A guest review by Buda
Summary Review: This is a touching story that should be read slowly and savored, for the beauty lies in all the wonderful details.
When Daniel’s invalid landlady asks for his help preventing a possible suicide from the clifftop near their home, he doesn’t want to disappoint her. So he grits his teeth, picks up his camera, and goes out to play the Chinese tourist. He’s done it before: befriended the lonely, lured them away from the danger zone, acted as a safety net.
This time, the figure staring out to sea is way out of his league, his complete opposite, the sort of man Daniel’s always admired from afar. Then the attractive Taylor turns the tables and lures Daniel out from behind the safety of his camera, and as Daniel finds himself fighting off an attraction he can’t deny, he realizes he’s in danger of being caught. Will the camera expose truths about himself that he wants to keep hidden?
As the blurb states, Daniel initially makes contact with Taylor at the behest of his landlady, Connie. Daniel and Connie have done this before; in fact, part of the reason she has rented him the room is to help prevent people from jumping from the cliff near their home. They even have a complicated set of hand signals worked out so they can communicate via Bluetooth while Daniel makes his first observations and Connie watches through binoculars. But this time, Daniel is blindsided by an attraction to this potential jumper that distracts him, even while it makes him determined to keep Taylor from jumping.
Taylor is obviously in emotional pain, but even while slightly annoyed by Daniel’s interruption, allows himself to be lured away from the cliff. Daniel asks Taylor to take a photo of Daniel in front of a nearby lighthouse, part of the ruse he and Connie have devised to get the potential jumpers away from the temptation of the clifftop. After the photo is taken, the contact should end, Daniel’s good deed for the day done. But that isn’t what happens in this case; it isn’t enough for either of the men.
There are wonderfully funny moments–some even wickedly so–in this book to counteract the deep, heavy emotional baggage of both men. And, of course, there is mention of a “delectable, denim-covered ass,” which is sure to draw your attention (it certainly did mine! g). The attraction between Daniel and Taylor is nearly instant and definitely palpable. What I found most surprising and probably enjoyed the most about the book is that there is a certain moment in the book when it is clear that while Daniel has potentially saved Taylor from death, Taylor has definitely saved Daniel from a living fate worse than that.
The two men are definitely opposites in all ways: white/Chinese, tall/short, hairy/smooth. But they are also alike in their need for someone to see beyond the surface, the defensive public facade, and into the depths of who each man really is. In an exceedingly short amount of time, due to the extreme emotions both are forced to deal with, they are able to do so. What they find in each other is exactly what they’ve been needing all along.
The timetable of the book is just over/under twenty-four hours, but that time is spent well, with months worth of angst, drama and redemption superbly paced. There are two surprises in the book I’ve promised not to reveal (actually, only one was mentioned, but I liked the other so much I decided to let it be a surprise for you as well), but that are absolutely elemental in exposing both Daniel and Taylor’s inner truths.
This is the first book I’ve read by AB Gayle (I know, I know–I plan to fix that!), but if you’re a fan of hers or redemption stories or just need a little beauty in your world for the time it takes to read a book, then I can’t think of a better title than this to fulfill that need. Highly recommended.