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In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.
Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.
But perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with. And Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.
Lon comes home from working in the mines, hot, sweaty, exhausted. After a nice shower and shave he catches the eye of a hot, young, twink staring at him in the public showers. He asks the twin (Casey) to either suck his cock or quit staring. Figuring that will make the little guy scamper away, he turns back to his shaving. But what does he hear instead of the pattering of feet? “I’ll take option A.”
Renae Kaye’s book starts off with a bang right from page one and never lets up.
The story is both simple and complex. It’s simple in that Lon and Casey meet and immediately want each other. It’s complex in that both men have a past that is heavily influencing their future.
Casey was abused in his past. Badly. Really, really badly. But he’s strong and resilient, and despite receiving some amazingly bad therapy (not abuse, just wrong advice) he’s on the road to recovery. But he still has moments of weakness, of panic and it’s those moments that drive him into Lon’s giant arms.
Lon is a big guy, always has been. In addition to being physically immense, his heart is of equal size. He’s the caretaker. The guy you go to for help. That back-fired once and now he’s gun-shy. Though Casey fits him perfectly, Lon’s afraid he might let him down, and afraid Casey might not want him when he knows more about Lon’s past.
Despite their issues, (Lon’s past, Casey’s past, their age difference, family opinion, Lon’s work schedule ) they begin their affair and it burns brightly. Little by little they get to know each other and to overcome the hurdles. Fortunately, they have great friends with great advice and Casey has a wonderful new therapist who helps him to see things clearly.
In just a few months it becomes clear that the couple are more to each other than a casual fling and things really heat up. But the past resurfaces in a couple of different ways, forcing the lovers to face things they hadn’t wanted to bring to light. It seems like things might not ever be smooth sailing, but when pushed, the truth, as always, sets them free.
Again, I was delighted with Kaye’s writing. Though her books are both funny and touching, Safe in his Arms is also deeply emotional. It is clear she did some research because the subject matter here is not an easy one. I applaud how thoroughly she addresses the issues of intimacy between partners when one has been abused. There was no quick solution or “magic wand waving” to fix the problem. The couple had to address the very real concerns each had, and face them directly. (I also thought it was hilarious how the hurdle manifested for Casey, such a simplistic problem for a nineteen year old but when viewed through the eyes of the therapist it was really a very complex issue.)
I also really appreciated the fact that Kaye’s secondary characters were real people, too. They had flaws and talents, none being all good or all bad. I thought it was great that Casey’s grandma suddenly took a different tack in the middle of the book when faced with Lon as a boyfriend for her grandson. It made her very real. I also loved the intriguing side story about Lon’s brother and sisters. Every bit of the story was important and fascinating and kept me turning pages to see what would happen.
I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it giving it 6 of 5 hearts.