Dean and Cassie are best friends, not only that, they are roommates. When Cassie needs to return home to a cousin's wedding she asks Dean to accompany her. Cassie explains to her openly gay best friends she doesn't want her family to get "in her business" about her relationship situation (especially since they have someone specific in mind that she is NOT interested in). Dean accepts though he isn't sure how a vegetarian city boy like himself would get along with Cassie's hunter family and not to mention the rural area in which they live in. Yep, it was funny (in a kind of scary way, for me at least..) that first thing he stumbles upon his arrival is the family dealing with a "stray snake".
The last thing Dean expected was to be attracted to one of Cassie's brothers, not only just one of the brothers but the one who is most annoyed with his personal beliefs. Yet Callum isn't simply "mad at Dean" he is SO into him and yet he has been so closeted no one in his family or friends know he is gay which makes him even more crazy in this situation. Lusting over his sister's date isn't a very good idea as it is. The story is told from both Dean and Callum's POV which was a pure joy to read. I felt as though I got the whole story - both Dean and Callum's story, inner struggles and naturally the attraction to relationship buildup. I can't even say who I like best from the two of them. They fit together wonderfully it was just them finding a way to be together. At first it was admitting to one another the more obvious truths - He and Cassie are NOT a couple, and the both of them are gay.. even though Callum's situation is problematic with his family not knowing about him.. Then when they start to build something together there are decisions to be made.. Callum dating his sister's best friend while keeping it a secret from her doesn't sit well with him, and yet there's the big question what happens "the day after", when Dean returns home. Callum cannot leave his family's estate because of too many reasons to count and Dean is a city boy, finishing his Master degree in one semester then planning on staying and working for one of his professors..
I loved the way it was resolved, I had a different solution in mind the whole time, but frankly, I'm not sure if I would have liked the story to conclude that way, it would have been too "perfect", or not realistic enough.. as it was, I loved that it felt like a real genuine possibility, also enabling them to really build their relationship. I'm trying not to spoiler.. that's why I'm being so vague..
Besides the main couple getting together there is a LOT happening with Cassie's family members, herself included. Cassie's younger brother Billie is suffering from epilepsy and has a guiding dog. He and Dean connect right from the start, I loved that. Also the relationship between the guys in the family to their grandmother was endearing. She took her role as a "grandmother + mother" when Cassie's mother died on Billie's birth and while she can be strict, she is so loving and understanding.
Such a beautiful story and sweet romance. I loved every bit of it. I gotta say, Christina's last two novels weren't my favorites, it was mostly because THIS is what I love best - a romantic journey. Yeah I read Suspense at times, and naturally I do read Paranormal Romance but this kind of romance is what truly captures my heart. Christina's "Between Breaths" series was exactly that and this is what I expected from her adult novels to be like, which is why I was a bit disappointed with the last two - I didn't get the more mature version of her previous way of portraying a HEA. I hope the next in the series are going to be more like this one (less about the MC club which is a a sub-genre I don't find appealing)
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. For me it had everything, a touching love story, a family worth having and cherishing, strong friendships and acceptance.
Also it was the best kind of story to read on my half work / half relaxing vocation I'm currently on.
I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 250 pages, 2-3 December 2015 / On GoodReads