This romantic suspense m/m story is an excellent introduction to a complex and sensual set of stories that follow two very different gay men. The gradual exposition of the events that have formed the personality and choices of each is an intriguing counterpoint to the progress of the murder investigation and draws one deeper into the story with each revelation. I was a little perturbed by Mac’s determination to view Tony as a boy, even after they began having a relationship, and I wasn’t too happy that this is a ‘happy for now’ tale but I understand Mac’s attempt to distance himself and I was thrilled to see that there were several more stories in the series. The sizzling connection that reflects the mutual attraction between these men is balanced by the beautiful romance that is also unfolding, as can be seen by the admission that his lover “…had somehow become too important to cut away. It might hurt less to give up breathing. ‘There’s never been anyone I could go to, to just be myself…’”
I have only recently discovered this author and I am most impressed by the fact that each of the stories that I have read features complex and fascinating characters who face intense challenges and find a way to get past hurt, scars, and frustration and grow. The angst, steam and romance are balanced perfectly with the suspense and I can’t wait to see what continues to develop between a man who “…had never done this before, never felt safe enough to sleep in the same bed with a man, never wanted to just hold someone and make the world go away.” and one who “…would have let himself fall, without doubting that those big hands would be there for him.”
“Life Lessons” by Kaje Harper is the first title in the ‘Life Lessons’ series and features teacher Anthony (Tony) Hart and homicide detective Jared (Mac) MacLean, who become acquainted during a murder investigation at Tony’s school. An inexplicable attraction between the openly gay Tony and the deeply closeted Mac intensifies as does the threat to Tony who somehow has become a target himself. Despite the fact that each has a young child as a dependent, Mac’s Anna and Tony’s Ben, Mac fears that he has nothing to attract the younger man and nothing in common with him. Unfortunately, by the time he faces the truth of his desires, it may already be too late.
Tony Hart's life has been quiet lately. He has good friends and a rewarding teaching job. Then the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony's life gets a little too exciting.
Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, a widowed father, and deeply in the closet. But from the moment he meets Tony's blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can't help wanting this man in his life. However Mac isn't the only one with his eyes on Tony. As the murderer tries to cover his tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently.