DANIEL MULLIGAN is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.
REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.
When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.
Can a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog make a go of it in their cabin in the woods? Sometimes, you have to go to the middle of nowhere to end up exactly where you want to be.
This is a phenomenal debut with sharp writing and very well sketched characters.
Because the book is told from Daniel's POV, we are aware of his ramblings and insecurities. But what about Rex, the shy, withdrawn carpenter?
I adored Rex. Rex is the boyfriend everyone wants: sculpted like a god, kind, smart, an awesome listener, good with animals, and really, REALLY good with his hands. I desperately wanted Rex's POV; being in Daniel's head that long was a little annoying.
Daniel and Rex's relationship may be a case of insta-lust, but it's certainly not insta-love. Not counting the first chapter, the book spans five months and more than 6,000 locations.
I'm going to say it: this book felt LONG, too long.
Don't get me wrong; I usually enjoy long novels. But some of Daniel's inner monologue felt redundant, and the story didn't grab me right away.
I loved the heat between Daniel and Rex, but I wanted them to get to it already (and I don't mean sex ... just general togetherness).
The sex scenes, however, were pitch perfect, so fucking steamy I could barely breathe. Huge A+++ for the HAWT, raw SEX. The guys start off fucking against a tree and go from there.
MAJOR SMEX APPEAL!
I liked the focus on the relationship, although I didn't love all the secondary characters. And Daniel's family? What a bunch of douchebags.
The epilogue was a little disappointing too, although the ending is a HEA.
To summarize: amazing chemistry, serious sexy action, great characters, awesome dog, strong writing, BUT needed a dual POV and too wordy with sections that dragged (for me).