Eight years have passed since the first time I had lust-filled thoughts about Roderick. Now they’re back and stronger than ever.
What a way to start off my reading for 2021!!! My very favorite M/M story (#Wesmie anyone?!) was co-written by Sarina Bowen so when I heard she was releasing a new M/M standalone, I knew I’d be in for a treat. This book was everything I love about romance novels – M/M or otherwise. I was hooked from the first page and didn’t want to put it down but also tried pacing myself because I also didn’t want it to end. It brought out so many feels and I know I’m always going to look back and remember Roderick and Kieran fondly. These are characters that will stick with you.
Roderick Waites has returned to his hometown in VT, looking for a fresh start, after escaping a bad relationship back in Nashville. Things get off to a rocky start when he tries to reconnect with his parents but he quickly learns that they still aren’t accepting of his lifestyle. So he sets out to find a job and a place to stay, which is hard to do when you have no money. After a few lucky breaks, Roderick finds himself employed at the local coffee shop and is offered a room in the house of his broody, standoffish co-worker Kieran Shipley. Kieran has spent most of his life feeling like an outsider, harboring too many secrets to let his guard down for long. He and Roderick were never friends in high school but their few encounters revealed one of his biggest secrets and he doesn’t know what to do now that Roderick has returned and he’s forced to finally acknowledge the feelings Roderick stirs in him. Will offering a room to Roderick turn out to be the best or worst decision Kieran’s ever made?
One of the great things about M/M romances is that we get not one, but two amazing heroes to swoon over. My heart broke for both of these men who each had their own demons they were battling. All Roderick has ever wanted was to belong – to a place and to a partner – but life has had a way of beating him down over there years. I loved his tenacity though, despite all that he went through he was still able to love with all his heart. The vulnerability he showed just melted me. There were so many times I wished I could reach into my Kindle and hug him, he was just the sweetest. Then there was Kieran, the strong, silent type. Being an introvert myself, I could very much relate to him. He was extremely loyal and such a hard worker, always putting other’s needs ahead of his own. So I loved seeing him finally do and take something for himself, from finally getting his own place to then exploring his feeling for Roderick. Seeing him come out of his shell and blossom was truly wonderful to experience.
The two of them together were just magic. Their connection and the build of their relationship was so organic and well done. They complemented one another so well and I was 100% rooting for them to find their happily ever after. It wasn’t always an easy road and the angst in the latter part of the book really hurt my heart. But even the angst felt natural, nothing was forced or thrown in just for the sake of drama. I absolutely loved every step of their journey, even the not-so-fun ones.
I highly recommend this book for lovers of M/M novels or heck, just lovers of darn good love stories! As an added bonus, if you’ve read any of Sarina Bowen’s True North series then you’ll see several familiar faces throughout this one! But don’t worry, if you’re brand new, this is 100% a standalone and you won’t be lost at all. Sigh… I’m going to be dreaming of Roderick and Kieran for a while, I just loved them so much!
I can’t believe I ever thought I could resist Kieran Shipley. This lonely man needs me almost as badly as I need him.