Small town vibes give a warmth to this age gap romance

Bring Me HomeBring Me Home by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Annabeth Albert has great skill in making you see the whole picture of her romances – the setting, the other characters, the quirks and vulnerabilities which all add together into the whole of the story.

Her new series opener is no different, we get to see Safe Harbor through the eyes of two men, Monroe and Knox, but we also see the other people who make up the community of this small town, the ones who make it a home not just a place to live.

While on the surface this looks like it would be your everyday age-gap, dad’s best friend/best friend’s son kinda romance, it’s more layered than that. It’s about expectations versus realities, about finding your path and being willing to be open to new possibilities.

I won’t lie and say I didn’t occasionally struggle with this book, even though I ended up loving it eventually, but there is a fair bit of internalised angsting which really isn’t my favourite thing to read about.

Outside tensions are great, people listening to their inner voices about not being worthy etc always ends up annoying me, even when it’s written well. Here both men have things they need to work through, and they’re totally believable, so my niggle didn’t come with that.

I just always find it a tad wearying to read about all the why nots instead of seeing a couple working to overcome them. However, this doesn’t last for a long time in the book and both men do realise they’re falling for the other and start wondering how they can make things happen.

There’s great chemistry between them and I loved how Annabeth had them exploring together in the bedroom, as neither has ever been a fan of penetrative sex. As their trust goes deeper, both discover an intimacy with the other that allows them to be vulnerable.

These are some of the best scenes in the book, not because of the sex, but because of how both Monroe and Knox find strength in letting the other take charge, especially Knox, who has an instinctive need to take care of people.

There’s also a secondary plot which is a kind of cosy mystery vibe about what happened to the mother of someone I suspect will be a love interest in the third book, which Monroe is investigating as part of his cold case work for Knox’s dad Rob, who is the Chief of Police.

Overall this was another hit from Annabeth and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the series.

Holden, a former police officer who was injured on duty and is now a wheelchair user, is up next. He’s now a Professor and runs a podcast looking at mysteries and true crime. He’s going to be butting heads with a former Navy SEAL rescue diver as the investigations into the disappearance of their friend’s mother continues.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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