Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M Cop
Narrator: Randy Fuller
Since the death of their mother, Josten Applewhite has done what he’s had to do to take care of his little brother and keep their small family together. But in an instant, a stroke of bad luck tears down what little home he’s managed to build, and Jos and Isaac end up on the streets.
That’s where Officer Kip Rogers finds them, and even though he knows he should let the proper authorities handle things, he cannot find it in his heart to turn them away, going so far as to invite them to stay in his home until they get back on their feet. With the help of Kip and his friends, Jos starts to rebuild his life. But experience has taught him nothing comes for free, and the generosity seems too good to be true—just like everything about Kip.
Kip’s falling hard for Jos, and he likes the way Jos and Isaac make his big house feel like a home. But their arrangement can’t be permanent, not with Jos set on making his own way. Then a distant relative emerges, determined to destroy Jos’s family, and Kip knows Jos needs him—even if he’s not ready to admit it.
When police officer Kip Rogers is out on routine patrol one night, he discovers a young man with a small boy sleeping in a shop doorway. He moves them along but has a hard time forgetting them, wondering what drove them out into the streets. Later, he decides to check that area again, and when he hears a struggle going on in an alley near the shops, he discovers that same young man being molested. He quickly puts a stop to it, and when push comes to shove, having no other alternative location to take them, he takes them to his home.
Twenty-year-old Jos Applewhite has done everything in his power to keep his three-year-old brother, Isaac, safe and warm. But circumstances combined to make them homeless. When he found out his job was eliminated, his landlord evicted them—right on the spot—and then moved them out with barely the clothes on their backs. When the cop found them in the doorway, Jos was feeling hopeless because the local shelters were filled up. Hungry and tired, he wandered around a bit but stayed in the general area until Tyler, the local “protector,” tried to exact payment for the service of keeping them safe. The payment was in the form of sex, not money, and if the cop hadn’t found him when he did, Jos would need more than just shelter. Being offered a place to stay after filling out the paperwork at the station was more than he could expect, but he decided to accept for one night.
Fortunately, this is just the beginning of a turn in the path for Jos and Isaac as they become friends with Kip and Kip eventually expresses a romantic interest in Jos. Jos is fiercely independent, however, and won’t just accept Kip’s protection and shelter without trying to live on his own to prove he can take care of Isaac.
What happens when Jos’s aunt shows up to claim Isaac? And how will Jos manage to live on his own and support Isaac while working and arranging day care? Considering this isn’t a very long audiobook—only about six hours—there’s a lot of story to tell. There are also several visits with MCs from the previous books in the series, with Carter and Donald (Fire and Ice) and their son featured prominently. There’s even a visit from Red and Terry, the two MCs I loved from the first book in the series, Fire and Water.
The narration was okay, though I believe there were several times in the dialogue when the narrator did not stick to the voice he gave a particular character. We all have favorites and we have narrators whose voices are irritating. For me, Randy Fuller fell into the latter category, and that detracted from my enjoyment of the story, thereby dropping my rating from 4 to 3.5 hearts.
If I had one criticism about the story itself, it would be that Kip’s age was not clear. I had the feeling throughout the story that he was quite a bit older than Jos, however it’s possible that he was young, and it either wasn’t stated or the mention was fleeting, and I missed it in the narration. Because of that, the romance felt more like daddy/caretaker to young boy/man than an equal partnership.
If you are a fan of Andrew Grey and/or of this Carlisle Cops series, you’ll enjoy this one too, but I’d recommend the e-book over the audiobook version.