Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Nathan (Nate) Powell/Damien Sinclair
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, World of Love
Dr Nathan Powell is ready to settle down near his family, and hopefully find the man of his dreams. He returns to the small coastal town where he grew up, but while life is simpler than it was in the city, there are also complications—like patients’ reactions to an openly gay doctor. And like running into Nate’s first love, Damien, an out-and-proud local business owner who is unwilling to be any man’s dirty secret. The reunion reignites old desire even while it stirs up Nate’s guilt over the way things ended with Damien.
When Nate’s nephew runs away, Damien accompanies Nate on his mission to find the young man. The drive to Sydney, and the search of the city, gives Nate time to reconnect with Damien—and to wonder if he made the right decision years ago—when he determined a future for them was impossible. Is a fresh start realistic for two men in their forties? But before he can ponder the second chance they’ve been given, Nate must locate his nephew.
I love stories about second chances, and I’ve also enjoyed every story I’ve read of Nic Starr’s so when I was offered a review copy of Runaway I said yes please. An added bonus for me was the setting of New South Wales and Sydney as it’s somewhere I’ve been, although it was years ago. I read this story in one sitting, sitting up way too late, as I couldn’t put it down.
Nate and Damien’s story starts when they are teenagers, and even then what Nate feels for Damien isn’t just physical. I really liked the description of first love, and the warmth in Nate’s heart when he thinks about Damien. It’s very sad—but realistic—how a comment can make someone second guess themselves, not just in that moment, but tainting something good for years to come. I appreciated the author showing this important moment in Nate’s life before time jumping to the present, as it brought home just how much it affected him more than just being told about it would have.
The rest of the story takes place twelve years later, and with Nate and Damien much older. I enjoy stories with older characters so this hit the mark for me with that as well. I found their second chance to be a sweet romance, and I really liked the supporting characters of Nate’s sister Trish and his nephew Jackson, and how Jackson’s story tied in with Nate’s. Although the story is in Nate’s POV, Damien’s perspective came across very clearly. I liked how he supported Nate, but made it clear what he wanted from their relationship. The sense of family is very strong in this story, and is one of its many strengths.
I also loved the descriptions of the settings in the story, and the references to all things Australian. I found the story quite visual, and I could imagine each scene clearly as I was reading. I loved the ending, and although it is a HFN, I think it finished in the right place, with hope for the future. I do hope the author revisits these characters though—I’d love to see more of them.
I’d recommend Runaway to readers who like a contemporary romance set in Australia with older characters, an interesting supporting cast, a strong sense of family, and a sweet HFN with hope for the future. 5 stars out of 5.