The Rebuilding Year

This enthralling and sensual m/m story depicts a deliciously gradual blossoming in a friends to lover progression with the added bonus of an escalating mystery. I love the incremental change in the relationship as each man comes to grips with the idea that they are attracted to each other, even as they deal with their individual challenges and become each other’s support and safe haven. There are intriguing developments that ramp up the mystery and tension even as the emotional upheavals and adjustments challenge the burgeoning relationship and it was delightful to watch things unfold. I am impressed by this author’s ability to create unique situations that detail the breadth of challenges that face lovers who find each other in the shambles of their lives and slowly rebuild and learn to love. The struggle to be respectful of the impact of their relationship will have on others while dealing with the escalating desire and heartwarming genuine care that is growing between them makes me invested in their struggle and root for them to succeed as a pair. I was saddened that there wasn’t a happy ending for John’s entire family even though I thought that the temporary solution was understandable, and I felt it was a realistic compromise at this point in everyone’s life. This story has a wonderful combination of realism, mystery, excitement and romance, and I was delighted to discover that there is a sequel being released and can’t wait to read it!

“The Rebuilding Year” by Kaje Harper is a compelling story that follows two very different men as they deal with the blows life has dealt them and find ways to not only cope but thrive. The surprising connection that forms between Ryan, an ex-firefighter who was severely injured in the line of duty and John, a groundskeeper whose failed marriage had the unpalatable fallout of isolation from his beloved children, is a shock to both of them. Their determined rejection of the heat that rises between them and the scars that they each bear seem to be insurmountable obstacles to the formation of a relationship, but they each have to discover that the heart loves where it will, and no matter what hardships or danger they face, some things are worth the struggle.

Book Blurb for The Rebuilding Year

Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.

Warning: Contains two hot men wrestling with a shift in their sexuality, as well as a few positions probably listed in the Gay Kama Sutra. But it’s not all about the hot and sweaty—especially when your previously straight life knocks on the door and comes back to visit.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2015 4.75