I probably wouldn’t have picked up this story except that the author is Annabeth Albert, an auto read.
While age gap is a trope I read, something about dating the sons of best friends hasn’t set right with me, especially when paired with a substantial age gap. Add in other factors of familiarity of knowing the person as a child and those stories ride a fine line.
But Albert’s story, the first of a new series, successfully addresses every aspect of those issues and has written a very moving romance. It’s also a fascinating one, in that one element, a ongoing cold mystery case investigation, is left to run into the next novel and appears to be a connecting bridge to all the books in Safe Harbor.
Give me a mystery and I’m a happy reader!
Albert has always been able to get intimately into the mindset of military men. Whether they are still in service, or in the case of Monroe, a recently retired Lieutenant in the NCIS unit of the Navy. He’s returned to Safe Harbor, near Portland, Oregon, to handle the sale of the old Victorian he inherited from his great aunt and then move to San Francisco, where he plans to live an anonymously contented gay life.
Albert paints Monroe’s return to Safe Harbor as a choice both joyous as he connects with his friends and tumultuous as aspects of his plans start to become less manageable. And things he thought he knew about his aunt and life make him rethink his perspectives.
Monroe is a multifaceted person. Far from the expected textbook of a naval officer, Albert gives us a man of emotional riches and dimensions. Those sensitive layers are revealed from the beginning. And to a person we absolutely know to be Knox. Whose own personality and character traits are the yin to Monroe’s yang.
Love Knox as deeply as I do Monroe. He’s another well crafted character who keeps revealing more depths and details to his personality and background as the story progresses.
Albert is able to build a believable relationship between two men, equal in intensity and intelligence, whose passion for each other overrides any consideration for age differences.
The reader gets invested in the relationship because of the chemistry and excellence of the dynamics being shared between them. The history of needing to feeling safe as a child that’s never left behind as an adult. That deep desire to have a true home. That all rings true.
As does the power of the fear of rejection that comes from losing the love of a friend or parent who doesn’t approve.
All this great storytelling that encompasses a romantic relationship, a town and its people, and an ongoing mystery. I’m 100 percent in and invested.
I can’t wait for the next book to be released. The listed books can be found below.
Until then, I’m highly recommending Bring Me Home (Safe Harbor Book 1) by Annabeth Albert.
Note. Two person POV until it switches at the end to include a third person to set up the next story in the series. I understand why but it’s still strange to switch format that late in the book.
✓ Bring Me Home #1
◦ Make Me Stay #2 – June 15, 2023
◦ Find Me Worthy #3 – Sept 7, 2023
Bring Me Home: A Dad’s Best Friend Small Town MM Romance (Safe Harbor Book 1)
I’ve inherited my aunt’s historic house in small-town Oregon, and I need to fix it up and sell it fast before I move on to my big-city dreams. I’m one of the navy’s best investigators, but twenty years of living in base housing means DIY isn’t part of my extensive skill set.
Luckily, my best friend has the solution: his twenty-three-year-old son. Knox recently graduated from college, needs a room for the summer, and comes with a giant cat and years of remodeling experience.
Not only is Knox all grown up and hot as sin, but I recognize him. He’s the bossy, bearded guy I shared the hottest kiss of my life with. No way can my buddy find out I’ve got it bad for his son. But with all the stripping, hammering, and drilling, my defenses crumble one dance break at a time.
As our sexy secret summer fling continues, Knox also proves himself handy at fixing my grumpy mood and wounded heart. Now I can’t imagine a future without him. I can solve any problem the navy throws at me, but I have no clue what to do about loving Knox or the damage this could do to my decades-long friendship.
Can we build a forever together, or are we destined to go our separate ways?
BRING ME HOME is a small-town Dad’s-best-friend MM romance. It features a forty-something grumpy former naval investigator, a much younger ray of sunshine, a matchmaking cat, sexy times in unusual locations, enough heat to burn the neighborhood, and a warm fuzzy hug’s worth of found-family feels. Dual point-of-view and big fluffy HEA guaranteed!
BRING ME HOME launches the brand-new Safe Harbor series from acclaimed author Annabeth Albert. Knox, Monroe, and the rest of Safe Harbor, Oregon, welcome readers to a historic town with a tight friend group, memorable secondary characters, quirky businesses, and long-held secrets. Each book stands alone with a fresh couple, but the background mystery of the town’s secrets ties the series together.