Zac McKenzie is an ex-professional footballer with a secret he gave up his career to protect. Several years ago, he fled to his home in the North East of Scotland to avoid being outed as gay. Now, he owns a successful hotel and restaurant, but is it time to finally come out into the open?
Seth Pritchard feels he is damaged goods. He comes to Scotland to escape memories of the accident that left him injured, his bullying step-brothers and a life of lies.
For their whole lives, Zac and Seth have denied who they truly are to themselves as well as to others. When they meet, each man is forced to confront his fears and tear them down one by one.
Reader advisory: Dubious consent. Recollections of physical abuse, emotional/mental abuse, torture and drug abuse. Profanity.
My favourite thing about this book is the location. I love the countryside of Britain and being half Scottish I love reading about Scotland, especially the rural areas. Beautiful scenery and flavourful characters become a part of the landscape, an essential part of the story.
The first in a series, this book sets up well for stories to follow. While this story centres mainly around the two MC's Zac and Seth, we meet enough of the locals to get an understanding of the community and the tales still to come. The hotel Zac owns is a great place that I can tell will be included in future books.
I have to admit, I am not a big fan of 'famous' MC's - I much prefer humble and poor to rich and famous. This means that I kind of have to force myself to read books with rich main characters,especially so if they happen to be actors or rock stars or famous sportsmen, I'm not sure why, maybe because everyday we are fed stories of celebrities and I want to read about the 'normal' folk. (Yeah, yeah, I know celebrities are normal people, but you know what I'm saying...right?? Right??) The fact that Zac is an ex-professional footballer was not a plus point in deciding to read this book, however the Scottish setting really was, so they cancelled each other out.
As it was, I really liked Zac, more than Seth for a start. Although he had his baggage, he also had a lot of positives in his life. He runs a successful business and has a supportive family and these give him strength to be himself. He worries about the impact of his being gay will have on past partners with more to lose, but within his family and community he is able to be himself.
Seth on the other hand has a lot of fear and hate on his side and a lot of it comes from himself . His story is sad and hard, and his character rightly reflects this in his attitude. He is also in frequent pain, which does not help at all. He is quite a counterpoint to Zac, at times I found it difficult to see what the attraction was, especially from Zac to Seth... but then, the more we understand of Zac, the more I understood his pull to Seth.
I enjoyed this, particularly the setting, and am looking forward to reading the rest of this series.
For more information see Goodreads
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.