REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.
When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.
Can a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog make a go of it in their cabin in the woods? Sometimes, you have to go to the middle of nowhere to end up exactly where you want to be.
Comment: I've heard a lot about this book in one of my usual hunting-for-new-books places and I got curious about the idea of a relationship between a shy man and a teacher that is moving. I was curious about the possible relationship they might develop and based on the positive reviews, I was confident it would be a good book.
This is the story of Daniel Mulligan, a young man who just applied to a teaching position at a college in a small town in Michigan. Daniel comes from Philadelphia and hopes to one day go back home despite his conflicted relationship with his older brothers and father.
Daniel hits a dog on his first night in Michigan, after the interview for the college, and is helped by a gorgeous bigger man who takes care of the dog and Daniel himself. They seem to hit if off, but Daniel leaves.
Rex is a solitary man who lives in a cabin in the woods near the town. He likes his privacy but can't help being attracted to Daniel and wanting to be with him. Wen Daniel comes back for his job, they meet again and start to be together. With time they share a lot about themselves and develop a solid relationship. Will they find true happiness too?
I liked the story overall. It was interesting to see a slow paced development of a relationship that seemed quite balanced. The author seemed to give importance to the correct details and I was glad about most things.
What I think wasn't as successful was maybe the pace of the rest of the story apart from the romance. It wasn't always easy or interesting enough for me to follow some scenes and I lost focus a couple of times.
Daniel also faces some situations that could have been dealt with differently. Another thing I wasn't very fond of was how this was told only from Daniel's perspective...I would have liked to see Rex "speak" too, some things would have certainly have felt more interesting if told from Rex's POV.
The romance was really special because we can tell the feelings they have for each other are real and truly emotional. It was very sweet to see them slowly fall in love without realizing how deep their feelings were but surely guessing.
Daniel was someone I empathized with because he was afraid of letting go, of assuming someone would want him that much and I think this must be common to all f us, to think that at some point maybe the other person doesn't feel that's serious about us, but Rex is a fascinating character and super cute. Daniel has some issues to deal with, especially when it comes to his family and the expectation in life he has because of the way he grew up. I liked he didn't change overnight, but he learned to compromise and trust Rex to help him.
Rex is unique and I liked meeting him. He is quiet, likes older movies and has a personality that could put off many people because of his shyness and size, so opposite. But he cherishes Daniel and does what he can to make him happy and to help him in the difficulties he's going through. Rex's personal story is also touching and I really wanted him to be happy.
I enjoyed seeing them together and in love.
The secondary characters were interesting and in some cases I'm curious to see what happens to them. I assume any sequel would be with one of them, considering what happened in this book.
The plot is simple but has interesting subjects and in the parts I wasn't slightly bored with certain things, I was curious about how things would play out. Towards the end we learn something that is important and now I'm eager to know more.
The HEA wasn't sugary, it was simple and hopeful. I have hopes about seeing the guys again in future books, to know how they are, which decisions they took related to their lives...
All in all, I'm glad I read this, I wasn't always delirious about what was happening and some scenes seem to drag on... the intimacy moments between Rex and Daniel were actually sweet and easy to read, not exaggerated or full of silly endearments. The writing is positive but I do think some issues would have been done differently.