Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: May Archer

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap, Death of a Partner, Mystery, Romance, Series, Some Humor

Length: 286 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon.com

Blurb –

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Small town police officer Silas Sloane knows every resident of O’Leary, New York. He’s earned the love and respect of its citizens, though living under the small-town microscope grates on him. But though he’s good at his job, there’s one thing he’s not good at: commitments. Until Everett. 

Widower Everett Maior, O’Leary’s newest citizen, came to the small town kicking and screaming. He never wanted to become primary caretaker for his grandfather, and has no interest in living a provincial life. Snarky and superstitious, he’s proficient at keeping people at a distance… Until he lays eyes Silas Sloane. 

Strange occurrences are plaguing O’Leary, but even as danger looms, Silas and Everett find their growing attraction undeniable. Can they remain safe…and together…despite everything that threatens to tear them apart?

Review –

Silas, a small town cop, is about to get lucky. The guy is eager and willing and they’re five seconds away from making it happen. Then Si gets a call and has to take off, effectively being cock blocked. He’s driving back to town when he spots a wrecked car on the side of a dark and winding road with the driver nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later he spots the guy stumbling down the road. Silas is convinced he’s a drunk teen, which goes about as well as can be expected with the guy, Everett.

Ev, an artist, has been guilted by his mother into going to O’Leary, New York to care for his grumpy grandfather who broke his leg. To say Everett doesn’t want to go would be a major understatement. His grandpa is old school… seriously old school. Ev gives in anyway because of his mother. He’s almost to his place when somebody – or some thing – jumps in front of his car, forcing him to swerve and hit a tree head-on. Luckily, the only injury is his knee. After rushing back to the road to see if he’d actually hit the guy, and seeing no one, he goes back to the wrecked car, grabs his cat and starts walking down the road. There’s no cell signal, no streetlights… nothing. He has to depend on the light of his dying phone just to be able to see in front of him.

This is when Silas sees him.

Silas gets Everett to his grandfather’s place and helps him get settled. The next day he’s determined to see the hot guy again and makes up excuses to make it happen. He’s fighting a losing battle. Ev may want to hook up with Si but he has no intention of following through. Silas wakes up feelings that have long been dormant for Ev, but he’s most definitely not where he wants to act on the attraction. His husband Adrian died 15 months before and the thought of being with another man feels like cheating.

Most of the book is Ev and Si going back and forth, with Everett’s guilt over his late husband preventing him from moving forward. Si, a major commitment phobe, tells himself he just wants sex, but it’s easy to see that he’s fighting himself over real feelings that crept up pretty much the minute he saw Ev. Just when it looks like something is going to happen – or something does happen – Ev’s guilt over Adrian slams into him all over again.

Everybody in O’Leary knows everybody’s business. If they don’t, they just make it up as they go along. 🙂 Welcome to Small Town America. There are a ton of secondary characters, some of which I met in The Date. Ash and Cal are here, as well as my new favorite bitchy bitch, Karen, Ash’s sister-in-law. Good Lord, that woman was nuts, but she was also hilarious as hell. I think I’m able to like her because she wasn’t in the book much. She’s one of those ‘nice in small doses’ types of characters. In The Date she was planning a wedding and being the bridezilla from hell. In The Fall she’s pregnant and bothered by everything because of her ‘delicate’ condition. She had me laughing more often than not.

Ev’s grandfather Hen (Henry) was a blast. I despised him at first but that changed the more I read. By the time the book was over I adored him. He has a reason for his grumpiness and there’s a good heart underneath all that gruff.  There’s also a bit of a mystery in The Fall. First a camper goes missing and then a ranger. There’s lots of gossip and speculation over what happened to both, but it’s mostly just Karen trying to cause a panic. I guess I should’ve seen what was going to happen in regards to all of that. All the signs were there pretty much from the beginning. The mystery, while interesting enough, should’ve either been elaborated on or removed all together. Parts of it kind of felt forced. Others may see it differently.

You know how a character can make a stupid comment that you know they won’t be able to come back from? At one point Silas does this and it’s overheard by both Hen and Ev. Well, and pretty much the whole town. That almost killed it for him with me. He didn’t mean what he said – he was only trying to stop the rumors that were flying about him and Ev – but it was still beyond ignorant. Thankfully, he made good later. It was nice watching Mr. Commitment Phobe suddenly discover that he’s so ready to commit. The only real problem I had with the book was Everett. I get that he was mourning. I get that he felt guilty because he was alive and Adrian wasn’t. I get why he got emotional a few times when something brought him closer to Silas. But things can go on for too long before they start getting tiring. That’s what happened in this book. I still liked Everett and Silas together but I kept waiting for something else to push them apart yet again.

I also should point out that Silas is dealing with his own mourning, though it was his younger brother he lost, not a husband or partner. This is actually quite important to the story as a whole. Silas lost his brother over a decade before. Having lost two siblings myself, I wasn’t sure how I felt about how Silas was in regards to his late brother. But then I remembered that all people grieve differently – as I know only too well – and Silas wanted to remember his brother as he lived, not as who he could have been had he lived.

I liked the ending. There’s even a bonus scene, an epilogue really, that had me grinning. There were a few sad moments. There were more than a few funny ones.  In the end it was nice finally seeing Si and Ev work through their issues to find their HEA, even if I did feel like it dragged on a little too long.

I’m enjoying this series and hope to read the next one soon, The Gift. The jury is out on Daniel, one of the main characters in that one. Hopefully he’ll surprise me.