Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review: Don't Plan to Stay by Kaje Harper

Don't Plan to Stay
At eighteen, Donnie Kagan's plans for graduation, and maybe even college, were derailed by a beer, a stoplight, and a fatal crash. Now he's twenty-four, out of prison, and bitterly determined to start over. But with the holidays approaching, he can't resist a quick trip home to Tallbridge, North Dakota, and the man he left behind. Just a fast look, to make sure Adam's doing all right, before Donnie starts his new life. He doesn't plan to stay.

Adam Lindberg's been waiting six years to get closure with Donnie. He missed that chance after the accident, fighting for his life in a hospital bed as Donnie pled guilty and disappeared into the justice system. Without so much as a letter back from Donnie in all this time, Adam's tried to move on. And yet, he never found another guy he cared about the same way. So when Donnie shows up in Tallbridge, Adam's ready to fight for more than three words of goodbye. Of course, Adam's brother and dad don't want Donnie to stick around, but it's the busy Christmas season at the family store. If Adam asks for Donnie's help, maybe he'll stay long enough to finally talk about the future, and the past.
Todd's rating:

There was just some intangible quality about this story that really made it work for me. Both MC's were extremely likeable and, right from the start, it just seemed like they did truly belong together.

I can't really say that the "Don't Plan to Stay" title was entirely 100% correct, though.

When Donnie showed up at Adam's family business, six months after being released from prison, he may have "said" he was only there to make sure that Adam had recovered from the car crash 6 years prior, then he'd be leaving; however, in his heart, it did seem that all it would have taken was one "please stay" and Donnie wouldn't be going anywhere -- other than wherever Adam went.

Because Adam was Donnie's home. Always had been.

One of my favorite characters in the book wasn't actually ever *in* the book, but her presence was very heavily felt. That would be Adam's recently-deceased mother, who passed away 8 months before Donnie's return. She'd always been in Donnie's corner, so even thought she was gone, she helped pave Donnie's way with Adam's dad and, to a lesser extent, Adam's older brother, Nate.

Speaking of Nate. Asshole. Read the book and you'll see what I mean. I just knew he'd pulled some bullshit, but we're never fully told why he was the way that he was and did what he did. Still, asshole.

But Adam's dad more than made up for Nate's bitter, awful attitude and I loved him for it. And so did Willow, Donnie's timid, rescued pit bull.

Others may not think so, but for me, the story contained far less angst than I'd anticipated, which was partly due to the fact that Donnie would *not* open up about his time in prison, and Adam never pressed him for details. Yes, this kept the drama to a minimum, but I felt that it also made the story not quite as interesting and fleshed out detail-wise as it might have been with that information.

The sexy bits were fine, never really going into hot and heavy details, but I did like the fact that the MC's weren't hung up on specific roles in the bedroom. Donnie may have been the ex-con fighter of the pair, but he never got all machismo about that.

This book rated around 4.25 stars on my scale, so I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a decent story about a second chance at love.

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