Audiobook Review: Life Lessons by Kaje Harper

Mac's three goals: keep Tony safe, catch the killer, don't come out.

Tony Hart's a dedicated teacher, though he's not much older than his high-school students. Between his profession, a few good friends, and plenty of books, he's content with his quiet life. Then the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony's life becomes all too exciting.

Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, widowed father to a young daughter, and deeply in the closet. But from the moment he meets Tony's blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can't help wanting this man in his life. Mac's not out ― can't afford to be out ― but Tony makes him want the impossible.

Mac isn't the only one with their eyes on Tony, though. As the murderer tries to cover their tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently.

(This is a rerelease of the 2011 original with light editing.)

Reviewer: Annery

If you’re looking for a bit of fantasy, where true love & good sex are a magic potion that solves all of life’s problems this isn’t that book. If however you want a realistic portrayal of two people falling in lust, love and forging a relationship despite life woes you’ve come to the right place. A beautiful audio rendition by J.F. Harding is just icing on the cake.

Tony Hart is a high school teacher, an easy going guy, comfortable in his skin as a gay man. One day he has the misfortune of kind-of-sort-of witnessing the murder of a work colleague wich brings him into the orbit of Det. Jared “Mac” MacLean. Mac is Tony’s polar opposite in every way. Mac is a gay man who due to life, society, family, reality or take your pick, has never been out, in some aspects even to himself. You know what they say about opposites.

Tony is attracted to Mac from the beginning but mostly in the “hot guy alert” sense, while attraction is not something Mac allows himself to enjoy, not at home in Minnesota, but the investigation brings them into frequent contact, Tony gets hurt and … the real stuff begins.

As I said before, for the romance purists or those wanting candy cane and rainbows this will disappoint. For one a good portion of the book is dedicated to the investigation, a fairly accurate portrayal of police procedure, which can seem irrelevant and menial but to my mind enriches and informs where Mac is coming from, his worldview. Part two of the possible let down is that, realistically, this ends in a HFN, and it leaves Tony in an unenviable position, but one he chooses. To me it was painfully realistic. Also while Mac’s story does flirt a little bit with the dramatic I’m taking into account that, though the audio is new, the book itself is from 2011, eons ago. Obergefell v. Hodges had not yet been heard making marriage equality a reality, so things we now take for granted were very much not a thing.

On the plus side Mac & Tony’s relationship is beautiful and scorching. They just get each other on a physical and mental level. A beautiful thing.

I’d definitely recommend this and follow it with two shorts: “And to All a Goodnight” and “Getting it Right”.

Ps. I already owned the original books and thus followed along a bit. It seems that inconsequential parts have been altered but nothing major.

I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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