Ex-con David Joyner returns home knowing he must atone for his past sins. Working at an animal shelter, David keeps his head down, desperate to prove to a hostile town he’s a new man. The one time David looks up, he spots fellow motel dweller Ben, and is terrified by his attraction to the man. David doesn’t want to feel anything. He can only damage what he loves.
On a forced vacation, PI Ben Evans accepts a job to tail a recently released prisoner. What begins as an easy gig turns complicated when Ben, a controlled man, can’t deny the pang of empathy he feels for his subject, David. Ben can’t suppress his gut-deep sexual desires whenever he’s near David either.
Repeatedly crossing paths, David and Ben do their best to fight their growing attraction. When passion explodes, and secrets are revealed, both men have to conquer inner demons in order to accept the others love.
Someone has turned the tables on David, though, stalking him and leaving threatening notes. Will anyone believe David if he tells? And when David’s stalker raises the stakes, can Ben find the man who has become his world in time to save their love?
David (who we met in A Fostered Love) was the stalker who tormented Christian and almost killed himself. He ends up going to prison and this story picks up after his release where he was also hospitalized and is still being treated by psychiatrists.
Ben is Brayden’s ex from Something New. Brayden, asked by Jonah, asks Ben to tail David and make sure he is doing ok and not hurting himself or others. Ben ends up being attracted to David and this is where I had to stop.
David is fragile. He is messed up. He still panics at the slightest bit of sexual attraction and/or attention. In fact, just thinking about kissing Ben causes him to call his psychiatrist in a blind panic.
When Ben does finally kiss him, David, showing a lot of growth, tells him, NO, I am not ready for this. So what does Ben do? He kisses him anyway, despite his obvious terror and tells him he needs it.
This is where I had to stop. David says “Please. You shouldn’t do this.” “It’s not right.” “You need to leave.”
Ben replies. “ Don’t fuck with me David. There will always be consequences.”
Now. I know from reading other reviews and talking to people who have read the book, that it is explained and might even be “what David needs”. But to me it sounds and feels like rape.
I am just not comfortable with this in a romantic novel.
So, I had to stop.
I love Cameron Dane. I have enjoyed many of her novels and all the Foster Siblings books before this. This just hit me in a bad place and I couldn’t/didn’t want to proceed.
No Rating: DNF
This was a difficult read because not only did we have a guy who’d been imprisoned for stalking a previous character in an earlier book in the series, and it was one that was easily likeable, but then as we get to know the broken man David truly is and how dysfunctional his family are, along comes some dub con scenes where he is the target.
I’m glad I stuck with it, though, as it turns out that Ben seems to understand something about David that we didn’t, and David, well, David is okay with it. It’s not perhaps the most ideal of relationship models, but these two men fit together to make one whole that gives them their idea of a happily ever after. It’s a dynamic that actually saves David’s life as we discover that the help David is receiving to aid in his rehab is being used as a cover by someone who does NOT have his best interests at heart and actually uses his fear of attachment against him.
David’s work with shelter animals touched my heartstrings too, especially the whole thing with the abandoned kitten. I’m a huge sucker for the whole kind to animals thing, and Dane did well to use this, it really helped me see David as a troubled man who has goodness in him