Cole Gannon arrives in the seaside town of Ocean Vista to work as a bartender and finally find a place to belong. Determined to make a home for himself, Cole lives happily with his four colorful roommates, whom he considers brothers. The only problem is Cole's attraction to Ian Stark—a guy all wrong for him. He wishes he didn’t keep running into the sexy lawyer.
Ian knows Cole is attracted to him, but the younger man keeps him at arm’s length. It only makes Ian more determined to be with Cole and learn all his secrets.
When a sudden and devastating tragedy occurs, it shatters Cole's world and throws Cole and Ian together in unexpected ways. In an instant, everything between them changes forever.
I greatly enjoy Skylar Cates’ writing. The blend of tender and sexy in her novels really works for me. This book, however, is in a category of its own.
I am uncomfortable with emotions, and I generally avoid angsty books. Tears: who needs them?
But there is no avoiding the feels in this story.
Cole, raised by an alcoholic mother who cared more about her revolving door of boyfriends than her son, has worked hard to build a family in Florida. Cole has been on his own since he was 17, and his roommates are his closest friends.
Following a random, horrific tragedy, Cole turns to Ian, a serious, buttoned-up lawyer and his best friend’s boss, for comfort. Cole feels like he’s betraying his friend if he allows himself to fall for Ian, so he pushes Ian away.
But Ian isn’t willing to give up so easily.
“I’m all hot and cold with you . . . Lots of guys would want to be with you, Ian. All the way.”
“I don’t want them.” Ian cupped Cole’s face and looked right into his eyes . . . “I want you.”
Ian and Cole have amazing, explosive chemistry and a deep connection, sexual and otherwise. They are opposites on paper, but they are so good together.
They were all over each other, lips locked, chests pressing, their limbs coiled. They sank briefly under the water, still kissing passionately. When they surfaced, they breathed each other’s air.
One of the things I loved the most in this book, besides the stellar writing and the fully realized characters, is that Ian and Cole act like adults. They cry and laugh and heal. They kiss and make love. And they talk; they talk about their families and insecurities and fears.
Cole pushes Ian to be more spontaneous, and Ian’s faith in Cole’s talent makes Cole take risks he wouldn’t have on his own.
Cole laughed. “Feel free to say good-bye to me every night.”
Ian’s smile deepened. “I’d rather keep saying hello.”
The secondary characters, Cole’s roommates and friends, were incredibly well sketched. Each of them has a story to tell, and I hope Cates will tell it.
What I really appreciated is that this wasn’t a parade of potential MCs for other books in a series, not at all. The secondary characters were necessary to the story; they were real, complex people with their own lives and secrets.
I was particularly moved by the beautiful, caring Brandan and the brooding, angry River.
Even though there is much sadness in this book, none of it is overdone. There is no melodrama, no miscommunication. There is great loss, but there is also hope.
“I’ve always had to fight for a place in this world.”
Cole met Ian’s eyes. He framed his face between his hands. “No, not anymore”
This book is about grief. It’s about friendship and family. It’s about being brave, risking your heart, and trusting yourself enough to let go and love.
I really hope other early reviewers don't give away too many details, because this story is best discovered and savored.
Here for You is going on my best M/M books of 2015 list. I cannot recommend it enough!