Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.
Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.
Earning His Trust by Alicia Nordwell is such a sweet, heartfelt contemporary romance in the second chance at love trope. The author has many elements that always makes a story for me, a slow burn between the main characters, lovers reunited after a long period of time and given a chance to have their HEA, all wonderful aspects of this story. Nordwell even throws in an adorable baby, Micah, who realistically burbles, coos and wins you over page after page.
Actually the best relationship here is between Evin and Micah. It’s the deepest, the most realistic and the most heartfelt. The love, the exhaustion, the deep joy, the questioning over his ability to parent while putting Micah first…that makes this story. The reunion, establishing a friendship once more and perhaps a romance with Ben? Definitely falls second, maybe third.
For me, that’s not due to the characterization but to the length of the story. I feel it just needed more than 112 pages to pull off a finished, satisfying relationship between these two men. Why? Well, for one, Nordwell has the readers absolutely believing in the deep grief and mourning that Evin is still doing for David, his husband and Micah’s father. By the end of the story, I didn’t quite feel that Evin had put that away or that the author had put Evin through the steps of grief after making it such a huge part of the story. In fact, it started to sound as though she was taking a cheaper route, which I found sort of appalling.
I like slow burn stories and this is definitely one of those. It has to be considering the circumstances they meet back together again and the ones they parted under. Did all the past explanations roll out way too easily? Perhaps, although these were very young men and running is sometimes the easiest option. Again, a longer story would have brought more depth and layers to this section as well as to others.
I liked the ending and felt Nordwell brought the sweetness and romance we wanted here. Could there have been so much more to Earning His Trust? I believe so but as it is I think it’s a story one might enjoy if you like romance, second chances at love and totally adorable babies.
Cover art by Maria Fanning is adorable and perfect for Evin and Micah.
ebook, 112 pages
Expected publication: September 6th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press