Author: Tyler Robbins
Length: Novella (178pgs)
Publisher: Evernight Publishing (30th April 2013)
Heat Level: Explicit
Blurb: Jesse Reagan has had more than his share of tragedy, and he may have been dealt another blow when, once again, cancer threatens the sister who raised him. Faced with the possibility of being left behind, Jesse vows to care for her young son, though he’s not convinced he can.
When Trip Cantrell returns to town, he’s blindsided the instant he’s reunited with his kid brother’s lifelong friend, Jesse. His inability to find happiness in the years he’s been gone, suddenly makes sense. Love’s been waiting at home all along.
Life begins to look promising, except for the fact that neither have come out of the closet publicly, and that’s not even their biggest problem. Someone has a secret so shocking they may never find a way past it.
Will they be accepted in their small Texas town, or will secrets, lies, and the threat of tragedy destroy everything?
Pixie’s Review: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ – 4 Hearts
Jesse has had a lot thrown at him in his young life, losing both parents, his sisters’ fight with cancer, keeping the business going and helping to raise his nephew and staying hidden deep in the closet. When faced with the cancer attacking again, Jesse vows to his sister to look after his nephew while she fights it. Trip returns to town after discovering that the life he thought he wanted just makes him unhappy. Discovering his newfound attraction to Jesse, the two embark on a secret relationship. But jealousy, lies, and secrecy threaten to tear them apart.
This is quite a good story with the secrets of the past being discovered and threatening to blow a family apart. Jesse has hidden his sexuality from everyone but his sister, Joslyn. Living in a small town, he can’t even tell his best friend, Eric. But, when Trip (Ethan), Eric’s brother, comes back to town, Jesse has a temptation that he just can’t resist. Trip has always hidden his sexuality in the small town, so returning home to his resentful brother he knows that he is going back into the closet again. But, meeting Jesse as a grown-up shakes his resolve. Joslyn has a secret she dare not tell, she has kept it hidden for years, but now it is on the verge of eruption. Eric resents his brother coming home and slotting himself into Eric’s makeshift family, but Eric also knows something he shouldn’t.
I really have mixed feelings about this story because while I thought it was well written and a great storyline, I found it hard to connect to the characters or understand how they could dole out forgiveness so easily. Trip and Jesse dive into a secret relationship headfirst. They are hot together and eventually they settle everything between them. Joslyn was a great sister and a great mother, but not a very nice person at all.
The secret she had would have been taken to the grave if it hadn’t have been discovered by another, and I can’t like a character like that at all. Eric was wrong in his hate and jealousy, but you could understand why he acted the way he did. He felt abandoned by his brother and hoarded the family he created.
Trip never deserved anything that happened and was completely innocent and was so forgiving. you can’t help but love him. Jesse pointed his anger in the wrong places. Just because his sister was ill didn’t justify her actions in any way, shape or form or the fact that Jesse should have been angry with her. I don’t like when someone gets automatic forgiveness, just because they are family or dying.
I recommend this to those who love complicated family drama, finding love close to home, secrets, lies, forgiveness, hot sex, and a happy ending.
Prime’s Review: ♥♥♥3 Hearts
Two small town Texan boys, both have had difficult lives and difficult parents. One has recently returned home. And they’re both buried in the closet, fearful of what could happen to them if they indeed admitted their sexuality. It’s a good story and although I felt empathy, particularly for Jesse, I can’t say that the story immediately dragged me in and had me hooked.
We encounter four main characters, Jesse, who has sacrificed a lot including a social life, for his older sister, Joslyn. Joslyn was seven when their mother left and had since helped their overworked father raise Jesse before their father had a stroke and subsequently died. On the heels of that, Joslyn, who was in her senior year of high school, later became pregnant. A couple of years after that, she got cancer.
The story picks up four years after that diagnosis with the possibility that it had returned and besides Jesse, she only has her son, Jeremy. Then there is Eric Cantrell, he’s Jesse’s best friend despite the fact he has kind of left Jesse behind since Jesse has responsibilities. Eric is a ne’er do well type of character, always sleeping with a different woman and always on a bender on either drinks or smokes.
Although, through all this, he has dependable Jesse and Jesse seems to have to hots for his very straight friend. His older brother, Ethan (aka Trip), has been away for about five years. He went off the college and has returned to his small town home after realising, that he hated the profession he had chosen to enter.
So Ethan’s back and he sets his sights directly on Jesse. However, between the four of them, there are a number of secrets and lies whizzing about, the biggest one of course being that Ethan and Jesse are gay and together.
I know there’s a lot going on and that was just the introduction.
The story ran flat to me, though well paced. I really don’t hate it and I don’t find it boring, it just seems to lack that particular bit of spark that draws me into romance stories. I think the problem is that there is too much drama, secrecy and lies going on and there wasn’t enough time for everything to evolve. It sounds contradictory to what we expect as readers in terms of entertainment value, and while Jesse and Ethan’s love story seems more realistic to those of us in the real world,
I’m pretty sure all the intrigue was giving me a migraine. There was some level of sweetness to the story and lots of sadness, as well as seeing the chain of repercussions from stupid decisions made in the heat of the moment by immature teens. At times, it was even thought-provoking.
Still I find it hard to go beyond liking it.
Another problem, while I like Jesse and his sister, Joslyn, I wasn’t too impressed with Ethan and his little brother/Jesse’s BFF, Eric. Meanwhile, at the same time, Joslyn was the most judgmental character and contradicted herself with a whopping secret of her own.
Eric was really a questionable character to me, he seems a little unhinged at times and in serious need of an intervention. He seems angry for all the wrong reasons and I’m not sure if he likes Joslyn or Jesse. At first, I found it difficult to like Ethan, but he eventually came into his own and ended out to be a very likable guy.
Then again, half the time it seems that Ethan is the one being screwed over by everyone else and I feel really sorry for the guy. While it’s Jesse that’s angry when everything goes down a certain creek, I think that Ethan had rights to feeling more anger. Thankfully, despite the sadness and secrets and lies, there is a happily ever after.
I get the feeling that this book more than most is a bit hit and miss as to whether people love it or hate it. It’s going to appeal to those that like the small town, closet storyline – there’s even a touch of coming of age in it. It’s also good for people who love over the top drama, almost like a soap opera. In the end, it’s a web of the four interconnected lives and complex in places.