When Gage Evans gets a look at his hot nurse, he’s smitten immediately. Too bad he’s given the nurse the impression he’s some kind of daredevil. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Gage is a college journalism instructor writing a series of guest columns that require him to jump into new experiences — a fun bucket list, but one that does nothing to convince Ben he’s not an adrenaline junkie.
Fresh off his latest heartbreak, nurse Ben Griggs is wary when one of his patients shows an interest in him — especially when that patient showed up in the ER after a motorcycle accident. Ben’s ex was a biker, a friend with benefits, and he dropped Ben cold when someone more interesting came along. Ben isn’t the kind of guy who can hold the interest of an adrenaline junkie like Gage Evans for long. The last thing he wants is to lose his heart to the wrong man again.
The more Ben gets to know Gage, the harder he is to resist. He can only hold on for the ride and keep his guard up as much as he can. But Ben’s lack of trust seriously gets in the way of building a relationship, and Gage will only be patient so long. Can he trust Gage enough to give his heart, or are they destined to have a fling that goes nowhere?
This is a m/m romance. It is Book 6 in the Ashe Sentinel Connections series, but it can be read as a standalone.
Gage is a journalism instructor at the college who normally is in no way a daredevil. However, in teaching his students about alternative journalism he is forced to go outside his comfort zone. “Alternative journalism is not fiction. There is always a basis in fact. What you’re doing is living the story…” So, he lives the story with some disastrous results when the first article is a motorcycle ride gone bad. He ends up in the hospital, where he meets Ben, the gorgeous nurse he wants to know better. Who wants absolutely nothing to do with Gage, because “I don’t date bikers.” He’s been hurt by an adrenaline junkie in the past and he isn’t taking Gage’s word for it that he actually isn’t a biker.
Ben has some deep-seated insecurities. I haven’t read the other books in the series so I missed some of the development of that but we get enough to understand why he reacts as he does. Gage is ready for a real relationship and Ben doesn’t feel worthy or trusting of anyone so that’s out. When they do end up hooking up, Ben is downright rude. “Last night was great,” he said in a dead voice.” You want to reach out to Gage and assure him everything will be okay. The man has his own insecurities to deal with and fear of rejection, but he puts himself out there.
When Gage shows up in the ER yet again, Ben reacts poorly and hurts Gage yet again with rejection. Finally catching Gage about to hurt himself AGAIN, Ben’s had it. In an effort to keep Gage from seriously hurting himself doing his article stunts, Ben agrees to do them together but they change the activities to things like karaoke. And here is finally where they make some progress. Ben takes the time to actually listen to Gage and they try to work through and around their insecurities. But of course nothing is easy. Ben really, really makes things difficult and I felt so awful for Gage. Yes, maybe he pushed a little but he never deserved Ben’s constant back and forth.
The writing is very easy and the story flows well. I felt a connection to both characters and felt they worked well together as a couple. There were times I wanted to throw things at the world because it was unfortunately unrealistic. When Gage is having trouble and Ben has to worry about homophobia if he grabs him to help him out. People should not have to live like that, and yet it happens all over.
Let’s give a shout out to Bruiser, who stepped up to the plate when Ben needed it. He’s a great secondary character (and has his own difficult history, so he fits right in). I also really liked Chloe, a loyal friend and a true to life woman. There is a side story built in with Zane, a student of Gage’s and I’m assuming the center of the next in the series. I will have to go back and check out some of the others before I get to that one. Ben and Gage’s story is a good one and I would recommend it.
DJ Jamison worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which helped tremendously when she began her series centered on The Ashe Sentinel, a fictional small-town newspaper in Kansas. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish.
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