Erryn reviews Ends of the Earth by Keira Andrews, published October 3, 2019 by KA Books, 247 pages. The audiobook was released on August 15, 2020, is 6hrs and 52mins and is narrated by Greg Boudreaux. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: I adore Keira Andrews books.
Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, and her mother tragically died soon after. Only 25 and a single dad, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. Disowned by his wealthy family, he’s scrimped and saved to bring Maggie west for a camping vacation. The last thing Jason expects is to question his sexuality after meeting a sexy, older park ranger.
Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at 41, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.
Then a hunted criminal on the run takes Jason’s daughter hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. They’ll go to the ends of the earth to rescue Maggie – but what comes next? Can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?
I have waxed poetical about Keira Andrews before and, fair warning, I’m going to do it again. Ms. Andrews always gives a stellar book while taking me to a different place every time. This time I was in the wilds of Montana.
Jason Kellerman wants to be a good dad. He gained full custody of his daughter Maggie when she was still an infant and he was still a teenager. Everyone said he couldn’t do it, but he was determined. He even had to fight off his own parents in order to keep his daughter. That meant plenty of sacrifices including working a dead-end job in a factory. But if it means he can give Maggie a good life then so be it. And she’s wanted this trip to Montana forever so he’s diligently saved to make it happen. I was glad Maggie wasn’t spoiled but also wasn’t a perfect child. Just an average eight-year-old.
Camping in Montana is cool although, uh, bears. And I can say, having spotted a few on the property where I used to live, they do give you pause. But Maggie’s determined to experience nature and Jason’s there to protect and explore. Things take a turn for the better when they meet park ranger Ben. Ben’s been doing this practically his whole life and he loves his job. His boss who is also his ex? Not so much. And the fact the man moved on to start the family Ben so badly wants? Yeah, that hurts too.
When he encounters Jason and Maggie, he searches for excuses to spend more time with them. Yeah, he adores Maggie – who wouldn’t? But he’s attracted to the much younger Jason. Spends a lot of time in his head trying to figure out how to get some alone time with the city slicker.
Then Maggie’s kidnapped by a dangerous fugitive and all bets are off. There was a moment of two when I questioned Jason’s actions, but his love of his daughter was never in doubt.
I liked how this book was a slow burn. It kind of had to be with a kid involved. But Ben and Jason do eventually find some alone time and then all bets are off. The happy ending was definitely in doubt. Ben’s never been anywhere but Montana, and Jason and Maggie’s life is back on the east coast. Obviously some kind of compromise is in order.
And since this is a Keira Andrews book, I got my happy ending. Sometimes it’s worth taking a risk to find true happiness.
I’ll also do a quick plug for Greg Boudreaux. His narrations are seamless, appear effortless, and are always a pleasure to listen to. So well done and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars