Alec (Single Dads of Gaynor Beach Book #6) by Kaje Harper #LGBTQ+ #DuoReview #MMRomance

Dana and Erryn review ‘Alec (Single Dads of Gaynor Beach Book #6)’ by Kaje Harper.  The book was self-published on September 13, 2022 and is 286 pages.  

Why Dana read: I am enjoying Gaynor Beach and it’s residents. I am also a fan of this author.

Why Erryn read: I’m invested in this new series.

Coming back from loss, one heartbeat at a time.

Alec ran from his grief over the death of his son, throwing a few things in his car and driving west. In the town of Gaynor Beach, CA, he hit the shore and stopped. The next step would be off a broken pier into the ocean and although he stands daily watching the waves, he’s not quite ready for that. Especially when a young voice like his son’s, behind him, says, “Hey, Mister, you wanna see a picture of an albatross?”

Joe brought his preteen son to Gaynor Beach, looking for a better place to raise his kid. Kevin loves California— the beaches, the marine life, the weather, and the freedom. But when Joe finds out Kevin’s “ghost down by the pier” is a living, grieving, and much too appealing man, this simple new life is about to change, for all of them.

* hurt-comfort, single dad, grief and recovery, sweet rescue dog, bright preteen, HEA

The books in the Single Dads of Gaynor Beach series stand alone, but why not check them all out and meet the wide range of complicated, wonderful men raising kids in this fictional California town.

Buy from Amazon | Add to Goodreads

Erryn’s review:

I’m a huge Kaje Harper fan.  I love her Life Lessons series as well as her historical novel Into Deep Waters.  In fact, I often put that book at the top of the list when people ask me to recommend well-written and emotional gay romances.  When I found out she was joining the authors in the Single Dads of Gaynor Beach series, I was thrilled.

Alec is a great addition to the series.  Most of these books have some angst – it’s rare to find a single parent where there hasn’t been something that’s happened – divorce, death, etc.  Alec’s story is particularly tragic because he didn’t only lose his ex-wife, but he lost his beloved son as well.  So he left the Midwest and headed as far as he could literally drive – and wound up in Gaynor Beach, California.  He walks to the pier every day and contemplates his life. Or, more specifically, what would happen if he just kept walking right off that pier.  Every day, he hears a voice.  A young boy. Then, one day, he turns to find the boy is real.

Kevin’s a great character.  He’s a preteenager who is coming into his own.  He skateboards, he loves marine life, and he’s willing to reach out to the stranger on the pier.  The stranger who is always so sad.  Kevin’s father, Joe, is a little perturbed to discover the ‘ghost’ his son has been talking about is a real man.  But one look into Alec’s sad eyes, and Joe knows things will change for him.

Both men have challenges – Alec has unresolved issues back home, and Joe is dealing with an ex-wife who doesn’t understand why he felt the need to take their son and run away to California.  Joe had really good reasons – I won’t divulge them because it’s a plot twist I didn’t see coming.

This book has a lot of great elements – a bit of intrigue, a bit of angst – and a whole lot of heart.  I loved these characters and really wanted to see them find their happily ever after.

Oh, and Zelda.  Can’t forget Zelda.  Keeping it real – Zelda and Kevin steal the book.  But that was okay because I really wanted them to help Alec and Joe create their forever family.

I’m loving this series and I can’t wait for the next book.

Erryn’s Rating:

10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars

Dana’s review: 

When this series first started, I joined together with my co-reviewer, Erryn, and we decided to review all the books in this series. So far, I have read a lot of new to me authors, and it has been great getting to experience all the different writing styles. The characters have all been so different and the situations they have found themselves are unique. I have read Kaje Harper before and she writes in many different tropes, but I’m most familiar with her mystery/suspense romances. So far this series has featured pure romance stories. and I was definitely curious what this author would bring to the table.

At first this story felt more romance than anything. It was slow-going, but I felt like that was appropriate. Alec was a father once, but lost his son because of a terrible accident. It didn’t stop him from feeling the guilt of living while his child didn’t. It didn’t stop him from wondering if the accident was an intentional crime related to the job he was working, either. His life in Gaynor Beach was empty until he met Joe and his son, Kevin. Besides small trips to grocery stores, the only time he left his house was to stand at the end of the pier and stare at the ocean. Alec evoked a lot of sympathetic emotions from me. I couldn’t quite imagine his pain, because I didn’t want to, honestly.

Joe came to Gaynor Beach from Ohio to raise his kid in a safer and more accepting environment. Kevin is quite the handful, and I have to give Joe props. When I say handful, I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Kevin is just full of energy and curiosity. He loves to skateboard and has taken to talking to a stranger on the beach. Joe is a little anxious, and I would be too, so he goes to the beach with his son to find out who the man out on the pier is.

From there, Joe and Alec form a friendship that leads to attraction. Alec also finds himself a four-legged companion and things are starting to look up. The sadness will never leave permanently, but Alec has three reasons to come out of his house and start to live life again. It’s not all roses, though. Kevin’s mom doesn’t like being so far from her son and Alec’s company is pressuring him to come back to work in Illinois. To top that off, a figure from Alec’s past is threatening him in order to gain access to secret company information, and the FBI is involved.

I definitely don’t want to spill too much information, but the author worked in a bit of mystery and suspense, making this the most action packed book in the series. I enjoyed the change of pacing in the story and got into the intrigue. I also loved the author’s inclusion of bi, gay, and trans characters. It was an enjoyable and well-rounded story and I would definitely recommend it, as well as the rest of the series.

Dana’s Rating:

9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars

About the Author 

I get asked about my name a lot. It’s not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)

After decades of writing just for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact.

Social Media Links

Audible Profile  |  Blog/Website  |  Newsletter Sign-up

Facebook | Facebook Group: Kaje’s Conversation Corner  

Goodreads Author page  | BookBub

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