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Bradley Zelder can’t find his way in life. After struggling for nearly a decade, he has yet to complete his college degree. Working as a school custodian, living in blue-collar Landsbury, MA, his love life is as empty as the rest of his existence. But on his way home after another disastrous date, his truck breaks down in upscale Oceanside. When he thinks life can’t get any worse, a man who is the epitome of Boston elite and everything Bradley finds attractive and intimidating helps him move his truck to the side of the road. Ashamed of his lot in life, Bradley almost lets the opportunity slip away, but he comes to his senses in time and tracks Caleb down.
From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life—until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?
This is a prime example of why I don’t DNF. I’ll be straight up and tell you I was not feeling this book early on. Nope. Brad rubbed me the wrong way and I didn’t connect with Caleb at first either. It’s tough to move forward when you can’t stand one of the MC’s and could care less about the other.
However, slowly and surely, things turned around and I found myself anxious for the final chapters.
Why did I struggle with the boys initially? To start with Brad is a self-proclaimed asshole. The opening scene is with a woman and he’s desperate to get rid of her or away from her. He sleeps with women and then can’t wait to blow them off. I immediately had a bad taste in my mouth. When he is slinking away from her house (and bed) his truck breaks down and a stranger helps him out. The only word he appears to be able to mutter is ‘shit’ and he nonchalantly shrugs his shoulders to add to the conversation with the good samaritan. Bleh. I have yet to figure out what Caleb saw in Bradley that day, but he apparently saw something I didn’t. He asked him out and Bradley ignores him.
Seriously? How am I supposed to like or respect this jerk? I didn’t.
Brad can’t seem to get the handsome stranger out of his head. He’s the first to admit he is still searching for his path in life and he is attracted to men that are confident, focused and ‘have their shit together’. Caleb seems to fit the bill.
Caleb wasn’t a quick swoon for me either. He’s older and a teacher but his rigid proper personality wasn’t very warm. The dialogue was very stilted. Opposites attract, this I know…but they were soooo different. Caleb does indeed help Brad discover himself and become a better man. I simply did not find it an easy transition to believe in. Caleb was widowed and still struggling with his grief and again…I wasn’t particularly fond of that aspect, but I was fond of how Bradley handled David’s memory.
Then we have the ‘big’ scene midway through. Wow…didn’t see that coming. It completely turned things around. I did like the man that Bradley became and appreciated the significant sacrifices he made for Caleb. The care-taking scenes were tender and heartfelt. But then the other twist with his fellow co-worker did not sit well with me. I think this is part of what hindered my enjoyment; excluding Brad’s mom, the female cast was a bunch of wackododdles. I like strong men and strong women. The mystery aspect was quite…random. Then again, it was all about the impact of random acts.
But….and big but, I was happy with the ending. I have to say, I’m glad I persevered and finished. This wasn’t a favorite and even though it was my first Kerick, I plan on trying another book from her backlog.