Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Sam Evans, who came to Devon Falls to help his friend with his small town medical practice, will soon be returning home to New York. For Malachi, it’s a bittersweet moment. He’s had a crush on the older man for … well, ever since he saw him, but Sam is still grieving the loss of his husband, Christian. Sam and Malachi are aware of the sparks between them, and when a chance moment gives Malachi an opportunity, he takes it.

After all, he’ll soon be leaving Devon Falls himself to start nursing school, so why not take advantage of the time they have left? Between overseeing Benson and Jack’s marriage, fighting off a willful goat, dealing with small town suspicion, and, most dangerous of all, his friends’ knowing looks, Malachi asks Sam to be his first lover.

However, Sam’s brother — and Christian’s twin brother, a man who looks just like Sam’s lost husband — are visiting Devon Falls for the wedding. What will they think of the new man in Sam’s bed? And what will Malachi do when he starts falling head over heels with the one man he can’t have?

Malachi is a young man who knows how to hustle. From his earliest school days, he’s been working hard for everything he has. Catching extra jobs for the money, saving money where he can — such as quitting his apartment to save up for school, because it’s cheaper to live in his car. It’s why he takes on helping out with Benson and Jack’s wedding, a wedding the whole town is taking part in. It comes with a stipend, and it’s a chance to help two men who have done so much for him.

The town, though, isn’t as welcoming as Benson and Jack. When he first came to Devon Falls, Malachi was squatting in an abandoned barn that happened to have a meth lab in it. Then the lab caught fire and somehow it’s Malachi the town blames for it. The rumors have him as a drug user, a drug dealer, an arsonist, and who knows what all else, even though it’s untrue. It leaves him feeling constantly judged, constantly watched, none of which helps with his panic attacks. The only thing that makes those go away seems to be … well, Sam.

Sam has been struggling with two things since coming to Devon Falls. His attraction to the young man behind the desk, and the fact that he doesn’t think he ever felt like this about Christian. Sam is struggling with guilt for feeling more for Malachi than he did for the man he spent so much of his life with, guilt for not being there when Christian died, guilt for wanting something he shouldn’t have. He was a bad husband, a bad friend, and feels that that makes him a bad man.

Malachi’s offer, and request, for a brief romance, no strings attached seems like a wonderful idea. Malachi can have this one moment, this secret summer romance before he returns to New York and his empty apartment to live with the ghost of his memory. But it’s hard to resign himself to a semi-death when Malachi is so full of life right in front of him.

This is a charming book with small town feels, and small town hijinx — as well as setting up ample opportunities and side characters for future books in the series. Malachi and Sam are both well written and very relatable; one of them is full of youth and hope, the other full of serenity and acceptance. They both balance each other out without taking from the other. Sam doesn’t become a parent for the younger Malachi, merely a support and a friend. Malachi doesn’t replace Christian or have a ‘better’ love affair; he’s just someone Sam accepts into his life, someone who loves him.

You don’t need to have read the first book in the Devon Falls series to enjoy this one; Benson and Sam are background characters who pop in at amusing moments, but never steal the show from the main romance. It’s a quick, easy, feel-good read, and one I hope you enjoy.