“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.” ― Laozi
Author: Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: When he finds himself captivated by a movie-star handsome stranger he meets in a bar, lawyer Ford Reilly watches a simple one-night stand develop into a taste of what living honestly might bring him.
Out and proud Gus Hansen has built a small architectural firm from nothing, but could lose it all as he tries to break a contract he signed before knowing about the project’s antigay ties.
After Ford discovers he spent a passionate night with the man on the other side of the dispute he’s handling, he finds himself in more than one quandary. He can either maintain the status quo, enforcing the contract to the letter, or he can defy his overbearing father and break free of the closeted life he’s built for himself in order to be with Gus.
Gus has his own choices to make. He knows the sting of loving a man who hides himself, but the longer he lingers in Ford’s presence, the more difficult it becomes to deny their attraction.
Review: I have to start out by saying I almost didn’t finish this book. I found myself doing something that we have all been warned against, time and time again: assuming. From what I read in the first few chapters, I assumed that there was going to be some major race issues. I assumed that there was going to be all kinds of religious rhetoric spewed, vilifying Christians. I also assumed there would be so much self-loathing angst that I would drown in it. Well, I can happily tell you that I made as ass out of myself with all that assuming!
When closeted lawyer Ford Reilly is sent up to Atlanta by his father, he is not on a happy errand. His father has sent him to enforce a contract with an architect who is trying to break ties with their company due to the source of the funding. Ford doesn’t want to fight for an antigay organization, but if he doesn’t, how will he explain his reasoning to his father?
Deciding to blow off a little steam the night before his scheduled meeting, Ford meets Gus Hansen. He is one of the most beautiful men Ford has ever seen. They spend one night together and end up developing feelings for one another. They plan to meet for lunch after Ford’s meeting the next day. Those plans change, however, when Ford finds out that Gus is actually August Hansen, the recalcitrant architect Ford is in town to force into contract compliance. Unfortunately, Gus has skipped the meeting and has no idea Ford is the lawyer who is opposing him.
When Gus shows up in Ford’s small town to turn over his plans and move on from the project, he is shocked to find himself having dinner with his one night stand from Atlanta, Ford Reilly. Even more shocking is to find out that Ford is not only in the closet, but working hand in hand with the hate group that is sponsoring the building project.
Gus is convinced by Eliza, Ford’s mother, to stay in town to complete the project, and over the course of a week, he and Ford are going to have some big decisions to make. Ford wants Gus, but he also knows that Gus will not date a closeted man. Ford will ultimately find out who will accept him unconditionally and who will not be able to accept him at all.
Dawn Kimberly Johnson did an absolutely wonderful job of balancing the extreme views of some of the characters to the more mainstream views of others. I was also seriously impressed with the fact that Ford, the closeted lawyer, had zero self-loathing. He was fully aware of himself and loved himself unconditionally. The only worry he had was completely believable: he was worried about his family’s acceptance and nothing more.
The supporting characters in this story were amazing. Gus had some great friends in Lin, Grace, and Thornton, while Ford had his brother Royce and his fiancé Cecily, along with his mother and grandmother rooting in his corner. I am also interested in seeing what happens with Thornton and the new “friend” he made. I so hope there will be another book written about all of the characters in Timothy, GA.
While this story did begin a little slowly, it quickly drew me in and didn’t let go until I read the final word. I would highly recommend this title to anyone looking for a sweet coming out, beating the odds story, with a little revenge taken at the end.