Review: Road to the Sun by Keira Andrews

A desperate father. A lonely ranger. Unexpected love that can’t be denied.

Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, her mother tragically dying soon after. Insistent on raising his daughter himself, he was disowned by his wealthy family and has worked tirelessly to support Maggie—even bringing her west on a dream vacation. Only twenty-five, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. So the last thing he expects is to question his sexuality after meeting an undeniably attractive park ranger.

Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at forty-one, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and skittish Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.

Then a hunted criminal takes Maggie hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a desperate and dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. If they rescue Maggie against all odds, can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?

Road to the Sun is a May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring adventure, angst, coming out, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

5 Hearts? NO! ALL THE HEARTS! Including my less than perfect one because this book gets them all!!!

Okay. I am going to warn you right now, this will be one hell of a rambling review because this book has left me strung out. I finished it, less than 20 minutes ago and I already have over 2,000 words and notes that have been transcribed from my recordings of thoughts. I had to record them last night on my way to yoga and this morning as I drove my boys to school. There was no time to actually write anything down but I had to get it out so I wouldn’t forget how I was feeling. Pish Posh! As if I could forget a single word or emotion this book gave me.

So, this book starts off with a bang of a prologue that I wasn’t expecting and one that had me wondering where it would all fit in. Once we get into the first chapter, I kinda forgot about what happened because you know, we get Jason Kellerman with his adorable daughter Maggie meeting the hunky Park Ranger Ben Hettler.

I have to take a quick moment to say how much I loved the setting of Glacier National Park in Montana. The park and specifically Lake McDonald (which you drive through the area to get to “Going-to-the-Sun Road” aka “Road to the Sun”) are on my bucket list and my phone’s background is of the gorgeously multicolored stones that show through the crystal clear water of the lake. It’s breathtaking in pictures and I can only imagine the lake, the stones and the park under the big sky is nothing less than stunning in person.

But back to the book.

Jason Kellerman is a 25 year old single father to 8 year old Maggie who is on vacation in Glacier National Park from Philadelphia. The pair is there because the park is young Maggie’s dream come true. You see, Maggie loves nature, the outdoors and everything that comes between the dirt and rocks under her feet to the trees, mountains and birds that line the sky. It’s her dream to be there and Jason is extremely fond of making Maggie’s dreams come true. Jason is a young father, having conceived Maggie with his best friend Amy during a fumbling encounter so Amy would have her first time with someone she trusted. The first time produced Maggie and shortly after her birth, an accident took the life of Amy and her parents. While almost everyone, including his own family, suggested that Jason either give Maggie up or let his parents raise her as his sister, Jason refused and set out to make a life raising his infant daughter on his own.

Jason’s issues with doing everything for his daughter are not foreign to me. It’s actually quite easy to get so wrapped up in your child and being the good parent, for whatever reason, that you lose sight of who you are. You are this new label, this new name of Dad and that is all that matters because your child, this innocent being that relies on you for just about everything has become your world and you end up revolving around them. But a tight and constant revolution can throw off the entire balance of the body, mind and spirit and that is where Jason currently resides. He just doesn’t realize it until he meets Ben.

Told in dual POV’s we know that Jason is fond of Ben when they meet and Ranger Ben leads a group on a hike and not only tolerates Maggie’s endless questions and on point answers, he seems to genuinely like interacting with her. We get Ben’s perspective right away and his thoughts on not only the young father – who is not his usual type – but Maggie as well warmed my heart. I adored Ben and when we learn that his long term boyfriend left him for the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood actor and became all that he and Ben were supposed to be, it broke my heart. Ben is left floundering with who he is and stuck in a town and a job that's been all he’s known. He hasn't stepped outside of what he wanted or where he thought he should be until he meets Jason and lovely, lovely Maggie. Only then does he start to realize that the instant attraction and protectiveness he has with Jason, this want/need to teach Maggie… these things are everything that Ben has been looking for his entire life and finally finds in a man and his daughter on vacation who showed up for a group hike. Ben, in a way reminds me of my husband who places family on the top all lists he could ever make. The man wanted nothing more but to be married and have children from the time he was a teen and Ben is the same way. At 41 years old, the ruggedly handsome park ranger is more than ready to settle down with a husband to take care of and kids to fawn over. It’s a nice thing he is attracted to Jason who has a sort of ready-made family to go. Right?

So Ben and Jason meet, there is an attraction on both parts and while Ben is ready for some action while Jason is available on vacation, Jason is still processing the feelings he gets as he is with Ben and checking Ben out. I loved sexual awakening/journey or even coming of age that we get with Jason. He and Amy got pregnant by mistake when they were both so young, just babies as teenagers that he never had the chance to explore what he likes, and who he was actually attracted to sexually. Jason’s thoughts on men and men in magazines was always more towards admiration of their physique and not an attraction to them in a sexual way. Ben naturally awakens these new feelings, this attraction and acknowledgment in Jason and it’s incredibly beautiful. I am sure that didn’t make much sense because the way Keira Andrews wrote it was gorgeous but I had to mention it.

Anyway. The men meet, they begin to spend more time together doing all sorts of hiking and sight-seeing whenever Ben could meet them and the rafting trip opens up Jason in a new way. But, his new insight about who is attracted to, namely men but more directly Ben, he starts to question if he is allowed to want it. Again, Jason’s decisions as a parent are not unique. Jason's parental guilt is something I think most parents have to deal with especially if you're a single parent you feel it a little bit more just because you're the only one your child has. Jason who decided to keep Maggie at such a young age has even more guilt and a chip on his shoulder, of being the perfect parent and as a parent, it's hard to face the fact that you took two heartbeats out of your life to give something to yourself and something awful happens. As a parent, yes sometimes we become so centered on our child that we forget that to be a good parent that self-care and self-love has to happen or else we can't be the parent our child truly needs. If Jason doesn't take care of his needs of letting himself feel emotions and be physical with somebody, with Ben, and allow himself to feel and love he's going to be full of anxiety and full of the worry… and we saw it happen.

Sorry. Rambling Red is on a roll.

The chemistry between Jason and Ben is palpable and when Ben says he is open to new possibilities, I was giddy. I adored that this book really focused on Ben, Jason and Maggie being together. In a way, it lets you know that they are what are important no matter what, that this trio, this chance meeting of three people is the focus, as it should be. Not saying there aren’t great side characters who you first loathe and then end up liking, but the focus was on the romance of this meant to be family.

Now, there is action that had my heart skipping beats and times where I so wanted Ben and Jason to stay put and not move but keep going because Maggie was all that mattered. Yes, something happens to Maggie and extreme situations can make or break people and this began to bring Jason and Ben together. Their first kiss was heartbreaking to me and their first time was nothing short of hot and a bit kinky but I loved that Jason put himself in Ben’s hands with complete trust.

But, that guilt is a tough one for Jason to kick and when his past shows up, he does what he knows and runs from Ben. The separation was painful and I ached for Ben and Jason to open up to one another. I can say that the reunion was amazing. Maggie’s reaction to her dad and Ben was so grown up but if fit her character and I really like that we got a few POV’s from her in the story as well.

I was told a few times that the epilogue would be something I would love and OMG was it ever. It was so damn beautiful that I openly wept tears of joy at my desk as I read it. That is how you write an epilogue folks. Goodness.

Road to the Sun was a stunningly tale of finding love when you thought your chance would never come. It’s a story of trust, of finding yourself and following your heart, even when it seems impossible. It’s a story that gave me hope, made me fall in love so much that my cup runneth over.

Keira Andrews has delivered another stellar read that I cannot recommend enough. Trust me, you need this book in your life.

A review copy was provided.

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