I read a lot of books each year (around 300) and I only give a handful of them 5 star ratings. This book is one of them.
Church is due to get out of a detention center where he has been incarcerated since he was a teen. His housing falls through and he has no family and only one friend from the past. He calls Miller who he hasn't seen in years to ask if he can stay with him for a bit while he tries to get on his feet.
Miller is a kind man and despite having concerns about the arrangement he agrees. Miller is a man stuck in a rut. He works at the family business and doesn't date often. When he does date it's more out of obligation than desire. Miller is in denial about his sexuality and feels all sorts of complicated feelings about it. Unfortunately for Miller, having Church in his home again is going to raise all of these issues to the surface.
What follows is an angsty and gritty story about two men who. despite their differences, are destined to be together. There is a lot of emotion in the story as Church comes to terms with the abuse in past and the anger that caused him to be incarcerated in the first place. He's also got to carve out a new life for himself. Miller struggles with feelings of doubt and shame and those war with his love for Church.
I felt like the author did a great job with both of these characters. I was drawn in from the very beginning of the story. The way the story is told gives us glimpses in to these two men's past and we see how they met and how they came to be friends. It was a very good storytelling technique and it had me invested from page one. There is an age gap here and the back story could have easily gone in to creepy but it didn't.
Part of the story is the romance and the emotional fallout surrounding it, but another part is a suspense plot involving Church's employer. I found this part to be fast paced and entertaining.
There are a few side characters and I enjoyed them all. Miller's sister and niece were great representations of females and I was glad to see the author gave us this instead of the stereotypical women as shrews as is often common in this genre. I also really liked both of Church's friends and I can't wait till they get books of their own.
I have zero complaints about this book. Everything about it worked for me. I loved the plot, the romance and especially the characters. This is one I highly recommend.
Don't miss this brand-new male/male romance series from Sidney Bell, author of Bad Judgment
Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he's leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.
With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it's getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.
Church's criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.