ARC Review by Annie: New Hand by L.A. Witt
Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.
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Release Date: December 18th
*A copy of this was provided via NetGalley
What I love about this author is that she writes so broadly. You’ll find romance with little or no heat but there are also books that burn up the pages. There is military featured, priests, rock stars, mafia and comic book geeks. There really is something there for everyone.
I’ve followed the Bluewater Bay series since early 2015 (I think) and knowing that this (with Outside the Lines – which was released the same day) is the last book had a bittersweet feel to it. I’ve really come to love this community of actors, small-town peeps and those working on the production behind the scenes. I’m sad to say goodbye, but I’m also excited for all the new books. And when I’m craving some Bluewater Bay I’ll always have the books to take me back again.
I read New Hand immediately after I finished Outside the Lines and I realise that maybe it wasn’t the smartest move because now those two stories are so linked in my mind — also because they feature the same characters — that I’m not sure what happened in which book. At the same time I loved that I could go from Ian, Lydia and Simon’s story to Jesse’s because I came to really love him in Outside the Lines. Having New Hand to read immediately after Outside the Lines was awesome and I can only recommend you to read those two close together.
Right from the first page Witt drew me in. Garrett is grieving for his late husband. And Jesse has to deal with the stigma and prejudice of someone who recently found out about his status. To say they don’t have it easy would be an understatement. Still, there is an immediate camaraderie between them that I really loved. I’m a sucker for slow-evolving romances and this one hit just the right notes for me. I loved the natural progression and how Jesse and Garrett build a solid base of trust rather than jumping into bed five minutes after meeting. (Which given their past wouldn’t have felt realistic or true to character anyway.) Though when they do jump into bed… whew! Let’s just say these two know how to burn up the sheets!
The first half of the story is rather light and the conflict arises in the latter half of the book when the guys know each other better and are already emotionally involved.
I loved the honeymoon-phase of their relationship – when everything is great and smooth sailing. Though it doesn’t take long until reality catches up with them and they have to face what it means being in a relationship with someone who is HIV-positive.
To me it felt like Witt did a great job portraying the live of someone who is positive without it being queer-pain porn — same for Garrett who is still processing the death of his husband. Witt deftly weaves a story of loss and new beginnings and you can’t help but fall for her characters. I wanted to hug both of them so much to protect them from being hurt again…but at the same time I trusted them to figure it out together through communication and by listening to their hearts.
New Hand is told from both Garrett’s and Jesse’s point of view, which worked really well for this story and added a layer of tension. We really understand why they are reacting the way they are – but sometimes want to shake them so they see what’s right in front of them.
New Hand is another awesome story in this series and (together with Outside the Lines) rounds the Bluewater Bay series up perfectly. If you’re a fan of May/December, friends to lovers stories with a bit of geekiness this might be perfect for you. Definitely recommend you to read it!
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
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Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Riptide Publishing Review Tag: Age-Gap Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Illness / Injury Tag: Part of a series Trigger Warning: Drug Use Bluewater Bay L.A. Witt New Hand
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