Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
I enjoyed this though it was pretty angsty, with lots of self-doubt on both leads’ parts, and violent histories. Good meet-cute. I liked the best friend Ginger. I read the POV character as much younger than he was, early-twenties rather than the thirties I think he’s supposed to be, he was pretty lacking in self-confidence and whiny (though understandable based on his history). Sex scenes are pretty graphic, and maybe too many? Pretty long but it didn’t drag — though not a ton was happening in the story, mainly emotionally. I didn’t expect the way it ended but it worked.
I’ll skip the next book because I’m not interested in a lead who verbally and physically abused his younger brother (the lead in this book).
I might read the third one, which was set up in this book, though I’m a little iffy on the age difference.