Title: When One Door Opens
Author: J.D. Ruskin
Genre: Contemporary, Drama
Length: Novel (210 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 28, 2012)
Heat level: Explicit
Heart rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts
Blurb: Logan Sellers’s parole officer has issued three commandments: stay sober, stay employed, and stay out of trouble. At first Logan thought those three simple rules would be easy to follow. But that was before he accepted a side job assisting his boss’s housebound agoraphobic nephew, Caleb.
Caleb is deceptively normal for a guy who hasn’t left his apartment in three years, and his friendly, caring personality tugs on heartstrings Logan didn’t know he had. But hitting on his boss’s nephew is asking to be unemployed. Logan has enough problems with booze on every corner and a supervisor trying to jump into his bed. He doesn’t need to work out how to free Caleb from the anxiety that keeps him in his apartment; he needs to keep his nose clean, attend his AA meetings, and make a fresh start—alone.
If only his heart would get with the program.
Product link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3478
Review: J.D. Ruskin’s first book, When One Door Opens, launches her writing career with a bang. Characters with realistic issues, a compelling story line and excellent writing will most certainly push When One Door Opens to the top of many reading lists.
Logan is fresh out of prison, finally sober, and holding a job. It’s only part-time, but hey, everybody has to start somewhere. He’s still at the phase when authority figures’ questions make his breath catch and every awkward situation makes him crave a beer. But he’s taking it day-by-day and doing better than he has in years. Then, his boss asks him to deliver groceries and check on his nephew, Caleb, as another part-time job, and all of Logan’s hard-earned control begins slipping away at the sight of Caleb in tight sweatpants.
Caleb is a different story: innocent, somewhat naïve, gorgeous, and agoraphobic. He hasn’t left his apartment in three years and doesn’t react well to changes in his life. But there is something about Logan, the ex-con giant, who makes him laugh and seems willing to do anything to see Caleb happy.
When One Door Opens is a gradually building story that shows the shared challenges of a new relationship and the struggles facing each man individually. For Logan, it’s sobriety and obeying rules, while Caleb fights to make a seemingly simple, panic attack-free trip to the store. The main conflict is genuine and lifelike in a way that suits the overall story and lets the reader focus on what is important, rather than get sidetracked by unnecessary drama.
Despite the serious issues these two men face, Caleb and Logan’s interactions are so fun I could have read about them for hours. It was their flaws, as well as the tension between them, that captivated me and kept them in my thoughts long after I was finished reading.
This is the one I will recommend for anybody who likes imperfect characters and needs a comfortable book with which to relax. I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of J.D. Ruskin.