Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.Todd's rating:
Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.
Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.
The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?
For this book to be about a suicidal, homeless 18 year old and a 24 year old ex-Marine recovering from PTSD, while hiding in the closet from his entire family, this was much more upbeat (for the most part) than what I would have expected.
When Josh's mother died suddenly, he could have stayed with his step-father, but that meant lying about his sexuality, so he left. He'd been homeless for a while and decided to go see the fall leave in New England, then curl up in the snow and end it all.
Mark had always feared losing his family's love, if his sexuality were ever discovered, so he enlisted in the Marines in an attempt to run away from his true nature and prove that he's every bit as tough as his 4 older brothers. Needless to say, that didn't work and only left him broken and suffering terrible nightmares about the things he had seen and done in Afghanistan.
Upon the boys meeting, Mark helped by giving Josh a purpose in the form of a job and Josh gave Mark the hope of caring for and opening up to someone again.
I loved the early interactions between Mark and Josh, with Mark suspecting Josh's suicidal thoughts and being especially careful around him, while trying to not only be Josh's employer, but also his friend and add some much-needed stability in his upturned young life.
I also loved how Mrs. Fisher, whose massive, old Victorian they were painting, added a grandmotherly presence and some extra depth to the story.
The entire story worked really well for me; however, when "the big thing" finally happened and all hell broke loose, that part felt a bit forced to me, like a firing squad of bad shit just suddenly let loose all at once.
Though I did enjoy seeing Matt's entire family rallying around him to try and help Josh, then continue their support during the aftermath.
With this being an Eli Easton story, of course Matt and Josh do get their HEA and we even get an epilogue from a year down the road to check in on how they're doing.
I'd rate this one a very strong 4 stars and suggest it to any Easton fans or new readers looking for a slightly angsty, mildly sexy read.
My copy of the story was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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