Years of grueling police work have left Niall Hamarsson jaded and disillusioned with life…although it’s likely he’s been that way all along. The last straw lands when the DA refuses to try a case Niall worked for years to bring to justice. Within hours he finds himself heading to the only place he’s ever been able to call home—a place he knows he doesn’t belong.
Mat Dempsey returned to Piedras Island after his father’s death. These days he’s Island County’s sheriff. He’s happy enough, even if moving home from San Francisco effectively forced him back into the closet. Mat’s well-ordered universe collapses when a local’s body is discovered floating in the cold waters of Hidden Harbor’s marina. All hell breaks loose in the community, and accusations fly…all coinciding with Niall Hamarsson’s return.Niall and Mat have a history, and it’s not one Mat’s proud of. He owes Niall an apology, even if it means getting down on his knees. However, Mat’s first priority is investigating the murder before his community tears itself apart and he may have to ask the aloof Niall Hamarsson for help.
Push apart, pull together, yes or no… The chemistry crackles between them but will the two men be able to put aside their pasts and embrace a future?
Length: 78,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Okay… there’s a lot to go over here, so first, we meet Hamarsson when he’s handing in his resignation letter to his boss (which she doesn’t accept), and he’s hitting the road/ferry, back to the island of Piedras where his grandparents took him to live after his mother disappeared, leaving him in a closet for an undetermined amount of time. Now, I do love a good wounded bird and Hamarsson, who’s name is Niall, has a lot of baggage from his childhood…. So much so that he can’t even sleep inside the small cabin he’d once lived in, he slept out in a tent in the yard, in snowy weather… but, we’ll come back to that.
Now, leaving the city, his job, his now kind of ex boyfriend that we didn’t meet, he’s back on the island at the cabin that he inherited after his grandparents passed and he’s upset to find that it hasn’t been taken care of like he’d thought. With nothing else to do while he hides away on the island, he starts fixing it up, but injures himself, leaving him with nothing to do at all. That’s when he hears of the goings-on in town that just so happened to have started around the time he got to town.
A murdered young woman, a conspiracy theorist group, a generations-long feuding historical family, a closeted sheriff and a wounded and hiding homicide detective are all thrown together and seriously, it’s just one big ol’ coincidence after another for Sheriff Dempsey. The small island never sees much crime and certainly nothing like murder and conspiracy… but Mat Dempsey’s got his work cut out of him with a mediocre department and a meddling blast from his past that he’s at odds with more often than not.
I am going to say that it took me way too long to get into this one, as the two guys never really got together and didn’t even kiss until 97% in. I figured it was the start of an upcoming series and I liked the fact that the two have history. Not only did they kind of grow up together, Hamarsson didn’t have the upbringing Mat did, even though his grandparents did try their hardest to love him all better, he just didn’t trust… especially when leaving the abuse and neglect from his mom to the tormentors of the town bullies and school and being the weird kid, I could understand that chip on his shoulder. It made me want him to get a happily ever after that much worse! I think I shipped Nial and the dog more than anyone else because Niall and Mat didn’t get along the majority of the book and when they did admit it and attempt to do something about it, the book was over!
The big conspiracies were also hard for me to get into because they just seemed too many to be believed. It spanned both mens families, exes, random women in town and Niall hadn’t been back to the island in ten years and how did everyone know everyone? It was just a jumbled mess for me and I hate that I couldn’t follow along because two cops? The wounded bird syndrome, a big protective pupper, a wonderful, loving, accepting mother, karmic death of bigoted bad guys… I mean, these are all my favorite things!
I want to say that I might give the next one a chance, because I do feel like the next one will tie so much together that I felt was missed out on in this one, but I”ll have to wait until Spring of next year to find out and to be honest, I just don’t know if I have the patience; not only to wait until spring of next year, but also to get through a whole other book to get some sort of happy for Hamarrson.
At least the bad guys didn’t get away with being bad guys?
2.5 Pieces of Eye Candy
Thanks for stopping by, I’m Elle Keaton and I hail from the northwest corner of the US where we are known for rain, rain and more rain. I write the Accidental Roots series, set here in the Pacific Northwest featuring hot mm romance and the guarantee of a happy ending for my men. They start out broken, and maybe they end up that way too, but they always find the other half of their hearts.
I started writing way back when but only began publishing about two and a half years ago and now have nine books out. Each features a couple in my little universe, sometimes there is added mystery and suspense.
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