Friday, October 24, 2014

BEAR & TRAVIS by Parker Williams

Publisher:               MLR Press                        
Published:               September 2014    
ISBN:                     978 1 02014 0295
Genre:                    Contemporary Romance, M/M, Novella  
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Publisher
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone,

Rating:                   3.5    

Dr. David ‘Bear’ Berickza and Dr. Travis Michaels only know each other through phone calls and emails. Nevertheless the two men have grown close over the past few months. Close enough for Bear to know he has fallen for his colleague in the small town of Timber Creek.

When Bear finds out Travis and his teenage daughter Tina are the only people left in Timber Creek when Hurricane Lauris approaches he decides to join them and help them in their efforts to save the abandoned animals.

Bear’s arrival brings hope and relief to Travis and Tina. But when the storm hits with devastating force it becomes clear it’s going to take more than love and the best of intentions to not only keep the animals safe, but also themselves.

This is the third book in a series but as far as I can tell the only thing linking them is the storm. As a result, the stories can be read as stand-alones and out of order. And that is just as well since this was my first book by Parker Williams.

This was a story of contrasts, and rather stark contrasts at that. On the one hand there was the love story between Bear and Travis and as love stories go it was sweet, uncomplicated and charming. The two men have, unbeknownst to each other, developed feelings for the man they only know through phone calls and emails. When Bear finds out Travis is about to face a horrific hurricane with only his teenage daughter to support him, he doesn’t think twice and drives to the rescue. When the two men are together it becomes clear to them the attraction is mutual and as soon as the devastating storm has passed they act on it. Yes, their relationship moves very fast once they get together. But considering the fact they’d been communicating for months and the extremes of the circumstances under which the meet I did not have any difficulty accepting the speed with which they moved. In fact I found it all kinda cute and heart-warming.

On the other extreme there’s the animal rescue thread to this story. This one I found rather hard to read. The idea that people would abandon their pets in the face of disaster is foreign to me and fills me with anger and sadness, just as it does Bear and especially Travis. The level of realism in this book in regard to the animals that could and could not be saved was devastating, especially because I know it has to reflect how things work in the real world. It does mean that this book should come with a warning. I know a lot of readers have great difficulty reading books in which animals come to harm. If you are such a reader you may want to stay away from this particular story.

Tina, Travis’s daughter was beautiful ray of sunshine and delight in this story. Her love for her father as well as her determination to see him happy combined with her smart mouth and teenage attitude put a huge grin on my face on several occasions.

Overall I enjoyed this book. Yes I had a hard time reading about the animals but enjoyed my time with Bear, Travis and Tina. My only reservation about ‘Bear & Travis’ is that the author tried to squeeze an awful lot of very interesting story into relatively few pages. Having said that, he did manage to portrait all three characters in such a way that I felt I knew them and what made them tick by the time the story ended. I also really liked the smooth way in which this story was told and how easy it was for me to lose myself in the tale. Which, of course, means I will have to sample other titles by Parker Williams in the not too distant future.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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