Author: Rosalind Abel
Publisher: Self Published
Summary: Lavender Shores’s resident tattoo artist, Connor Clark, looks the part—six foot six, musclebound, and covered in ink—and most definitely doesn’t blend in. Grafted into the Bryant family as a teenager to escape his abusive father, the Bryants saved his life, but Connor has never truly felt a part of the founding family royalty. And if his heart’s desire were revealed, it would betray everything the Bryants have done for him.
Micah Bryant was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s always had everything he ever wanted—save the one he desires most. Even moving to New York City for a few years didn’t dampen his passion. Not that Micah had expected it to. He’s known his destiny since he was nine years old, the moment it had walked through his door.
After years of longing, years of secrets and stolen moments of passion and love, Connor weakens enough to allow the town to see how he feels, and let the Bryants know his love for Micah is anything but brotherly. But no sooner had the decision been made than Connor’s biological family returns and shatters it all. Still, Micah holds on to the belief that their romance was written in the stars, but maybe he’d been wrong all those years….
Review: Every book in this series so far has been a stellar read but this just went to the top of the list. Rosalind Abel brought their A game for Connor’s story, the adopted son of the Bryant family, who’s been rather enigmatic until now. I was anticipating a different beginning to this book, since we last saw him with Micah in The Shipwreck. But many months have passed and Connor’s life has changed drastically, since his 17 year old nephew, Moses, is now in his care. The background for both Connor and Moses is distressing, since both were raised by a family of religious zealots. It was also surprising and affecting to learn the history of Connor and Micah’s nearly decade long, ill-fated love affair. Micah wasn’t afraid to bring it to light but Connor had fears that were hard to see as such insurmountable problems.
A personal standard for really good stories is achieving emotional investment, and I growled, cursed and sighed at my tablet over the obstacles Connor placed in Micah’s way. I really identified with Micah’s frustration, including the seemingly universal view of his decision in returning to Lavender Shores. Connor had me utterly fed up with him through much of the first half, and wanting Micah to give him a smack or something. I should have had more faith, because of course I ended up in tears for both of them, and reading the last chapters, finally able to fully grasp Connor’s concerns. It’s often an education in the human psyche in these stories, when character reactions don’t match my expectations, and then it hits me just how obvious it should have been. Connor relationship with Moses was so touching and he was so careful with Moses’ mind and heart.
This was an emotional, thought-provoking and gratifying addition to the series with an epilogue that’s gloriously romantic and seriously sexy. I recommend reading this series in order, since the characters and family appear throughout and are interconnected. A family tree on Rosalind Abel’s website is a big help too. I think if you jump in, you’ll be fine except for the founding family info and missing a few references to prior events. You’d also miss the fun and joy exploring this unique town and its residents. Already a fan? One-click this baby now!