Author: E.J. Russell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective — but fabulously shiny — outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project — as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content — not presentation — that matters.
I have to admit this is one of those books I chose solely for its cover. I’d never heard of the author, and I toyed with the idea of requesting the book from NetGalley for weeks. If I’d had a daisy, I would have plucked the petals to help me decide. But, I can’t begin to say how happy I am that I finally decided to just jump in and read it. This story does not disappoint. At all. From the clever cover that actually is a summary of the characters’ roles in the story, to the humorous dialogue, the gorgeous electrician, the cute, always-working-to-be-perfect IT professional, and finally, to the heartbreak of a family suffering along with their loved one who has severe dementia.
Gideon is all about the looks—how he looks, how his business presents itself, how his friends perceive him, etc. But on the inside, he’s just a guy who wants to be loved and accepted for who he is. And that hasn’t happened for years. Hating the month of November for many reasons, most notably, the Thanksgiving Day he left home after a clueless boyfriend left him bleeding and heading to the ER, he refuses to acknowledge those traumas and fears out loud, instead, slapping a humorous face on for appearance sake.
Gorgeous, chocolate-skinned, muscular, and perceived-as-straight electrician, Alex Henning is shouldering the guilt of being responsible for a construction accident that may have led to his father’s development of dementia. Trying to earn enough to support the family financially and take his own shifts in caring for the father who now thinks he’s an old friend named Hank, he doesn’t have time in his life for romance. Not even a romance with the cute roommate of his sister who doesn’t even remember once meeting Alex and seems to be afraid of him when they first meet.
Complex and emotional, endearing and heartwarming, sweet and romantic, this story also fully explores the impact dementia can have on the person affected, the family, and their social circle. I respect the way the author handled this sensitive subject, and I loved the way the MC’s romance took time to fully develop. And I especially loved Alex—what a great character he is! He’ll go down on my list of favorites, for sure.
If you are interested in taking a chance on a new author, or if you are already familiar with this author’s work, this is a great book to put on your holiday wish list, or summer vacation list, or just on your list of books you must read. You won’t be disappointed if you do.