“Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” – Hunter S. Thompson
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 214
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter, Evie, is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.
Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.
Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?
Review: I truly enjoyed reading this book. It did all of the things a good romance usually does for me. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me give a totally happy sigh at the end.
Basically Joel has a perfect life. He has a good job that he loves, a good boyfriend that he cares about and a lovely daughter that is the center of his universe. The icing on the cake is that Claire, his daughter’s mother, is one of his best friends. There is no bitter ex, there are no custody issues and Joel is living his dream life. Sound too good to be true? Well, you’re right.
Joel is thrown for a loop when he gets that dreaded middle of the night phone call. His no-strings-attached relationship with Dan is pushed to the breaking point and even though Joel is in no way looking for a relationship so soon, he can’t seem to stop running into this gorgeous greek god of a man, Liam. First he literally bumped into him one night at the hospital, then another time they see one another at a club and then the third time he actually gets to spend some time talking to Liam and they agree to give things a try.
Liam turns out to be the perfect man. Not only is he absolutely gorgeous, but he truly cares for Joel’s daughter and they get along wonderfully. There is enough chemistry between them for two couples and Joel finds himself starting to really care for Liam. It seems that nothing could come between them and they have a good chance to make things work.
Right when things start to heat up between Liam and Joel the doubt begins to set in for Joel. Is he moving too fast? Should he be feeling joy this soon? After convincing himself that some things are just too good to be true Joel steps away from Liam and finds himself not only alone with Evie, but lonely. He believes that since everyone else that he has loved has left him he doesn’t want to give history the chance to repeat itself with Liam.
What will it take for Joel to step up the ledge and make that leap? Will he ever be able to get out of his own way and find the happiness that is being freely offered?
Well, you know I can’t tell you how the story ends, but I highly recommend this book. Jay Northcote did a wonderful job of getting across the all of the doubts that Joel had with himself. There were moments in this book where I just wanted to cuff Joel in the back of the head. He couldn’t get out of his own way long enough to see what was being offered to him. Eventually it comes down to a very sweet three-year-old girl putting everything in perspective for him so he could see the entire forest instead of just the trees. I can’t say enough good things about this book. It was not only a sweet romance, but it was also a story of Joel’s journey. He goes from devastation to healing, and he realizes that sometimes you don’t have to do it alone. It is always ok to grab onto that offered helping hand.