Reviewed by Helyce
From Goodreads: Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.
Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….
I’m not sure why, but it has been a very long time since I have read Mary Calmes, and I was just a few pages in when I thought to myself, “how did I go so long without reading this author?” From the opening scene, I fell into the story, loving Kade and Joe who obviously care a great deal for each other, though it’s clear that Joe is madly in love with Kade; but rather than upset the status quo, he is content to just be in Kade’s life however he can.
Joe and Kade are on their way to pick up Declan Kemp, but upon finding him, he reveals some shocking information. If what Declan says is true, then a man that Kade had trusted with his life, had in fact been lying to him for years and let him believe he was at fault for the death of a man. An incident that had cost him not only his job, but his family. Even though Kade’s life is in complete turmoil, he recognizes that they are no longer safe and need to get out of town until they can figure something out the next course of action.
Against Joe’s wishes, Kade books all three of them on a flight to Santa Barbara, Joe’s hometown. Joe’s family runs a vineyard there, and Kade thinks it’s the perfect place to hide out. Joe has been estranged from his family for a few years, so it seemed odd that Kade would push the issue and the only thing that made sense to me at this juncture was that Kade was setting up a reunion for Joe and his family.
As this is a novella, everything happens very, very quickly. While we’re aware Joe has been in love with Kade for a long time, we learn that Kade also has feelings for Joe. It seemed that as Declan reveals more and more truths about Joe’s past undercover op, Joe is able to reveal some truths of his own. I was okay with the insta-love feel for this couple. They’d been friends, then roommates, then partners in business, therefore it was believable that they had strong feelings for each other.
I loved everything about Joe’s family and the myriad of miscommunications between family members that caused them to be apart for nearly 3 years. Though his page time was short, I also really liked Evan Pope–Joe’s ex–mostly because he really pissed off Kade and there were some seriously funny scenes. But it was Declan who captured my heart. Whatever happened that landed him where he was and forced him to do what he needed to do to survive ended when Joe and Kade found him and brought him into Joe’s warm and loving family. I really hope that Ms. Calmes has plans to write more books around these characters.
Packed with humor, this story also has a strong theme of healing and forgiveness. Calmes packs quite a lot in this short story, but she cleverly leaves some obvious questions unanswered, hopefully leaving the door open for future books with these very colorful characters.