The Hideaway

The Hideaway (Lavender Shores Book 5) - Rosalind Abel Reviewed for Sinfully.

4.5 stars

One of the things I really love about the Lavender Shores series is that every book has a different feel. This one ratcheted up the angst and heartache, but once again gave me a beautiful love story. If you haven’t read any of the prior books, this one would work very well as a standalone.

For Micah Bryant and Connor Clark, their clandestine love affair has been going on for years. Connor was brought into the Bryant family at thirteen and raised as their own, escaping an abusive, religiously fanatical family. What started out as hero-worship for nine year old Micah, grew to full on love over the years and once he was old enough, Micah knew that Connor was his soul-mate. After his first advances toward Connor were thwarted as a teenager, things slowly started to change and soon the two men started a roller-coaster relationship that has been on and off for close to a decade. As much as Connor has fallen in love with Micah, he continuously hurts him by getting together and then pushing Micah away. Connor struggles with fear and shame, worrying about losing his family, what people will think about them considering they were raised as brothers and fearing he’d be holding Micah back from the life he deserves to live as a musician in New York. Connor still feels like he doesn’t fully fit into the Bryant family, through no fault of theirs. This is something within Connor that he needs to work through.

Micah has spent time chasing his dream as a musician living in New York City, but has since returned to Lavender Shores and gone into business with a local farmer. Nobody can understand why Micah left NYC to come back, especially his mother. Micah, however, is finally living the life he wants, indulging all of his passions. Working the land in Lavender Shores, travelling to NYC for jobs as a musician and being close to Connor in the hopes that Connor will come to his senses one day. They are at two ends of the spectrum with Micah never losing hope and Connor angsting and throwing up walls whenever things get too intense.

Just when things were finally looking like they would work out, Connor took in his teenage nephew, Moses who was in the same situation as Connor found himself in when he was taken in by the Bryants. Connor has vowed to protect Moses from his abusive, religious fanatic of a father (Connor’s brother Russell). Moses living with Connor is one more reason for Micah and Connor to be apart, but they never stay apart for long and secrets always have a way of coming out in a small town. Even in a place as accepting as Lavender Shores, Connor realizes that a relationship between “brothers” is going to push those boundaries.

The emotional ante and heartache were definitely upped with this story. There were so many ups and downs as Connor takes one step forward and two steps back for much of the book. I just wanted to shake Connor for what he was doing to Micah. Even when Micah tries to see other men he knows deep down that it will always, only be Connor for him. No one else can ever measure up, but Micah finally does reach a breaking point and Connor is finally forced to realize that of all his fears, losing Micah is the one that would hurt the most. As the story unfolds the reader begins to understand how much of Connor’s fears are tied up in the pain inflicted by his biological family so long ago, a pain which is brought back to the surface by what his nephew is suffering through.

It’s not all heartache. There are the shenanigans readers have come to expect from the founding families of the town and a couple of side characters who are crying out for a story. There is also plenty of sex in the book. When Micah and Connor are together, they are rather daring and smoking hot. You really get the feel that they physically can’t resist being together when and where the moment strikes and that man of those times they fear it may be their last time. There is also time spent at the gorgeous hideaway of the title, which can be calming but also bittersweet.

But of course, in Lavender Shores, the reader is guaranteed a happy ending for our couples and I’ll admit to sobbing through most of the Epilogue. It was as beautiful as the oceanside hideaway that was so well described throughout the story. I’m not sure if this is the last in the series, but if it is. it definitely went out on a high note. If not, I think Seth, the feisty bartender we first met in The Palisade is deserving of some happiness, especially after his part in this story.