Home the hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield

homehardwayDare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.

Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.

In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.

Kimi’s review:

This was one of those books whose pieces simply fell together into one cohesive whole, making a picture you didn’t expect but are utterly in love with. Dare moved away from Palladium as a teen following his father’s suicide. Once grown up, became a police officer with the Seattle P.D. After falling from grace, he returns to Palladium to lick his wounds and start over, working for the sheriff’s department. It’s not an easy thing, as there are those who think he’s gotten the job they believed they should have been promoted to, people feeling awkward over the cloud the family left town over, and other small town issues. Dare doesn’t care as much about that as one might expect because he’s determined to ferret out the truth of his father’s suicide while he’s there.

He runs into walls that surprise him, not the least one being whatever Finn seems to be keeping from him. Finn isn’t the same kid who had a case of hero worship back in the day, but someone is still most definitely bullying him. It’s not all empty threats either, as mysterious events unfold tat could have lethal consequences. Mix in the sexual tension between Dare and Finn, add in a bit of fairly light BDSM play, and you have a cop who’s heart is smitten and hopes like hell that he can figure out just what is really going on with Finn and the town of Palladium. When the truth leads back to a long ago night and Finn’s own deceased mother, who’d been known as the town whore, secrets are revealed that rock the town and Dare to their core. I know I certainly was taken by surprised as hadn’t seen that coming. Recommended.

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Rating: 4.5