Author: Ethan Day
Publisher: Wilde City
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 09/25/2013
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holi-day family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.
Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.
That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever ex-pected.
Northern Star is the first book I’ve read by Ethan Day and it certainly won’t be my last. It’s an enjoyable easy to read contemporary romance, with likeable characters and enough angst to keep even me happy.
The story starts on a bleak Christmas Eve when Deacon finds himself stuck at a snowbound airport with no immediate way to get home for Christmas. Not that home is much anyway; it consists of an estranged alcoholic mother facing jail time after her third DUI and a teenage half-sister Ashley. It’s Ashley he’s trying to get home for, he adores his sister and as much as he hates his mother for ruining his childhood, not to mention her homophobic views, he wants to help Ashley as much as he can. Deacon doesn’t normally drink, for obvious reasons, but this particular evening he finds himself drowning his sorrows. Deacon is now alone and homeless after being dumped by his long term partner by email and given a week to clear out his stuff.
Enter Steve, an older man whose own escape from unpleasant memories finds him at the same bar as Deacon. The two men connect and end the night with explosive sex but Deacon runs from Steve while he’s sleeping when his mother ends up in hospital after wrapping her car around a tree while drunk again. Months later Steve runs into Deacon at a local grocery store. Deacon has moved back to Detroit to take up guardianship of Ashley while his mothers in jail. The two men start a tentative friendship come relationship, but can Deacon outrun the demons that whisper to him in the dark that he is worthless and unlovable.
And what about Steve? Newly out Steve comes with baggage as well, an ex-wife he loves as a sister and never wanted to hurt, and a step daughter he adores. Plus the age difference of seventeen years. Everything seems to be stacked against them but can they build a future together, and do they both want it enough to fight for it?
I loved this story. The author gave us a funny charming romance which wasn’t too sweet; it had its angsty moments too. Deacon has never felt loved by anyone except his baby sister Ashley. His mother Patty is a nightmare, she’s been a drunk all Deacon’s life blaming him for his father abandoning her. She hates that he’s gay and that’s the reason he left home in the first place, as soon as he could, even though he hated leaving Ashley behind. Deacon is dam-aged and he knows it, so damaged he feels he is unworthy of love.
Steve on the other hand has finally come out as gay in his forties, which was messy as he was married at the time to his best friend’s widow and he’s stepfather to her girl Kylie. Steve adores Kylie with all his heart and wants to remain in her life but he doesn’t know if that’s possible.
Steve and Deacon connect immediately so the story is quite a basic one, how the two men build a life together, but it’s the how that Ethan Day has cracked successfully. The two men are funny together; they just fit like two peas in a pod. And how could anyone not love Deacon? He’s so damaged, and he’s had such an awful life I just wanted to wrap him up in a soft blanket and keep him warm and safe for the rest of his days.
The secondary characters were beautifully drawn as well. From the ex-wife Clarissa and Ky-lie, to Deacons sister Ashley, and all Steve’s male friends trying desperately to understand how he could suddenly, in their eyes, be gay. And then of course Marjorie, Steve’s secretary, and the Garibaldi’s, the owners of the store Deacon works at, they were all lovely genuine believable people. And Patty Deacon’s mum, who was thoroughly nasty, although in a way I could understand how she became so bitter and twisted but to hate her own son, that I couldn’t understand.
If you love damaged characters and happy endings and like a funny sexy thoroughly enjoyable read then pick up Northern Star. Me, I’m off to check out more of Ethan Day’s stories.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
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