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Raised in a religious household, being gay was never an option for Steven, but when an injury left him incapacitated, he was forced to face those urges that he’s been able to ignore for the last thirty-eight years of his life…
Three months ago, Major Steven Hardesty’s life sat on the precipice of perfection. Now he’s trying to come back from a life-threatening injury and a devastating romantic loss all while trying to figure out what he’s going to do after separating from the Air Force.
Billy Starr never planned on running his family ranch by himself. He was supposed to be doing it with his sister, Whitney. But when she died in a freak accident, it sent his life in a tailspin of despair and alcohol.
Steven and Billy were friends. Billy offered the ranch as a good, private place where Steven could recover, but as their friendship deepened, so did other feelings. Is it possible that a love affair between the two of them could heal them both? Or break them even more?
Review by Xanthe
This is book six in the When the Mission Ends series but this is the first one I have read and I will definitely be going back to work my way through them. Christi Snow offers a good story line along with well developed characters and a wonderful connection being built.
We follow Major Steven Hardesty, who is recovering from just being shot, heading to the ranch of his friend Billy Starr where it will be easier to recover. Never mind that each man is secretly lusting after the other.
Steven is very much in the closet. Leaving the Air Force and spending so much time with Billy may have him rethinking his life plan but it’s not just himself that he worries about.
Billy has trauma in his past that made him pledge to live the lonely single life out on his ranch. Until he got to know and like Steven. But it seems that someone is out to get him and it soon becomes even more important to keep the ranch a safe space as it’s not just Billy and Steven anymore.
I loved this story, Steven and Billy both going on their own, separate journeys as well as the one that they are on together. We start with a traumatic event that we come in on the aftermath of. During Steven’s recovery, the two men learn more about themselves and each other when together and it’s lovely to read their developing relationship. The hard part being Steven being closeted and why. His family link is surprising to everyone and there’s a reason Steven keeps it away from them all. I do think that this part of the story is also relevant to today’s political climate and how things are going in the US at the moment. It’s interesting reading from Steven’s POV and his feelings towards it.
Their relationship develops at a good pace though I was slightly surprised how quickly and how well Steven decided on his relationship with Billy. Especially with the added tension of the danger around the ranch and a new development in Steven’s life about half way in the book.
With everything going on in Steven’s life, Billy’s troubles don’t seem to impact as much but they are just as important. His alcoholism is a constant battle and lessens his self worth. His moments of introspection tug on your heartstrings and it brings to light the lifetime fight that people face when they live with addiction.
There is a bit of mystery and suspense throughout the book also. There are separate things happening that can be put down to different things but all together it could be far more sinister. Trying to think through the book who may be doing this keeps your interest even more with it running alongside the romance.
The writing has a good pace to it. We move through events with the necessary attention to detail but not lingering for no reason. The ranch sounds like a wonderful place with the vista being described so well by Christi. The secondary characters, both good and bad fully enhance the story, offering friendship, support, and bad guys we all love to hate.
The last 20% of the book felt a little rushed as though we were hurrying to get through everything that needed to happen for the story to work out but I still enjoyed it and the ending is what all of the characters deserved.
I recommend reading this story and I will be working my way through the rest of the series which I am sure I will enjoy just as much as this one.
I received an ARC from the publisher and am happily giving a review.
Review by Rebecca
This book is a standalone, but part of a series. Steven and Billy have been through so much in what has seemed like such a short amount of time. I just want to give them a hug. The two have been friends for years, but gave in to their mutual attraction. I was cheering for them. Love the hot chemistry between them and how they helped each other despite their own internal struggles. A few spots in the book made me tear up, when you read you will understand what I mean. Great read.
Number of stars out of 5