost everything he needs. His family’s farm is well known in the county, he runs a successful store, and he co-parents his teen son, Wyatt, with his best friend, Lindsey. The only thing missing is the relationship Roe always wanted and, at his age and living in a small town, Roe doesn’t think that can still happen for him.
Holden Barnett is a successful pilot and he likes to stay on the move. Being forty-three, living in Atlanta is a better fit for him than the small town where he grew up. Holden has a steady relationship, but they both know they are not each other’s forever and that works fine for Holden as well. The one thing Holden does miss is his sister, Marilee, from whom he has been estranged for the past eight years. When Marilee calls needing help, Holden takes a leave of absence and goes back to the same type of small town that he has tried to avoid all of his life.
But the town of Harmony is different and seeing his sister and his nephew again is just what Holden needs. When Holden sees Roe for the first time, the attraction is instant and since Marilee is renting the cabin on Roe’s property, the two run into each other all the time. The spark is lit, but there are family obligations to consider, the men don’t live in the same state, and don’t think they want the same thing. But the men want each other and maybe it’s time they took something for themselves to have the future they always wanted.
Roe and Holden open this newest series from Riley Hart with a small-town setting and a close group of residents. With Roe and Holden both in their 40s, it was good to see two men that are a bit older than what is usually seen in the genre. This is a fairly easy story for the men, despite their being some obstacles in their path of being together.
Roe always wanted a family and when his best friend, Lindsey, was unattached and also wanted a family, they had Wyatt together. The town still thinks that he and Lindsey will wind up together. But Roe doesn’t hide that he is gay, it’s just that since he doesn’t have a boyfriend, the townspeople like to forget. Holden is adjusting to building back his relationship with his sister after her abusive husband left, and he wants to connect with his nephew who is angry and confused. Holden is in a relationship at the start of the book, but they both know it’s not a forever type of thing and it works to add one more reason why Roe thinks he can’t be with Holden. But the men want each other and are better together and the heat between them spills over into love.
I have read many Riley Hart books and some land better than others for me. I never did feel fully immersed in this world and always had the feeling that the story was being narrated to me and I was watching from a distance rather than being fully involved. I also felt that the book was overwritten in the sense that some things felt forced and over explained. The group likes to laugh a lot and there were too many instances of us being told “they laughed” instead of it being evident from the scene. The men also try and talk dirty to each other in intimate moments and that was off for me too and it all didn’t pull together for the way they were presented. Also, Roe likes to speak with a country vibe only sometimes and the random additions also didn’t fit in for me. The emotion to some scenes stayed flat and even for the most part and the end of the book drama, which I knew was going to happen at some point, felt like one more item that needed to be checked off on the way to their HEA.
I do like the small-town world here and I do like Roe and Holden and the life they put together with each other. Some things didn’t all work for me, but if you like small town family romance with low angst and some heat, Firefly Lane and the Briar County series might be a hit for you.