Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Alec Reardon’s ex-wife and young son, Nathan died six months ago after a horrific car crash. Alec isn’t sure if it was an accident or related to the espionage threats he’d been receiving at work. He’s a programmer at a company he co-owns, and was working on some sensitive government projects. The FBI took the threats seriously, and Alec’s spirit is absolutely broken. Was he responsible? Was it because he worked too much? Or, because he took on this project? Alec decides to take a sabbatical to mourn his losses out in California, far from his connections in Chicago. Alec is really on the edge, self-isolating, and losing track of his days while mired in grief, when a boy reaches out to him wanting to show Alec his pictures of animals. Kevin is a bit older than Nathan had been, but his precocious knowledge and absolute joy for all things science or animal-related reminds Alec of his beloved Nathan, and it helps snap Alec out of his funk.

Joe Conroy is a divorced, bisexual man who’s also a mystery/crime novelist. As a writer, he has the flexibility to live where he likes and he’s moved to Gaynor Beach with his transgender son, Kevin, because Kevin has an insatiable curiosity for animals and the ocean. Also, because Joe felt their small-town Ohio life wasn’t tolerant enough. Their beachside villa ensures that Kevin can do all his home-school science lessons by just walking outside the door. Joe’s a bit leery of the man Kevin refers to as a “ghost,” a man who is in fact alive and clearly unwell. Still, as the days go by, Joe sees that Alec is really just a sad man, battling his demons. As a tentative friendship grows, the men bond over their domestic tragedies; Joe’s ex-wife was slow to accept Kevin as a transgender child, which caused a lot of hurt. Joe’s stunned at Alec’s loss, and empathizes with his grief. Their growing connection leads to more than friendship, something with some potential, if only the FBI would stop calling.

This was an interesting, emotional read with a simmering romance that also brings a bit of suspense in the second half. Alec’s pain is consuming–both him and the narrative. Kevin is absolutely a joy, with just the right amount of attitude, balanced with a lot of sweet inquisitiveness. I loved how awesome he was, in all honesty. Joe is a dear man, whose love for Kevin is endless, and his concern for both Kevin and Alec is sincere. There’s such a feeling of kindred spirits, and ‘right place-right time’ that I melted into their story. I loved the descriptions of Gaynor Beach and this pocket of coastal tolerance; it felt like a genuine area I could imagine visiting.

The second half of the book takes on more of a tense tone, with Alec struggling with threats from his company, as well as the spy who’d harangued him prior to the crash. He has big decisions to make, ones that will impact his relationships with Joe and Kevin–and potentially threaten his life. Joe is a supportive as he can be, but the intrigue takes more than patience to weather. I liked how it turned out, especially with Alec growing beyond his depression and saving himself.

This book is part of  the Single Dads of Gaynor Beach series, but can be fully enjoyed as a standalone. If you like bisexual, single dad romances, this is a story you can sink into.

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