“Life gives us something that we could hardly imagine.” ― Marcel Proust
Aidan Sterling is trying to find his way back to a normal life. At least as normal as life can be when you work Black Ops. After surviving captivity, Aidan returns to the States and he realizes he might not be as well adjusted as he could be. This realization comes while he is grocery shopping and can’t decide on a brand of cereal, yet he has plenty of middle-eastern items in his basket. Once he finally makes his choice and gets out of the store, he discovers his car won’t start. Enter Kris Jameson, a tall, built blond, who luckily has a set of jumper cables.
Kris Jameson is an honest man who works construction and does some part-time work as a bouncer at a local club. When he attends a party at his boss’s house, he never expected to see the prickly man he had helped out in the grocery store parking lot. He is attracted to Aidan, but he realizes that the man isn’t quite ready for too much, so he gives Aidan his number and decides to wait for the man to call.
For Aidan it feels almost too convenient running into this guy twice in one week. It is hard for him to switch off his “spy brain”, and he is mildly paranoid on a good day. He rarely has a good day. Eventually Aidan decides to take a chance, and he meets Kris for a drink. The two men seem to hit it off great, but when Aidan has a flashback after their first date, Kris realizes that he has to take things slow if he wants to get close to Aidan.
Eventually the two men begin seeing each other regularly, and it seems to be going well until Kris runs into some trouble at work and it causes a severe flashback for Aidan. When the man tries to back away, Kris’s brother sets him on the straight and narrow and Aidan decides if he wants things to work out with Kris he has to be honest about everything. Once he comes clean with Kris, he starts to realize that talking about his problems is starting to help. He tells Kris everything he can about his last mission, he starts to really participate in his counseling, and maybe even starts to heal.
This was a short story, but it was full of great moments. I loved how Kris could read Aidan so well from the beginning of their relationship. He seemed to instinctively know exactly what the man needed and how to make him comfortable. The two men forged a bond that won’t soon be broken. Hopefully the author will have pity on us and write a follow-up because I would love to see where these two end up. It was a great HFN ending, but I would love to see Aidan get his HEA. This book does deal with PTSD and the fallout that the people closest to the person suffering have to deal with. I felt it was handled well, and I loved the honesty in the writing. I also loved how self-aware Aidan was and how he finally realized that he could trust again, and how Kris took that trust and gave his own right back.