Title: Unbreak Broken
Author: J.K. Hogan
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Pages/Word Count: 357 Pages
At a Glance: Definitely my favorite in this series, which gets stronger with each book. Brava, Ms. Hogan!
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Rory Donovan’s life is a hot mess. His marriage is failing and he’s in intensive psychotherapy, working through the unfortunate side effects of memories from a childhood trauma. The only thing good in his life right now is his job—teaching photography to gifted high school students.
Harbor Patrol officer Bennett Foster is co-parenting his teenage daughter with his high school best friend Jessie. When he meets Addison’s teacher and realizes they’ve met before, he can’t get the sexy stranger out of his head.
Striking up a sexual-tension-filled friendship, together they must help an angsty teenager deal with a dying friend. Bennett must keep his little family from falling apart while Rory struggles to come to terms with his new reality. Somewhere along the way, most unexpectedly…love happens.
Review: Unbreak Broken, my favorite of the series! While this could be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading this series in order for context and understanding of Rory’s relationships with his friends. Also, there are spoilers in this story for the first two books.
I’ve been waiting for the real story of Rory, and boy, do we get it here! Poor Rory—his marriage is falling apart and he feels like a failure. At least his teaching job is going well. When his favorite and most promising student, Addison, keeps skirting the rules, he feels that he must involve her parents. But it turns out that he is already acquainted with her father. Bennett is one of the Marine patrol who saved Nic Valentine in I Survived Seattle. Nic is the husband of Rory’s best friend, Justice, and they have all met while fixing up Nic’s boat, which was Justice’s wedding present to Nic. Bennett’s best friend is Addison’s mother, Jesse, and the result of a youthful mistake has made them happily co-parents since. Each time they are together, Bennett feels like Rory is holding something back, like there is a deep sadness that he tries to hide all the time. When he asks Rory is he’s alright, Rory is stunned; nobody ever asks him that! They all assume that he is the easy going, happy guy that he has worked so hard to project.
As they continue to run into each other around town, Bennett continues to get the impression that Rory is hiding something and that it’s really causing him pain. For some reason, Rory feels comfortable with Bennett and confesses his marriage issues and what he’s discovering in therapy. When Maia, Rory’s wife, leaves him, he decides to meet his friends Justice and Rich at a gay bar. Turns out Bennett and his partner end up at the same bar because his partner has just broken up with his boyfriend and is looking for a distraction. Rory gets rip roaring drunk, and Bennett comes to the rescue since neither Justice nor Rich can hang around to get him home. After a hot dance and some extracurricular activity, Bennett takes Rory home to pour him into bed to await a killer hangover.
While Rory and Bennett are becoming maybe more than friends, Rory is also getting closer to Addison, who is dealing with her best friend who has leukemia. She’s devastated and has been expressing herself through her photography, and the messages in the art are concerning Rory. He feels he needs to inform Bennett of his concerns, and Bennett is grateful to Rory and continues to be there for his daughter.
There is also some drama with Maia’s family that Rory has to deal with, which moves things along in his relationship with Bennett as well. This was my least favorite part of the story. I could have done without this whole episode, to be honest, although it does figure in the climax of the story.
I really loved how the relationship between these two developed. Neither is very adept at adult relationships. Bennett isn’t exactly out at work, and he really hasn’t had a serious relationship—but he’s never met anyone like Rory.
Rory has been so busy doing what he thinks he’s supposed to that he’s never figured out what he really wants. His therapist helps him immeasurably, whether it’s getting to the root of his issue or dealing with his new-found desires. She is a wonderful character in this story as well. I feel like each of the books in this series have just gotten stronger. I hope we get more in this world, whether it’s Bennett’s partner, or Rich’s brother, or Alex, I’d love to see more from this author in this nice little community she’s built. Highly recommended.
You can buy Unbreak Broken here: