Running the bagel shop he co-owns with his father keeps Josh Goldberg busy, but he feels restless and constrained by the lack of dating prospects on tiny Hartsbridge Island. Could wounded veteran Michael Baldwin be the something more he's been looking for?
Returning home from military service after having been shot would be hard for Michael even if he weren't juggling PTSD, speech problems, and his family's political aspirations. Growing up in the public eye, he's used to living in the closet, with brief forays into anonymous sex with strangers in bars. He spent most of his life doing what his politically ambitious parents expected him to, until he joined the Air Force as a way of reclaiming his identity. After being shot, he was isolated in rehab away from them, but a return to civilian life means that he must relearn to deal with his family. Luckily, he has Kaylee, a service dog trained to keep him safe and help him cope with panic. Josh is attracted to Michael as soon as he sees him, but he doesn't know if Michael is single or gay. His instant crush slowly evolves into a friendship based on understanding, mutual respect, and desire. Together, the two men learn to navigate their ways through faulty communication, self-esteem issues, and very difficult family situations. But when a candid photo threatens to out Michael, will they be able to weather the storm? Ultimately, there isn't a lot of suspense in this story, but it's worth reading for the slow build, the yummy descriptions of breakfast food, and the sweet flirtation that unfolds between Michael and Josh. The characters are all funny and likable, and if there's room for more nuance and development, well…there's nothing wrong with a bit of fluff either.
An easy, sweet read for people who like happy endings.