creekRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel


Someone else’s lack of attention led to the accident where Creek lost his leg, and he is still angry and in mourning for his old life. Creek is career military and never saw himself doing anything else. But as an amputee, he knows he can’t go back to active duty and he is struggling to come to terms with what his injury means for his future. Things aren’t made any easier by the fact that he is not adapting to his prosthesis as quickly as he had hoped. While everyone keeps telling Creek that it takes time, he is used to excelling at everything and his expectations for himself are for a far faster recovery. It also doesn’t help that the other guy at physical therapy the same time as him is further along in his own recovery and the guy’s endlessly sunny attitude makes Creek irritated every time they see each other.

Heath lost his leg when he was hit by a car while on his motorcycle. Heath used to be an avid surfer and not being able to get back on the water any time soon is hitting him hard, though he does fully intend to surf once again. While getting used to his new reality hasn’t been easy, Heath’s job as a teacher means he has regained some sense of normalcy in his life and he is working hard to get used to his prosthetic leg. Being around Creek at PT isn’t all that fun, however, as the guy is constantly snapping at him and everything Heath does seems to annoy Creek. At the same time, Heath can acknowledge to himself that he finds Creek hot, though he refuses to fall for another straight guy who will never be interested.

As Creek and Heath spend more time together at physical therapy, their relationship slowly begins to thaw. Heath begins to see the softer, more caring side of Creek, and Creek realizes his anger and frustration are misplaced toward Heath. As a friendship grows, so does Heath’s attraction, but to his surprise, Creek begins to recognize his own attraction to Heath. While he has always considered himself straight, Creek is having very intense feelings toward Heath that make him re-evaluate his own sexuality. As the men grow closer, they start to imagine what a future between them might bring. But both men still have a lot to work through with their recovery; Creek, in particular, needs to address his feelings about the direction his life has taken. But as they both work to move forward, they may be able find a way to do it together.

Creek is the first book in the new Honorably Discharged series by authors Nora Phoenix and E.M. Lindsey. I am a huge fan of both of these authors, so I was thrilled to see they were co-writing a series. I wouldn’t have necessarily paired their styles together, so I was curious to see how their collaboration would work, but I am happy to say I found it seamless and I enjoyed this story quite a lot.

We meet both Creek and Heath as they are past their initial injury, but still very much in recovery. Both men lost legs and are adapting to life as amputees. Both are also learning to work with their prosthetic legs, though Heath is a little further along. I think this set up works well, as it gives the men some common ground and understanding. They each lost a leg in a horrible accident and are now rebuilding their lives; having another person who shares that same experience and can understand the struggles is something that helps both of them. At the same time, it sets up some conflict as early on Creek is very resentful of Heath, as he sees him having a seemingly easier time adapting. Creek isn’t always the easiest guy to like early on, as his internal anger and frustration gets directed to Heath unfairly. But the dual POV helps the reader understand him better, which I think helps a lot. Creek also has some nice growth over the course of the story, which I enjoyed. At the start, he is not just angry at Heath, but having trouble coming to terms with the way his life and his identity as a soldier are changing. He doesn’t want therapy and he is sort of stuck. So over time, we see Creek start to move forward, in part through the support he gets from Heath.

This is also a bi-awakening story as Creek comes to realize his attraction to Heath. Creek’s brother and his best friend are both gay, and so he is pretty comfortable with the idea quickly, even though he never considered himself anything but straight. Once the men move past the early bickering phase into friendship and more, things more quickly and easily for them and they fall hard for one another. I think given all the external struggle that they are both dealing with, it makes sense to have the romantic side be a little more straightforward, and I enjoyed these guys together.

Creek lives with three friends from the military in a shared house, and I assume at least some of them will be featured in future books. I found them all interesting characters and would be eager to hear their stories (along with Creek’s brother, who looks like he may be moving to the area as well). I found this a great start to the series and I am looking forward to where the authors take things next.

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