Author ~ Lissa Kasey
Published ~ 1st March 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Graham Church began career as a police officer with a case so gruesome it sent many officers into early retirement. That day he helped save the lives of children and began a long crusade of protecting the residents of Friday Harbor from the worst of humanity. But brutal car accidents and the discovery of a dog fighting ring have taken their toll on Graham. Returning to an over-crowded apartment where his room is a closet, and working sixteen-hour shifts, have left him emotionally exhausted and in need of a quiet place to call home.
Jason Wullcot is a horse breeder and a mystery to the island he lives on, but is in need of a roommate for human contact. His therapist recommends Graham Church, who also happens to have a "white knight" syndrome. When Graham discovers his new roommate was one of the children he helped save twelve-years prior, Graham’s need to protect and save kicks into high gear. Only Jason has no interest in being saved. In fact, Graham realizes that Jason may not be the one in need of saving at all, but maybe, just maybe they can fill the broken pieces of each other.
Lissa Kasey is a new author for me.’ Not having read the first story in this series, Painting with Fire, I had no problem reading An Arresting Ride. Although Graham obviously played a part in the first book and its MCs, Bastian and Charlie, have a secondary role here, enough information is given about their story as needed.
Jason’s therapist approves of Graham as a potential roommate based on his reputation. Graham is a cop that is on-duty all the time. Even on his days off he is watching out for the town. He is well respected and liked throughout the island, but his whole life is his job. She believes Graham can show Jason that not everyone is out to hurt him and that as a police officer he can help Jason feel safe and be a model of how a “normal” homosexual adult interacts with others and help Jason realize that not everything requires a sexual exchange.
Jason will never fully recover from the trauma of his childhood. He has been in therapy, was adopted by a loving family and has found himself a livelihood as a horse breeder. He will always have some behaviors that may seem odd. When Graham arrives Jason can admit that he doesn’t want to be alone but that he has trouble around people. But Jason isn’t what his past and his odd behavior may suggest and just maybe Jason’s not as helpless and unaware as everyone thinks. Maybe Graham isn’t as normal as everyone thinks.
I liked that the story didn’t completely go where I expected it to. Sure, Graham has an immediate desire to keep Jason safe and although he is attracted, he puts the brakes on Jason’s moves towards him. The two develop a friendship and working relationship as Graham helps around the ranch, encourages healthier habits and Jason teaches Graham to care for the horses. The share everyday things that are new for both men, from meals, to movie nights and all the everyday things roommates would normally share with a few little hiccups here and there. Some of Jason’s actions may not make sense to Graham, but Jason tries to articulate his reasons for doing things Graham sees as crossing lines.
As Graham and Jason get closer, Graham reaches out to Charlie with concerns over the relationship becoming sexual. It’s clear they both want to go there, but Graham is afraid of hurting or taking advantage of Jason. Meanwhile, Charlie’s partner Bastian becomes a source of support for Jason. Dealing with the aftermath of abuse himself, the two form a connection and Bastian helps offer some insight to Graham. Once Graham stops fearing he may break Jason, their passion burns on the pages.
Jason isn’t the typical broken MC and Graham isn’t the typical white knight. This becomes even clearer when Graham is faced with trouble on the job and has to deal with the damage his past has done and the PTSD he didn’t know he was suffering. I know nothing about horses, but Jason seems to be a sort of horse whisperer. They were instrumental in his recovery as a child and are the one thing he has been devoted to ever since and their therapeutic value isn’t limited to only him. I did enjoy seeing the animals used in this manner, even though they did seem, at times, to be portrayed as unrealistically understanding human conversation and being given human attributes.
All in all, this was a lovely, slow burn, hurt/comfort story. I liked the way the author explored the questions of what is normal and how people heal and gave us two MCs that were more complex than expected. I’m looking forward to going back to read Charlie and Bastian’s story.
Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1)
Amazon --> http://bit.ly/2oHlrGV
Charlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.
Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust.
They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.