When something inside him is shattered by an act of violence, Caleb Tomas doesn’t think he can ever be whole again.
Police Officer Jesse Martin has lived in the small town of El Jardin, New Mexico, for a decade, but he’s never seen anything like the mysterious man who moves in in the middle of the night. The house across the street from Jesse’s trailer is no longer empty. There’s a puzzle waiting to be solved there in the form of one sexy, but decidedly different, man.
Bruised and battered inside and out, Caleb Tomas flees to the town of El Jardin in the hopes of escaping the terror that haunts him. Instead, he becomes more of a recluse, scared of everything, unable to get more than a dozen feet past his porch before he panics. His head’s a mess, and he knows he needs help, but that’s a step he doesn’t want to take. It’s easier, safer to stay hidden away with only his adorable puppy, Loopy, and the bird-murdering cat, Mix, for companionship.
But Caleb can’t help but notice the sexy man across the street, and when Loopy escapes from the back yard, it’s Jesse Martin who comes to the rescue.
And he might save more than one bouncy little poodle, if Caleb and Jesse are willing to take the risk.
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to physical assault.
This was a good story. I enjoyed Jesse and Caleb and Ms. Bradford’s writing style. The journey both men go on over the course of the story was wonderful to read. I felt there was too much sex for the length of the book. I wound up skimming and skipping many of the sex scenes because they weren’t furthering the plot or either man’s emotions as often as I personally prefer. There were parts where I wish the story would have showed plot progression on page instead of another sex scene or the characters talking about it after the fact. Overall though the story was really good with characters that were fascinating and a solid happy for now ending I enjoyed.
Jesse was intriguing. He was rough and tough and a good cop that wanted to protect those around him. Watching him blossom as the story progressed was lovely. He gained confidence in himself and his sexuality. Plus his realizations about home, family, and acceptance were wonderful. I enjoyed how Caleb got under his skin and love snuck up on him. You can tell he wasn’t expecting it. But once he admits his feelings he is all in with the relationship.
Caleb was so broken and hurt my heart. He had some major obstacles to overcome and I was proud of him for handling things so well. His desire to get help was a bit sudden and his reasons were a bit too tied to Jesse. However the work was all him. I loved how Caleb decided to use his fame and notoriety for something good at the end of the story. He gained so much strength by standing up for himself, his sister and her husband, and Jesse.
Jesse and Caleb are good together. They communicate well and start with a solid foundation of friendship and help before building a romantic relationship. You can tell they love each other deeply and are working hard to ensure things keep going in the positive direction they are. There’s a lovely happy for now ending at the end of the story. There’s a few lingering questions left unanswered and some things left for Jesse and Caleb to work out. But there’s definite hope for their future for them to make their relationship last long term.
A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.
Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.