This quiet romance didn’t have the high level of passionate angst that a lot of the books I read have, but it was cute and sweet, with some seriousness and sadness, and had a general contemporary literature feel.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A Special Forces retiree fosters an abused boy and falls for the boy’s tutor. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Facing a Loss
Right from the beginning, this book stabbed me in the feels. Jack is home with his two brothers after the death of their father. He’s decided to stay home and take over his father’s business and spend time with his grieving mother. It’s not what Jack wanted to do, but a knee injury has forced him out of the military. Since he only contracts for a friend and his brother’s are still career military, he opts to stay.
A couple weeks later, a young teenager shows up offering to help clean up a worksite for some money. The same teenager is found badly beaten in a ditch shortly after that, and Jack is called to help him since he’d given the kid, who seems to have no family, his business card. Having been fostered by his mom and dad when he was young after being in an abusive situation, Jack wants to help give the boy, Ricky, a comfortable and loving home.
The foundation of this story feels like the relationship Jack builds with Ricky, and there’s a strong theme of family. However, rather than feeling like an afterthought, the love story fits well, more like a puzzle piece. Caitlyn is hired as Ricky’s tutor to assess his education and bring him up to the level he needs to start school in the fall. Right away, she and Jack are attracted to each other. But Caitlyn is getting over a failed marriage with an ex who made her feel like she wasn’t good at anything, so she’s slightly skittish at first.
Doing the Right Thing
There’s also the fact that Jack and Caitlyn have to be careful when it comes to dating, as they don’t want him to feel ignored or shut out because of their relationship. In fact, everything everyone does is very carefully done to make sure he’s made to feel welcome and loved by a family that cares about him rather than the situation he’s coming from. I liked the way the characters were portrayed. They act ideally, but they still make mistakes despite their best intentions.
The Romance Factor
I enjoyed the romance between Jack and Caitlyn, but it was definitely mellow and there wasn’t a lot of conflict between them. 3/5
The Steam Factor
There’s some kissing and some heavy petting, but this one is perfect for readers who don’t like a lot of detail and open door sex. 2/5
This was a nice, chill read that cleansed the reading palate from some of the more intense stuff I’ve been reading. I liked the family dynamic and the fact that I shed a few tears. I liked this first one in the series and will be waiting for the next two books which center around Jack’s adopted brothers.