J.T.’s Bar #3
Si Raines thought his plans were set for the future. He’d marry his fiancé, the bar-owner Howie Gray, continue with his covert ops career, and when he was ready to retire from that, find a new job and settle down to life together. But a text from Howie throws all the plans into a maelstrom of chaos and hurt, and Si swears he’ll never return to J.T’s Bar again.
Two years later, when an injury ends his covert ops job against his will, he finds himself back at the bar, only to discover Howie is still around, and in danger from a stalker. When Howie begs him for help, Si has to decide if he’s willing to get involved. Apart from doubting whether he can protect anyone with his injury, is he really prepared to be around Howie again? The attraction between them is still electric, and Howie seems willing to explain his behaviour. But can Si forgive him? Faced with the resurrection of old wounds and imminent danger to them both, can Si find it in his heart to rebuild his relationship with Howie and take a second chance on love?
Alpha Home starts with a bang and breaks the readers’ as well as Si’s heart, before settling down to fix the mess created on the initial pages. It’s impossible not to have your heart break for Si. He may come across as and be proud of his image as a hard man, but no amount of tough attitude can protect him from the heartbreak he experiences when Howie, the man he thought he would marry, breaks up with him.
Two years apart have failed to repair Si’s shattered hard and when an injury puts an end to the only career he’s ever known and loved, he returns to J.T.’s Bar and the man who rejected him, hoping to salvage at least one part of his life.
I loved that, from the start, it is clear that Howie is no happier to apart from Si, even if he did create the distance between them. Howie is such a good man. All he ever wanted was to look after those he loves. When caring for his (homophobic) mother proves incompatible with loving Si, he made the decision that shattered both Si’s and his own heart. Now, with Si back and his mother no longer alive, Howie and Si have a chance again, provided they can overcome the bruised feelings between them and figure out who is trying to hurt Howie before the attacks end up killing him.
Alpha Home was a wonderful combination of tension and romance with a smidgen of angst thrown in for good measure although, thankfully, the separation part of the story wasn’t lingered on. The journey Howie and Si make back to each other is a thing of beauty. Wonderfully paced, it never feels rushed or drawn out while feelings of betrayal aren’t glossed over either. The image of these two big, powerful men, who are so perfect for each other is painted with such clarity it is now imprinted on my mind. The interactions between the various covert-ops team members is delightful, riveting, and heartwarming and the mystery as to who is out to get Howie keeps the tension high and the pages turning themselves. 😊
I somehow managed to miss reading the second book in this series, and while I have no doubt prior knowledge of that story would have clarified some minor plot points in this book, I can’t say I ever regretted rushing in to reading Alpha Home.
Long review short: Alpha Home is a wonderful combination of romance and suspense; a perfect choice if you’re looking for a quick and smooth read to lose yourself in.
Related Review: Alpha Barman