Jim loves working on the farm. He finds peace in his every day and especially loves living with his best friend. Austin is the most important person in his life, and Jim will do whatever he can to make Austin happy. But he’s not gay, so he doesn’t look at his best friend with any sort of romantic intent. At least, until one night when Austin gets drunk and a kiss leads to more.
Austin has long been in love with Jim, but he’s kept it hidden. He knows there’s no way there can be more with Jim. But after their night together, and when Jim isn’t upset about it, they start a friends-with-benefits situation. However, Jim’s jealousy has them putting a time limit on this part of their friendship. After the end of the winter festival, after the last dance, they’ll end things. They’ll be holiday boyfriends.
But the more they spend time together as boyfriends, the more feelings and emotions get involved. With their deadline looming, neither man wants things to end, but they don’t know how to tell each other. Both Jim and Austin have to figure out how to be honest or they’ll lose the best thing that ever happened to them.
This is the second book in Rye Cox’s Doves of Destiny series, which takes place in the small town of Wintertown, where there is a local legend that the doves bring people together. Both Jim and Austin grew up in town and are happy with their lives. But they’re missing having a love to call their own.
They actually have a relationship already, but neither actually realize it. I liked watching the way they took care of each other. From Jim’s POV, he was so focused on the best friend part, as well as thinking he was straight, that he couldn’t see there were romantic feelings as well. Austin, on the other hand, has always had feelings for Jim, but was more determined to keep him as a friend if he couldn’t have more. In that way, their relationship was really easy in that there were only small steps to take for it to move to more.
However, this book was not without its problems for me. The narrative style was, at times, far too simple and lacking description and definition. While having alternating POVs really helped give the reader insight to the characters, the chapters were very short and the scenes didn’t always progress the plot. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t more exploration into Jim’s sexuality, even by himself. Basically, once he figured out he was in love with Austin, he was all good with that, and considering that he’d always thought he was straight, I would have expected more introspection, at least. Their first time together was also questionable in the areas of consent for me, and therefore worked against the story.
Overall, this book was just okay for me. The lack of explanation and description, along with the simplified narrative style, detracted from the story for me. But I did like the easy way the two went from friends to more, and I liked the way they took care of each other. This is a very low-angst book, which will appeal to some readers out there.