My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story. ― Johnny Depp
Keegan Andrews’ life has just turned the corner from bad to how-much-more-can-a-man-take? He’s just buried the cousin who was like a brother to him; then, to add insult to an already weeping wound, his long-time girlfriend has ditched him at the airport to go and be with another man.
Determined to make the most of the trip to New Zealand he’d planned on sharing with Helen, Keegan becomes a tourist in a country that is supposed to be nothing more than a short detour in a life he no longer recognizes. Meeting Dominic Lewis wasn’t on Keegan’s holiday itinerary, and the paths of their lives cross at a time when neither was looking to further complicate an already complicated state of various affairs. But sometimes fate has a terrible sense of timing, and destiny cares not one bit for even the best laid plans of men.
Tats of Honor is the story of a man who wears his love on his sleeve—or rather as a sleeve of tattoos that tell his soul-deep tale of hope and heartbreak. This is a story of death and grief and second chances at life for two men who find each other when they didn’t even realize they were looking for someone to find; let alone, for Keegan, finding an undeniable attraction to and a connection with another man.
There are some things I wish had been more thoroughly explored in this book, specifically in the development of the relationship between Keegan and Dominic. These two strangers evolved from acquaintances to lovers in a very deliberately told rather than shown way, and, right or wrong, for better or for worse, I’m a feeler who needs to be led by my heart rather than my brain in order to fully buy into a romance. Tricky that, yes? But, simply put, there was a missed connection in this story that left me more a maneuvered observer in the buildup of the relationship than an invested participant in seeing why these two men should fall in love with each other.
Having said that, though, there were some very lovely things about the book, too, in the author’s obvious affection for her emotionally conflicted and afflicted characters, as well as for the landscapes of the country in which they found each other, and the healing that came from the connection they’d nearly lost but managed to save through their want and need of each other.