When JUDAH MADDEN flees his tiny suffocating home-town in New Zealand, for the dream of international ballet stardom, he never intends coming back. Not to Painted Bay. Not to his family’s struggling mussel farm. Not to his jerk of a brother. Not with his entire life plan in shreds. And certainly not into the tempting arms of MORGAN WIPENE, the older, ruggedly handsome fisheries officer who seems determined to screw with Judah’s intention to wallow in peace.
But dreams are fickle things. Shatter them and it’s hard to pick up the pieces. Hard to believe. Hard to start again.
But the hardest thing of all? Finding the courage to trust in love and build a new dream where you least expected it.
Can love change the world? Is it…possible? Absolutely! And in the small coastal New Zealand town of Painted Bay, it did. This story blew me away. I’m still dipping my toes into Hogan’s wonderful writing but now I want to dive straight in and immerse myself completely. I’m not ready to let them go. There is so much heart in this book. But not only are the feels in full effect but it’s passionate, lively, and overflowing with courage and hope. I believe courage and hope go hand-in-hand. You must be brave to dream and daring to trust. Both Judah and Morgan have each in spades, they just needed someone to nudge them along the path to reclaim their happiness. They bump, tap, poke, and jab…it was utterly breathtaking.
When a medical tragedy strikes Judah his world comes crashing down. His sole purpose in life is dancing. Ménière’s disease obliterates his professional dancing career and there’s no choice but for him to return to his hometown. He brought every piece of rubble remaining of his intricately built world and intends on hiding below them. He has no intention of even thinking of rebuilding and every plan to hide beneath the debris. Morgan has been in Painted Bay for five years but Judah has been gone nearly twice as long. And when the nosy fisheries officer snags Judah’s attention…something shifts. And this my friends, is where the going gets good!
Morgan, oh Morgan, how do I love thee? With all my heart! Judah is a lucky guy but then, I know Morgan would say just the opposite. Judah is fabulous in his own way but I’m always a sucker for a man in a uniform. The timing is all wrong. Neither are looking or prepared for a relationship. Yet when fate presents you with a precious gift, a once in a lifetime gift or in Morgan’s case, twice, there’s no choice but to grab on with both hands and never let go. Morgan is solid with a tender heart, still recovering from losing his wife 5 years prior. She was the light of his life and still flickers from time to time. I loved how Morgan handled tough situations. He was clear and honest, voicing his opinions and feelings from the start. No wiggle room for misunderstandings. I loved how he saw past the prickly facade and straight into the sensational core of Judah Madden. I loved how he discovered his reset button. Yep, he totally has one. I loved their fierce magnetism and racy *gulp* passion. I loved toe-top dancing, facials, and ballet tights. I loved family dinners and love found in the sidelines. I loved how this amazing small town focused on “Judah-now”, not “Judah-before”. Had can be a painful word…so why not concentrate on have? Yeah, that’s much better. Can you tell I just…loved it? You really have to get this one!
Oh, one more thing! Did you spy that cover? Gorgeous!
Rock bottom can be monstrous and full of monsters. Family can be endearing and maddening, occasionally at the same time. And love so strong, I can feel the tremors of their aftershocks across the world.
Anyone interested in witnessing a remarkable counterbalance to lost dreams and the beauty of fresh wishes becoming reality…this is exactly what you need. Book two…I can’t wait for you!
TITLE: Off Balance (Painted Bay #1)
AUTHOR: Jay Hogan
PUBLISHER: Southern Lights Publishing
LENGTH: 396 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 29, 2020
BUY LINKS: Amazon