The first step is the hardest. After a scandal, New York political reporter Reed Barfield is lying low at the North Carolina coast, writing a story about the seafood industry. But it’s the harbor pilots on the Cape Fear River who capture his interest—men who jump across ten feet of open ocean to grab a rope ladder and guide huge container ships into port. Men like sexy but prickly Justin Vance.
After surviving an abusive childhood and a tour in the Navy, Justin isn’t fazed by his dangerous job—it’s certainly easier to face than Reed’s annoying questions. Justin isn’t out at work, and he doesn’t need Reed digging into his personal life or his past.
But Reed’s no stranger to using his considerable charm to get what he wants, and as he wears Justin down, they realize they have a lot in common—and that they like spending time together. Moving beyond that, though, will mean Justin confessing his sexuality and learning to trust Reed with his secrets—if Reed even decides to stay. Both men want a future together, but can they find the courage to take the first step?
My first from this author: I quite enjoyed the writing. Likeable characters, nice slow burn romance with a very interesting background.
Justin is a river pilot, meaning he guides ships into our out the port of a North Carolina. Reed, a New York reporter sent in North Carolina on a temporary assignment, is intrigued by this activity and get the approval to write a piece about this activity and tags along with Justin. This is not love at first sight, quite the contrary: Justin is a bit annoyed by the attention, both are wary about relationships and anyway, Reed is down there only for a bit. However, Reed is persistent to learn more about Justin, they discover a shared passion for boat sealing and bit by bit, they let their guard down, while a hurricane is coming along the coast.
I liked both characters and of course, I was glad to get my HEA, but that said, the romance was a bit underdeveloped or maybe “too quiet” for my taste, so I was not swept out of my feet. However, I was nicely invested with the background of the story. I like to learn tidbits through fiction which I got from the ship’s guiding and the preparations to deal with the hurricane. It didn’t overwhelmed the romance but it caught my interest.
All in all, an interesting read.
An ARC of “The First Step” was generously provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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