Can two broken men build one life?
That’s what Makai lost for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s been exonerated, but the abuse he suffered in prison isn’t so easy to leave behind. He heads to the one place he remembers being happy: Acker, Wisconsin, where he spent summers with his grandpa. Unfortunately, not everyone wants Makai there.
That’s how long Emil, now twenty-one, was held prisoner as a teenager. The mental and physical injuries he suffered at the hands of a drug trafficking ring still haunt him.
Nightmares, anxiety, and PTSD challenge the connection forming between Makai and Emil, though together, they might find a way to move beyond their pain and into a future—and a relationship—that both had thought impossible.
Now they just have to convince Emil’s father, the town sheriff. It won’t be easy with danger closer than they know….
A Love by Numbers Story
When unlikely attraction blossoms between a twentysomething genderqueer tattoo artist and an older, small-town veterinarian, both are forced to face their pasts for a chance at a loving future.
Four years ago Padraig Donovan lost his husband, the only man he’d ever been with. Now his life consists of the work he loves, a big empty house, and the possibility of a lonely future.
Kaos’s experiments with makeup landed him in the hospital at the hands of his disapproving ex. With nowhere else to turn, he flees to Acker, Wisconsin… and runs into a sexy widower and the kindest man he’s ever met.
Padraig and Kaos know there’s something worth exploring between them, and as they raise a puppy and deal with the ups and downs of their respective jobs, they fit into each other’s lives in ways they never expected. Being with Kaos—who is so different than the guys he’s always been attracted to—opens up an exciting new world for Padraig. But can he convince Kaos to trust another man with his body… let alone his heart?
Deputy Mark Forrest and Nurse Francis Archer can’t deny the chemistry that arises between them. A chance meeting awakens the idea of something greater than either had ever imagined.
Mark craves being able to let go, and Francis loves to take him out of his head. But Mark’s past bears a truckload of personal demons that have kept him in the closet and made him lash out at the LGBTQ community in the town he’s come to regard as home.
Despite finding love and a new purpose in Acker, Francis’s new job might end up being temporary, and he doesn't want to lose the life he's settled into. Can the two of them build a future together despite a bitter past, and diverging paths?
Trigger Warning: Abusive, homophobic, and racist language, light D/s, homophobia, vague descriptions of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
This novel is the third book in the Love by Numbers series. While it can be read as a standalone, the author suggests that you start from book #1, Ten, and go from there for the best reading experience.
Ten by Tia Fielding is the first book in her Love by Numbers series and it a great start to three really good books.
Welcome to the town of Acker, Wisconsin where Makai has come after being in prison for ten years for a crime he didn’t commit. Makai has come here to find peace and a fresh start. He’s hoping that the pain and prejudice he’s faced will be a thing of the past. The town of Acker is small, and everyone knows everyone so they’re waiting for Makai…waiting and wondering if he’ll fit in their town.
Emil is the sheriff’s son and has had his own painful past. Held captive for ten years because of a case his dad got too close to solving. Emil is jumpy, touch sensitive, and traumatized. It’ll take someone very special to get through to him and Makai may be just who he’s been waiting for. These two recognize each other’s demons. Both see pain in the other and both realize the other has PTSD and will need time and patience. Seeing the damaged men working together to help each other heal, talk through everything their feeling, and just give each another a chance is lovely to watch.
Tia Fielding does a wonderful job of allowing Makai and Emil to ease into a relationship, into intimacy. It’s really very touching to see the care these men give to each other and to members of their town. The willingness to put in the work to heal is inspiring to see. There is something very special with these two and I love watching this town rally around them. A second chance at life, at happiness is so deserved by both these men. These are two of the good guys and I was rooting for them and I found them both to be incredibly strong. I’m ready to spend more time in Acker and hope you’ll pay a visit too.
Four by Tia Fielding takes us back to Acker, Wisconsin in book two in her Love by Numbers series. This time a friend from Makai’s (book one) past has come to town looking for a safe place to land.
Self-proclaimed genderqueer tattoo artist, Kaos is running from an abusive relationship. He needs a fresh start…he needs his family. Kaos’s family is his “big brother” and former cell mate, Makai. Kaos comes into town with a skirt, some makeup, and looking for acceptance. He hasn’t had the best of luck with people willing to treat him well and accept that some days he feels more feminine than others. But he’s putting his faith in Acker and hoping for the best. Kaos has talent for days, his tattoos are beautiful. He’s hoping a job and a place of his own will have him feeling safe and secure.
Padraig (Doc) Donovan is the local vet and a widower. He lost his husband four years ago, the only man he’s ever loved. Doc was a young gay man during the eighties and nineties and was terrified of the AIDS epidemic. Falling in love freshman year and sharing all their firsts together made getting married easy…he’d found “the one”. Life is rarely fair and Doc lost his husband very suddenly and just starts surviving rather than living. As he comes into the local diner one day for lunch, he sees a vision. A vision of a man wearing a skirt with soft makeup and he’s dumbstruck! He’s never been attracted to feminine men, to younger men…to any man besides his husband. Kaos and Doc get to know each other a bit and both find each other attractive. When Kaos accidentally triggers Emil while staying at Makai and Emil’s house, he runs to Padraig. Doc is the only person he knows to go to and he listens to Kaos…he really seems to understand him. As these two develop a friendship, both start to wonder if taking a chance on something more between them is something they’re ready for. With honesty, genuine kindness and some time, both men begin to flourish.
This second book may be my favorite of the series. I love the connection between Doc and Kaos, I love the fun they bring out of each other. Seeing Doc let go of the past is very emotional. Watching Kaos grow into exactly who he is in a safe and healthy environment is beautiful. These two make so much sense, looking at them that first meeting…you just know they’re going to win you over. I loved how this book made me feel. So much hope and seeing Doc free of fear and willing to love again…sigh. Such a great follow up to a wonderful series.
Thirteen is book three in Tia Fielding’s Love by Numbers series and it’s fantastic! This time it’s Deputy Mark Forrest’s story and the caring man that comes to town and shows him how to love.
Mark has a poor reputation with Acker’s LGBTQ community because of lashing out at some of its members. Mark is a good man; his head is just filled with all his parents’ hatred. Mark is so afraid of who he is and is filled with demons of the past. Mark craves things that have been labeled wrong his whole life. But you can only resist what your body craves for so long. When Mark reaches his breaking point every few months, he leaves town to fill that need. A chance meeting with a sweet, sexy and bossy man in a club leads to an awakening Mark never expected…and can’t forget.
Francis is best friend’s with Doc (book two) and has come to town after years of silence between him and Doc. A chance meeting with a sexy, closeted man in route to Acker is a treat he wasn’t expecting. As Fran settles in with Doc and Kaos and begins to look for work, Deputy Mark is right there. There is a pull between these two men that is so strong. Mark is more himself with Fran than he’s probably ever been in his life. When Mark starts to seek help from the local therapist, he finally starts accepting who he is. Leaving some toxic relationship and working to make amends to those he’s hurt shows a level of maturity beyond any Mark has really shown the town of Acker. As he and Fran begin building on their intense chemistry, it quickly becomes obvious that this is more than a bit of fun.
Mark and Fran face all of Mark’s past together to begin building a new future. These two start to help a very special couple in the community and people take notice. The town of Acker may be small and not everyone is flying rainbow flags, but at its heart…it’s a good place with good people. Seeing Mark work so hard towards healing and earning trust and forgiveness is amazing. He opens himself up to the citizens of Acker and they do not disappoint. I thought Acker was special in book one, but by book three, it’s more than obvious how truly special it is. This series is the very best of what we wished we see in people everywhere. Friendships and love stories born from people in need of those relationships more than most. Tia Fielding wrote a series with six men at its core, but the town of Acker and it’s citizens may be the best character of all. I highly recommend this series.
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