Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.
Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.
It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.
I don’t know about you, but I love second chances. This isn’t a story about a couple attempting to start over again with each other but about them having another chance at love, fresh love and a new beginning. They are older and wiser. They are patient and responsible. They know the risks, have been burned before and are cautiously optimistic. Things begin with a slow dance or jog to be precise. Aaron is a deputy in the small town of Colton and Larx is the high school principal. Aaron is a widower with three kids, the two eldest have flown from the nest. Larx is also single but not alone. He’s recovered from a messy divorce and has raised his children by himself but they are growing up quickly. The men start running together and become fast friends. Soon the attraction that brought them together catches fire and they are ready to let it burn. And just when I thought everything was going smoothly, tragedy strikes in true Lane fashion. She took me by surprise this time. I didn’t see it coming and felt the piercing pain like she struck an open nerve. Surviving is not going to be easy and they realize they need each other, not just Aaron and Larx but their families need to pull together to make it through this one. Desperate times can forge the tightest bonds.
It’s nice to have a pair of mature men falling in love. They understand that some responsibilities come before dating but they also appreciate the comfort of having a partner when life gets messy and scary. Having someone to hold and someone to hold you when grief threatens to consume you, soothes the soul like nothing else can. I loved their little town with their country homes, chicken coops and all. Both men have great jobs but they come with staggering responsibilities. Aaron is presumed to become the next sheriff and Larx runs the high school with a clear head and strong determination. They are important to their community and feel the pressures that accompany the roles they must play. I enjoyed how they knew each other on the surface but dig deeper and discover the intimacies of one another once they become running partners. Quite simply, I enjoyed watching them fall in love.
Amy Lane never takes the easy road and that’s what keeps me coming back. I was excited about Aaron and Larx coming together but this story is much bigger than just the two of them. They are the hub of the tale but their families and the kids at school are integral to the men capturing their happiness. Blending two families takes patience and understanding, and both men are up for the task. I loved watching the love overflow from their hearts as their families merged and grew. When two young men close to Larx are struck by a crime fueled by hatred the town begins to shatter apart. When Aaron’s current investigation leads him to Larx’s boys, things melt together. A murder, an attempted murder and a coming out that will bring tears to your eyes…there’s no shortage on emotions within these pages.
A violent hate crime takes place and completely changes the tone of the story. It will hurt. If an HEA is a must for you, rest at ease and know everything works out in the end. And sex is not a priority in this relationship. Trust me, they want each other but some things are worth the wait.
Angst lovers looking for men with a wrinkle or two and a sprinkle of salt in their pepper will most likely enjoy this one. Of course, Amy Laners probably have it on their radar before now.