“Holding onto the past can hurt more than letting it go.”
People say six years is long enough to mourn the death of his husband but for Ross Miller, the pain is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. He’s left his glittering Hollywood life behind, yet guilt still dogs his steps, no matter how far he runs. Trapped by his past and needing to escape his well-meaning friends, he rents a cabin in the secluded Adirondack mountains. A reclusive man moves in next door and piques Ross’s interest, but his persistent attempts at friendship are rebuffed. That doesn’t stop him because the one rule Ross Miller has always lived by is to never take no for an answer.
Novelist Arden Wainwright has given up. He can’t pretend a happiness he knows he’ll never find again. Solitary days turn into years, and he remains frozen, unable to take a breath. At his wit’s end, he retreats to the mountains, but it does little to stir his creativity. He continues to hide from life and avoids his overly nosy neighbor, who insists on planting himself at Arden’s doorstep at every turn. Making friends is the last thing Arden wants, but annoying or not, he can’t get the damn man out of his mind.
Finding peace in their isolated surroundings, the two lonely men forge an unlikely friendship where they realize they’re more alike than different and better together than apart. With Ross’s help, Arden begins to rebuild the shattered pieces of his life, while Arden gives Ross the strength to face his fears and find his way home. When love comes calling you can choose to hide from hurt, loss, and pain, but if you take a chance and open the door, you might discover that running from your heart is the last thing you’ll want to do.
This book can be read as a stand alone but you may remember Ross, Foster’s best friend from Broken Silence, Book One of the Rock Bottom series.
Love amazes me. It stuns me speechless at times or leaves me with leaking eyes and a full heart. This story granted me all three. It’s a perfect example of why I continue to gravitate back towards romance stories again and again. It’s unreal how much power love is capable of. When it’s taken from you, ripped from your heart, it can destroy you. On the other side of the token, it possesses the ability to heal deep wounds that seemed to be permanent. Arden thought his broken heart would remain shattered in pieces until it’s final beat. He had no will to escape his grief and trudged along day by day in the darkness of its shadows. Ross is in a similar state and is just going through the motions. Both men had wonderful lives and were immensely happy. They were successful and achieved their dreams. Both men loved greatly and lost greatly. Both men need a fresh start but don’t know how or if they even want one. Maybe it’s because they were destined to jumpstart their lives and hearts together? Maybe they needed to fully embrace their grief before facing their new future? Maybe they need to…stop running and accept where they are is where they are meant to be? Here’s why I think you should find out…
The first few pages are sharp and quick to cut. Ross loves his husband deeply and would do anything for him. Knowing that he might not have been attentive to every detail in their relationship is devastating to him. Losing him the way he did was even more so. I haven’t read the first book in this series (yet) and understand his best friend, Foster, and partner came together in book one. Foster is wonderful and so is Justin. They were bright and vibrant and I look forward to getting to know them better in their story. We venture out into the Adirondack’s and I was in heaven. I loved the secluded cabins and peace and solace only the forest can bring. My first impression of Arden wasn’t so great. I found him cold and bitter. In truth, he was. Ross helps bring him back from his frozen state and together they discover the power of love once more. I love second chance stories and although this wasn’t another opportunity with someone, it was another chance at life. It felt genuine and Stevens did a magnificent job bringing them back to life.
Once the layers began to peel back, I never wanted them to stop. Extreme grief changes your soul. Neither Ross or Arden will ever be the men they were before tragedy struck their lives. However, once they accepted that they survived for a reason and to ignore destiny’s grace would be an insult to their lost loved ones, they transformed before our eyes. It was beautiful witnessing their hearts heal. I was delighted with the little things like savoring food once more and admiring the beauty of nature. I was grateful that Felice didn’t make it easy but also didn’t make them suffer anymore. It was turbulent at times but again, this only solidified the authenticity of their journey. I enjoyed how the guys leaned on one another for support but didn’t expect or ask to be carried. They may have nudged or pushed the other but they each made their own choice to stop running and face the music. I absolutely loved it when they recognized that it was okay to…live again and love again. I hope you do too!
Loss. The pages are heavy at times and the sorrow is severe. Acceptance and forgiveness. Guilt, remorse, and denial were the driving forces until Ross and Arden let go of the past. Love. The beauty and power to love with your whole heart, even if it’s scarred, once more.
If you like your men seasoned and recovering from a stormy past, this tender tale of two mending hearts is just what you need.
TITLE: Running From My Heart (Rock Bottom #3)
AUTHOR: Felice Stevens
LENGTH: 340 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 6, 2019
BUY LINKS: Amazon