Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.
I have to admit, I was more than a little sad when I found out that New Hand would be the very last book in the Bluewater Bay series. Even so, I’m happy to say that it ended on a high note and it was rather appropriate that L.A. Witt wrote both the first and last book in the series (plus a few in between.) I really like these multi-author series. They not only introduce me to authors that I may not have otherwise known about, but they also give perspectives on a whole spectrum of ideas, situations, issues… that I didn’t know existed or never considered. In the Bluewater Bay series, there were even a couple of F/F books thrown into the mix, which isn’t one of my go-to genres. I can’t say that I’ve become a true fan, but I like stepping out of my comfort zone from time to time. Even though most of these books would have been easy to read as a stand alone, I personally think that you get a lot more out of each book if you’ve read them all. New Hand is a good example of that. Not only were some of the characters from Starstruck (the first book in the series) but Jesse was introduced in Outside the Lines, and characters in that book played an important role in New Hand. Just my opinion though. Honestly, there are very few books in the series I wouldn’t recommend. 😉
As for Jesse and Garrett’s story – these guys took turns breaking my heart. They were equally broken for very different reasons. Garrett was grieving and trying to run away from the memories. Even though he was attracted to Jesse from the first time he saw him, he spent a lot of time in his head second guessing his feelings. It didn’t help that he had well meaning (and some not-so-well meaning) friends and family re-inforcing those doubts. It seemed like for every positive step forward he took, he was pushed back two or more.
In the mean time Jesse was dealing with rejection and he couldn’t risk his heart any more by being a rebound for a grieving man. Once he realized that Garrett’s response to his admission wasn’t rejection, things got better, but he still wasn’t sure. The crazy part was, neither was Garrett, but he didn’t want to give Jesse up. He just had to convince him of that before it was too late.
There was a lot to love about this book. If you’ve been here before, you know how I feel about supporting characters and New Hand had some of the best. I fell in love with Lydia, Simon and Ian from Outside the Lines all over again, but especially Lydia. There were even more characters from previous books thrown into the mix which was also fun. Garrett went a little fan boy from time to time, which was kind of adorable, especially since he was the older man in this May/December romance.
So yeah, New Hand brought this series to a satisfying end. I’m kinda hoping that some of the authors treat readers to at least a peek at a few of the characters in the series in the future. Even if that never happens, I’m pretty sure that this is a series that I’ll pick up again.