Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Jack Daley left his music career behind—along with his domineering father—and is struggling to make a new life for himself and his autistic sister in Bluewater Bay. When a summer storm sweeps a handsome stranger into his general store, Jack is more than ready for a fling. No strings attached, because Jack can’t share the secrets he and his sister are hiding from. Unfortunately, his feelings refuse to stay casual.
Mark Keao is married to his job as a costume designer on Wolf’s Landing. He’s autistic, so he’s used to people not knowing how to interact with him, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be a hermit. Especially when he meets Jack Daley, who dances with brooms, shares his love of the blues, and gets him like no one else. But relationships have proven complicated in the past.
Just when Mark is ready to try anyway, Jack pulls back. But Mark isn’t giving up, and neither is Jack’s sister. And then there’s the music both men love, bringing them together time and again. It will take trust, though, to bring them together for good.
This first half of this book was difficult to read, and I imagine it was difficult to write, as well. How do you create a romance and eventually a sexual relationship with someone who cannot bear to be touched? GB Gordan pulls it off by painstakingly laying the groundwork throughout the beginning, and rewarding us with a beautiful relationship between two wonderful men and an even more beautiful relationship between a man and his autistic sister.
Jack Daley left everything behind the night his sister was attacked, and he thought the attacker, a friend of his father’s, was killed. Taking his autistic sister across country, always hiding and living in fear, has taken its toll in more ways than one. Margaret has never had the education, therapy, or medical treatment she should have had for her disorder, and Jack has given up all hope of ever having a relationship because he can’t leave her on her own, even for a night. Scrimping and saving the money their grandmother gave him before her death, they finally land in Bluewater Bay, Washington, where they open a small grocery store and live a quiet but lonely life.
Until one night when a new customer comes in, and Jack loses himself in the man’s tall, lanky form and beautiful eyes—eyes that rarely ever hold his gaze. What he doesn’t realize when the man darts off is that Mark Keao has a form of autism himself, the higher functioning symptoms formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome. He does well in his job as a costume designer at the Wolf studios because he enjoys the feel of the fabrics beneath his hands, and with his earplugs in, the often loud and chaotic sounds don’t send him off the deep end.
What they ultimately discover when Mark keeps attempting to get to know Jack is that Mark can touch Jack, though it’s not possible for Jack to touch him. When they persevere, though, Jack has what he believes to be the hottest sex of his life and realizes he may be in deep trouble because he doesn’t see how he’s going to walk away from this man.
As the story evolves, a little more of the truth of Jack’s life leaks out until a crisis with Margaret finally enmeshes both of their lives for the better, and Mark helps Jack get back in touch with the one thing he missed most from his carefree youth.
As I said at the beginning, this is a beautiful love story, and the love Jack has for his autistic sister shines through nearly as much as the love he has for the man who has finally broken down his barriers. Kudos to GB Gordon for tackling such a tough job and bringing us such a sweet romance.
Cover art by L.C. Chase is heartwarming and wonderful.
ebook, 198 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Series Bluewater Bay