Publication date: August 1, 2016
Length: 244 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
“I can’t let that part of me win.”
“This guy is boyfriend material.”
Santa Barbara firefighter Liam Knight is in hot water for showing up late after chasing yet another pretty guy into bed. It’s just an accident—Liam’s never let hookups get in the way of work before. He only agrees to therapy to keep the chief happy. When he bumps into a pretty guy working in the craft store below his apartment, Dylan seems like the perfect thing to relieve Liam’s stress… until he catches Liam’s interest and protective instinct, not just his eye.
“I’m not good enough for him.”
The only thing Dylan Waters needs less than the distraction of love is the alternative medicine his mother wants to foist him into. He’s juggling part-time jobs at a therapy office and craft store while attending college to become an art therapist. Worse, he’s about to transfer to a huge campus, but his childhood left him afraid of crowds. When hunky firefighter Liam blusters into his PTSD knitting support group, Dylan spots the familiar signs of a man hiding from his past, but he can’t stop thinking about him.
“It was nothing. I thought I was over it.”
It’s more than fleeting attraction between them, but Dylan’s stubborn fear of help and Liam’s low self-esteem are a deadly combination. When it all goes up in smoke, they only have themselves to blame. Can Liam get to Dylan in time to save him and the one relationship that could make him believe in love?
First I want to say what I loved most from this story what the opposites of these two characters. One is big and muscular, the other slender and sleek, one knows about his mental health issues but refuses to acknowledge he needs therapy, the other doesn’t realize his actions are the cause of a deeper trauma from his past.
Dylan is a college student, intern, and part-time worker and each one of these things play a major part in his life. These aren’t just things he does they are part of who he is and wants to become. Due to a past assault he is terrified of crowds. I know some people who read this story had issues with the fact that Dylan knows about his issues but as a guy studying to be an Art Therapist is anti-therapy for himself but I would like to add there are reasons for his problem with therapy, many of them really. Ones, that as someone who went through therapy and knows of people close to me that have problems but refuse to go to therapy, I believe are completely real and believable. As the saying goes doctors make the worst patients. I actually think watching him struggle through his issues while seeing Liam recognize and work on his was amazing.
Through the craft store that Dylan works at we get to meet firefighter Liam Knight. There is this immediate attraction between them which is slowly built throughout the story. Liam gets in trouble at work and his boss wants him to go to therapy. Liam of course says fine but knows there is nothing wrong with him. So what he is horny all the time and gets a rush out of hooking up, that is not a bad thing. Right? Liam’s journey is actually very different than Dylan's but runs parallel because his path of fixing his issues is what causes Dylan to see his differently. I think of Liam as this secret romantic and big softy. He loves the school tours at the firehouse and he loves showing Dylan he is worth everything.
There was a slow pace to the story but that is one thing I couldn’t see being any other way. There is so much with each of these men that needs to be worked on separately and together that there was no way to make it go faster. I think that Mr. Davies addressed each issue with the full attention it needed and I personally would’ve been disappointed if the mental health issues these two men faced were rushed through and not given proper work through. Dylan’s mom and their relationship also play a big part in Dylan’s story one that plays a huge part in Dylan’s past and present.
There were many things I liked about this story and really very little that I didn’t. There were some lines that went right over my head but not a big enough thing to take me out of the story. Although this story deals with mental health issues it is rather low angst. I recommend this story if you are in the mood for a slow build romance and a mental health journey handled remarkably well.
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