Length: 27,000 words approx.
Publisher: JMS Books
Graham Hayes decided long ago he’d never be in a relationship. It was better to stay single than to fall in love only to be left alone, which he was certain would happen to him. He’d seen Alzheimer’s ravage his family members all his life, leaving their loved ones to deal with the fallout. Some of them stayed, but some didn’t. Graham isn’t going to risk it.
When he hires nurse Sam Morgan to take care of his dad during the day, his pledge to stay single is put to the test. He soon finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance.
Graham’s guarded his heart for so long, but his resolve is crumbling. Will he be able to conquer his fear to give himself a chance at love? Can he trust Sam to stick around for better or worse?
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Assuming it was the home health care aide the agency was sending over, he didn't bother to check the peephole or the window next to the entrance and swung the door open.
Graham's jaw dropped and he stood in place, his feet frozen to the ground. Was he hallucinating? What the hell was going on? He stepped out and pulled the door partially closed behind him so he could speak to the man on his doorstep. The man currently grinning down at him.
"What are you doing here?" Graham hissed. "How did you find me?" He glanced up at the man he'd met at the club and wondered if he should call the cops. Wasn't this considered stalking? It didn't matter that his body reacted in all kinds of weird ways. He could be dangerous. And compared to Graham, the guy was huge.
The man stepped back and held up his hands, palms out. "Hey, I had no idea you lived here."
Graham's eyes narrowed.
"No, seriously," he insisted. "The agency sent me here."
"Agency?" Shit. "You're the ... home health care aide?"
S.G. nodded and offered his hand. "I'm Sam Morgan. Nurse for hire."
Graham stared up at him -- probably a little too long at the man's massive chest -- and finally shook his hand, shaken by the jolt of electricity coursing through his arm. "Okay. Um, come inside?" His voice was trembling. Get a grip!
S.G. -- Sam -- followed him inside, ducking his head as he walked through the doorway.
His dad didn't look up, so Graham led the man to the kitchen table, gesturing for him to take a seat. He wasn't even sure what to say. Or ask. He felt awkward. And silly for thinking the guy was stalking him. Graham had only been a quick fuck at the club for Sam. A means to an end. Nothing more.
He sat across from Sam and stared. The man was even sexier in the daylight. Dirty blond hair cut close to the scalp, a little longer on top. In the light he could see his eyes were the color of caramel. Hazel, maybe? He fought the urge to reach across the table and stroke the stubble still covering his jawline. And shit, the man was broad. Huge. He'd thought of him as a warrior that night and he found himself thinking that was still an apt description.
"You're a nurse?" he blurted out.
Sam frowned. "Hey, don't stereotype me," he said quietly. "I love being a nurse."
Graham's face heated. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean ... I guess I'm just kind of shocked at seeing you here," he admitted.
Sam's frown turned into a grin. "Yeah, not exactly what I was expecting this morning, either." He tilted his head toward Graham's dad on the sofa. "I assume I'm here for him?"
Graham cleared his throat, tried to clear his head. "Yeah. That's my dad. Thurston. Thurston Hayes."
"So you must be Graham Hayes?" Sam's voice was quiet, his gaze on Graham.
"Yes. I'm sorry. I should have introduced myself." Shit. He was blundering this. He'd never felt so off-kilter when it came to a man. "Do you want something to drink?"
Sam shook his head. "No thanks. Right now, can you fill me in on your dad? Let me know what's going on. I have some basic information, but it always helps to get specifics from family."
"Sure." Graham glanced at his dad and saw he was still engrossed in his book. He wondered if he'd even turned a page. Was he struggling with reading, too? Graham turned back to Sam, who was watching him, patiently waiting for him to continue. "I'm not sure what you want to know?"
Sam leaned back and offered him a small smile. "My job is to make your life easier and help the patient feel better. Why don't you just tell me a little about your dad?"
As this story began, 32 y.o. author Graham is on the eve of leaving his urban existence behind to move to his family's lake house to take care of his father, a 52 y.o. victim of early-onset Alzheimer's, which ran rampant in his family tree.
So on his last night of freedom, he met up with his best friend, Marc, at a gay club for one last night of fun. To scratch an itch that his new role as caretaker wouldn't allow him to scratch for a good, long while.
Enter Graham's "Sexy Giant".
After a bit of grinding on the dance floor, and Graham getting thoroughly nailed to a wall outside the club, he declined exchanging names with the man of his dreams, then ran away.
But when writing and taking care of his dad proved near impossible, he calls in help in the form of a day nurse to take care of his dad and allow him to get his work done.
Now, with this being an M/M romance, I'm almost positive that most of you can guess the identity of the nurse that showed up on Graham's doorstep.
Yep, none other than Graham's "Sexy Giant", 34 y.o. caregiver Sam.
I loved both of these MC's so hard. While Graham is dead set against opening himself up to love, mainly due to fear of being left "when" he gets Alzheimer's, Sam is having none of it, efficiently chipping away at Graham's steadfast resistance.
There was the usual back and forth, which I very much enjoyed, but of course love won out in the end.
The story was pretty low-drama and the sexy bits were limited to only the beginning and very end of the book, but I did wish that the story had included many more details as to the content of the lengthy "getting to know you" conversations that the MC's had. Instead, we're only normally told that they happened.
I needed to actually 'see' more concrete examples of the reasons behind Graham's fears of desertion, because from the sections that the book included, it seemed to me that the family had a history of loved ones actually *staying*, not leaving. So yeah, I needed examples where the latter was the case to make Graham's fears more believable.
Yet, while the book didn't give me everything that I'd hoped for, there was enough sweetness and caring that I'd recommend it, for sure.
Overall, I'd rate this book at around 3.5 stars.
** A free copy of this book was provided by the tour organizer in exchange for an honest review. **
Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.
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