REVIEWED BY CINDY
TITLE: Don’t Plan to Stay
AUTHOR: Kaje Harper
LENGTH: 152 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 9, 2017
At eighteen, Donnie Kagan’s plans for graduation, and maybe even college, were derailed by a beer, a stoplight, and a fatal crash. Now he’s twenty-four, out of prison, and bitterly determined to start over. But with the holidays approaching, he can’t resist a quick trip home to Tallbridge, North Dakota, and the man he left behind. Just a fast look, to make sure Adam’s doing all right, before Donnie starts his new life. He doesn’t plan to stay.
Adam Lindberg’s been waiting six years to get closure with Donnie. He missed that chance after the accident, fighting for his life in a hospital bed as Donnie pled guilty and disappeared into the justice system. Without so much as a letter back from Donnie in all this time, Adam’s tried to move on. And yet, he never found another guy he cared about the same way. So when Donnie shows up in Tallbridge, Adam’s ready to fight for more than three words of goodbye. Of course, Adam’s brother and dad don’t want Donnie to stick around, but it’s the busy Christmas season at the family store. If Adam asks for Donnie’s help, maybe he’ll stay long enough to finally talk about the future, and the past.
Seems like Donnie has been fighting for something good in his life for as long as he can remember. Just when he thought he might finally be having a good bit of luck, a little stupidity and a lot of misunderstanding, it all gets ripped away.
Adam has never been able to get Donnie out of his head or his heart so when Donnie shows up when he’s done his sentence, Adam is overjoyed to see him.
These two men were so easy to fall in love with. Donnie is bent but not broken, despite everything he’s been through. Adam is a little stuck in life after a family tragedy and his need to help with the business his parents built.
The author did a great job of showing Donnie’s humanity and the scars he was left with after prison. I spend most of the time feeling sorry for what he’d gone through, but I never pitied him. Even though he was scared of what he would find, he found himself drawn to the only family he ever really knew and that’s a lot of bravery as far as I’m concerned.
Adam’s natural good spirit is probably one of the things that drew Donnie to him when they were kids, along with his loyalty.
Adam’s family comes into play as well here. His dad’s reluctant acceptance, his brother’s loving skepticism, all flesh out the story and give us the background we need to help us fall for Adam.
I like how the author finds ways to pull the characters and their relationship out of the past and into the future. There’s never any doubt that they will find their happy ending, but the journey to get there is filled with angst and honesty and love and a whole lot of struggling.
There were a few teary scenes but those only make the HEA all the sweeter.
Very well written with just the right amount of sexiness that it didn’t overwhelm the story. I loved the world the author created for her characters and I can picture Adam’s family business with no problem at all.
If you enjoy a little angst with your romance (but not too much) this is the story for you.