Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. But Henry’s junk does.
Agoraphobe Jaden shouldn’t have let his big brother put a ticket in a blind date raffle for him. He wasn’t expecting to win. And certainly not an overnight trip to the Grand Canyon with a gorgeous stranger—and his total opposite, a hunky wilderness guide.
Henry’s excited to meet a guy he clicks with, having finally finished bottom surgery. He’s been living stealth as the man he is for years, but he’s growing tired of hiding his past. Jaden not only accepts him, he captivates Henry, who resolves to be courageous and vulnerable in the rest of his life.
Back home in Denver, Henry starts to take pride in reconnecting with the trans community, while Jaden pushes himself out of his comfort zone. But freedom always comes at a price. Can they take the plunge into their wide open future together?
This novel is loosely based on “Denver” from the Heart2Heart 2 anthology. It has been significantly revised and expanded into a novel with a happily ever after ending and no cliffhanger. It takes place after Forever in the F-Word series, but almost completely stands alone.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Blind date raffle winner could have seemed sort of forced, but I like the way that their relationship quickly progressed. Both of them were open and ready to find someone and none of those pesky “walls” were up that needed to be broken down.
My biggest point of contention with the book was the portrayal of agoraphobia. Jaden is agorabphobic and has difficulty leaving his house. He makes it to this bar where the raffle is but not without panicking a bit. But he does. But then he wins and the date is flying to the Grand Canyon. A biking in the Grand Canyon. And staying at a cabin, In the GRAND CANYON. Sorry, but there is no way an agoraphobe who can’t even do his own grocery shopping is doing that.
And then when the date is over and they are back in Denver- Jaden is back to not being able to go out really. Freaks out at a local hiking trail and doesn’t leave the parking lot. So you see what I’m talking about.
Anyway, Henry is not without his issues. He is a trans man, but being in Denver, everyone only knows him as a man. They have no idea that he is trans. And Henry is starting to feel like his life pre-transition is in the closet.
Henry and Jaden together are adorable. They are open and honest with each other without silly arguments about misunderstandings. They are each lucky to have someone else on their sides. For Jaden it is his brother and for Henry it is his coworker and best friend Trip.
If you don’t know a lot about trans men, you will definitely learn a thing or two. Henry explains things to Jaden (and us) in a way that isn’t preachy and just informative.
I’m going to call this a good beach read.
3.5 Pieces of Eye Candy