Friends to Lovers: Private Hearts (River Town book 1) by Grant C Holland

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Dak Preston is a deckhand on a Mississippi river towboat. That means four weeks on the river and two weeks onshore. It also means men willing to stick around for a relationship are hard to find. He’s learned to keep his heart protected from the chaos of men drifting in and out of his bed. Lewis, his latest boyfriend, is on the way out, and Dak faces a new month on the boat with no one waiting for him at home.

Brody Sexton, his best friend since elementary school, is reeling from the sudden illness and death of his mother. He calls on Dak to help him move into the house she left behind. While storing items in the attic, Brody stumbles upon a set of photos that changes the way he sees his family. Secrets of love were hidden far away in the heart of a relative he barely knew.

Both men are vulnerable when they get together to celebrate Dak’s last night in town before he joins the boat for another month on the river. The usual pizza, beer, and movies lead to an unexpected kiss, and their lives are changed. They have a glimpse into what could be, but Dak’s ties to the river and the mystery of Brody’s family threaten to intervene. Will they find the way to set their private hearts free?

Private Hearts is a 50,000 word friends-to-lovers romance. It has steamy scenes and no cliffhangers. It’s the first novel in the River Town series, but it can easily be read as a standalone novel.


This is a story where as usual two best friends both want to be more than friends but don’t want to mess up the friendship. Several big things happen and the 2 men suddenly share a kiss. They then are forced to be apart for a month and spend as much time talking and Skyeping as they can. While all of this goes on there is a small mystery to follow. The story meanders along with a misunderstanding and make up.

For me it felt like there were missing pieces to the story. Things were talked about in the past tense, and it felt like the reader should know about it. So while I liked the story it just felt like there were too many holes in it.

3 of 5 stars


Purchased for Review


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