Monday, December 12, 2016

ARC Review: September by Robert Winter

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.

Dani's rating:

Get out the tissues, because this one's a sob fest. I can't remember the last time I cried so hard while reading a book. Maybe I was feeling particularly maudlin, but this story ripped out my heart and stomped on it for good measure.

September is Robert Winter's first book, and it is exceptionally well written, with complex character, a relationship-driven plot, plenty of steamy times, and a beautiful HEA.

David, a successful lawyer, is 48 and feels used up. His friend Terry tells him he's hot as sin, but David hasn't dated for nearly twenty years and is still mourning the death of his partner, Kyle, who passed away two years prior. Having torn his rotator cuff in crossfit, David seeks out physical therapy where he meets the much younger Brandon.

Brandon loves helping people recover; he's fit, talks with a light Texas drawl, and is good with his hands. When he meets David, it's lust at first sight, especially when David takes his shirt off. Brandon can't help but flirt with the gorgeous silver fox, even if David is his client.

David and Brandon meet for coffee, which leads to sex (sizzle, baby!), which leads to more. The problem is that Brandon, who is barely scraping by what with student loans and other debt, doesn't want to feel like a kept man. David is selfless and giving, but he's vaguely ashamed of having such a young lover.

The first half of the book isn't overly angsty. David misses Kyle, but his grief feels appropriate and doesn't overwhelm the story. He's ready to find love again. The passion between the men is at once frantic and tender. These two go at it hot and heavy. They are both, um, versatile, and David has no trouble keeping up with Brandon.

But it's not that easy. David is the most amazing human being, but even the best people make mistakes. And David's mistake costs him dearly. Brandon is hurt and angry, and has every right to be.

At this point, I thought the angst had hit rock bottom. But I was wrong. I was so wrong. A tragedy strikes, one I didn't see coming (I really hope no one gives this plot point away in a review). Fortunately, it brings the men together, and David never leaves Brandon's side.

In the end, it's Kyle (yes, David's dead lover) who saves the day. More heartbreak, more tears, and then finally, finally peace and joy.

If you like the hurt/comfort trope, you'll love this book. The men heal each other and find real love based on sexual chemistry, yes, but also friendship. They love to cook together. They share common interests. They just fit. And they work through their loss and pain and grief to find a home, a place where they both belong.

This is not a light, easy story. It's tinged with sadness and heartache, but once you crawl through the darkness, the light is that much brighter.

Get the book:


A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.
~Franz Kafka

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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