Neil Dalton's foundation is already cracking. Grief, guilt, and PTSD have ruled his life since a terrible crime tore his world apart last year, and he's dreading a holiday visit with the family he simultaneously needs and resents. Then someone from his past shows up and rattles that shaky foundation right out from under him.
First a war nearly destroyed Jeremy Kelley, then his family threw him out when he needed them the most. Now he's barely holding on emotionally. He spends his last dollar to get to Chicago and prays his former best friend won't leave him out in the cold.
Neil and Jeremy spend the holidays with Neil's family in their hometown of Omaha. They struggle to deal with families, flashbacks...and feelings that haven't even begun to fade since their last failed attempt at being more than friends. As they try to repair their fractured psyches and rebuild damaged bridges, they rely on each other more than ever, but they can't deny the mutual attraction that's existed since before they were both emotionally battered and scarred. If they couldn't make it work back then, how in the world can they pull it off now?
©2013 Lori Witt/L.A. Witt (P)2016 Lori Witt/L.A. Witt
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Friends to lovers is always a favorite of mine and this story is especially bittersweet in that these two characters WERE best friends, but then they tried the lovers thing and it became so awkward they haven't spoken for 5 years.
But as the story begins, Jeremy just left the military and a vicious ex who outed him to his family without Jeremy knowing. He went home after a horrific deployment to find that his parents and family wouldn't have anything to do with him. He's suffering from horrible PTSD and has no where to go in the middle of winter so he shows up on Neil's doorstep.
Neil didn't serve in the military, but he's dealing with his own trauma and PTSD after his boyfriend died. He's not really in a place to help Jeremy, but he can't turn him away. And that's where the story and healing for both these guys begins.
This is an angst-filled, heartbreaking book. Both of these guys are in a horrible place mentally, but I love that that fact brings them together. They truly begin to heal each other. It was a gorgeous story.
It takes place during the holidays so there is a trip to Neil's home in the middle of the story. Neil is out to his family, but they're very vocal about not supporting that part of him. As a result, he's never even told them about what happened to his boyfriend or the mental anguish he's been going through the past year. Those scenes between Neil's mom, Jeremy, and Neil are so heartwarming and felt so real. People don't think when they condemn about what they're really doing to the ones they love.
It's a beautiful story about the healing power of love and I thoroughly loved it.
"This book is anything but cold."
It's a favorite, that's for sure.
Any other book written by LA Witt and narrated by Charlie David. They have an amazing partnership and I love everything I listen to from Charlie that was written by Witt.
When Neil finally let's it all go, accepts his true feelings for Jeremy and lets Jeremy in.
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