A Digging Deep Story
Drake Park has a complicated life. As a gay male midwife, he’s used to raising eyebrows. Add Crohn’s disease and things get interesting—or not, considering the sad state of his love life. Experience has taught Drake that most men are fair-weather sailors when it comes to handling his condition—gone for dust when things get rough. Staying healthy is a full-time job without adding in any heartbreak, so a little loneliness is a small price to pay. If he says it often enough he might even believe it. One thing for sure, the cop who arrested him isn’t about to change that.
Caleb Ashton does not have a complicated life. A senior detective with the Whangarei Police Department, he likes his job and is good at it. He works hard and plays hard, happy to enjoy as many men as he can while he’s still young enough—or at least he was. These days he feels adrift for the first time in his life, and the only thing sparking his interest—a certain prickly young midwife.
But can Drake find enough faith to risk opening his heart again? And does Caleb have what it takes to cope with the challenges Drake’s condition presents?
Wow…this was….wow. My first time with Jay Hogan and it was certainly memorable. I was sucked into this story and frequently lost myself in it. I’m afraid that I do know a bit about the heavy burdens of Drake’s disease. Drake is a survivor of Crohn’s. Careful to clarify not suffers from but survives because anyone hit with Crohn’s is forced to survive. As a gay midwife, he’s used to taking people by surprise but those close to him don’t blink twice at his dependency on order and control when it comes to his life. When an urgent bathroom need tosses him in the path of a growling Detective, his rigid routine is pushed. Can he bend? Can he let someone in and not just kinda-sorta-in but all the way? Drake doesn’t let many (if any) past his carefully constructed walls. And does Caleb truly have what it takes to be the rock Drake needs? If you’re willing to hold on for some pushing and pulling, let’s find out!
As I mentioned, I’m familiar with the trials and tests Crohn’s disease puts on loved ones. My brother-in-law has battled his Crohn’s demons since he was barely old enough to have a beer. After his surgery, he began monthly infusions to stay in remission. Sadly, no one thought to mention to this young man that while this (outrageously expensive) miracle drug worked wonders, it also made him sterile. Fortunately, they discovered this before crossing the road of no return and doctors were able to salvage the remaining (single digit) sperm he had left. And after two years of tears, shots, and the blessings of IVF, I have beautiful twin nieces. For them was a heartbreaking obstacle that had a happy ending but not everyone is so lucky. So, I always tell everyone when discussing Crohn’s to think ahead and be on the safe side. Freeze and save. You never know where your future might take you but not having the choice is unbearable. Okay, sorry…I had to get that out of the way first. I know Drake would want me to spread the word!
Back to the story.
So, Drake has found his groove with the unpredictability of Crohn’s and he’s doing fine. Yes, he might be alone but better alone and healthy, right? Our determined detective doesn’t agree. There’s something enchanting about the prickly midwife that he just can’t shake free from. And the more Caleb discovers about Drake, the less he wishes to. I admire a man with perseverance and Caleb has that trait in spades. Lucky for Drake! I do think things became a touch repetitive but regardless, I enjoyed them and their journey. It was also VERY different reading about a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) in New Zealand. Since I’m married to one, I can tell you there must be profound differences if Caleb’s day to day in the band of blue is accurate. It was…interesting to say the least.
What really sold me on this story was the total package. Snarky wit kept me smiling. Personal victories had me cheering. Tender and thoughtful moments had me swooning. And steamy loving had me sweating. I LOVED how Caleb never gave up on Drake. Drake pushed and pushed and suddenly realized, he didn’t want to push anymore. Despite his claims that Crohn’s ran his life, the simple fact was, he allowed it to. I adored how Caleb helped him understand it was certainly a major and demanding part of him but it didn’t define him. As long as he didn’t let it. When you truly love someone, you love every facet of them. Caleb didn’t scare or run, but he did tire of holding on when the cord was constantly pulled. I loved their differences and yet how compatible they were. Caleb joked while he embraced all the shit Drake had to deal with and it was exactly what Drake needed. I enjoyed their families, including work families. But most of all, I loved how authentic they were. It wasn’t always pretty but it sure was genuine. An impressive first time with Hogan and definitely not my last.
Buckle in for an informative crash lesson on the iron-clad grip Crohn’s disease has on its victims. Prepare for hard-won swooning, and yes, you rock the romance shit Caleb. A feisty drag queen makes quite the impression. And stubborn can sometimes slip into stupid territory but true love is never wrong. *spoiler alert* Drake is a midwife and he’s not immune to the rare tragedy his job delivers.
If you’re looking for something solid and…deep, dig your toes in here. This ride is filled with ups and downs but I promise the ending will leave you flying high.