Title: Where He Ends and I Begin (Home #6)
Author: Cardeno C.
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (250 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A guest review by Kassa
Summary Review: The third book in the series continues with another sweet but tension-less couple.
Jake Owens, aggressive, physical, blunt and brave, is a football hero turned city cop. Nate Richardson, his best friend since before forever, is thoughtful, quiet, and kind, a brilliant doctor who has always known who he is and that Jake is the love of his life—and loyal, courageous, straight Jake has never had a clue.
But Jake has been nursing his own case of the unrequiteds, and he’s never been as straight as Nate assumes. Nate may think their passionate explosion is a fluke, a result of too much closeness for too long, but Jake is bound and determined to prove to him otherwise. For Jake, the question isn’t how they ended up in bed together… it’s how can he convince Nate that he wants and needs to stay there.
For those following the Home series, Where He Ends and I Begin is the third book published yet the first book chronologically. It’s a bit of a convoluted publishing scheme (it’s almost as if the books are published backwards in the timeline) but thankfully you don’t need to read the books in any particular order to understand the series. This book, like all the other books, stands alone. The writing is very typical of the other two books in the series and the tone tends to be too sweet and perfect. There is very little tension, almost no conflict, and every single person is accepting and happy for the couple. In fact life is pretty easy for these two once they actually tell each other how they feel. This kind of low drama, soul mate romance will appeal to fans who like their couples fated to be together with no question of anything tearing them apart.
The plot is a mixture of current events and flashbacks. The story begins with Jake and Nate right after they’ve had sex for the first time. Jake’s first person narration continues with a flashback to how the two men have been inseparable since birth. Following along their past, certain events are highlighted to show how close the two men are. The remainder of the story mixes current events with numerous flashbacks over the span of their lives. These flashbacks aren’t in any particular order and they pull from the recent past to their early childhood. The story also alternates first person narrator between Jake and Nate.
The plot of the story is very character driven in that it basically shows how Jake and Nate became the happily married couple with a child that was shown briefly in He Completes Me. There is not much action and very little drama or tension. The main issues seem to be Nate’s insecurity and blindness. Not physical blindness of course but mostly that he seemed to utterly miss that Jake has been almost slavishly devoted and in love with Nate since birth. Here is where the biggest suspension of disbelief is required because it asks readers to believe that two men who already know they’re soul mates somehow go 28 years without ever admitting their head over heals in love and lust with each other. It’s a bit much considering they have such excellent communication in every other area.
I’ll give the story credit because it tries, however thinly, to make this plausible. If you can forgive that obvious gaffe for the sake of the romance, then this story won’t bother you and its super sweet romance may satisfy. There are a few other issues you have to overlook as well. The first is that absolutely everyone in the story is pro-gay. No one bats an eye that the supposedly super-straight Jake is openly gay and every friend/family member/boss/co-worker/random person on the street is accepting and extremely happy. Of course this falls in line with the very sweet nature of the story so I doubt many readers will be bothered by this. Just know though there are no problems in this story.
Additionally the writing structure is a bit odd. The alternating narrators tend to be highly repetitious. For example the story will present one entire scene from Jake’s POV and then repeat the exact same scene from Nate’s POV. This is repeated down to duplicate action and dialogue. So the story can drag when you’re reading a scene you just barely read just from a different perspective. These also aren’t brief scenes but instead several pages long each. It’s nice to see how the two men view the same situation but it creates unnecessary repetition. Likewise the flashbacks tend to be sweet and very romantic – this is after all a two halves of one person romance – but I wish the story had found another way to incorporate them than awkwardly placed flashbacks in the middle of the story the narrator is telling.
However these are probably minor qualms since the men are the real stars. They’re exaggerations and stereotypes in every way with little nuance and depth. Nate is a doctor/genius who can’t see the obvious in front of him. He often describes himself as “slow to pick up on things” which should be in opposition to the genius characteristic but the story tries to show its endearing and charming. Jake is a gorgeous stud with a perfect body and a prickly exterior for anyone but Nate. For Nate Jake is a warm, loving, caring, and endlessly generous man who knew they’d be together from their birth. Their greatest interest is the absolute devotion and love they have for each other, which I have to admit is lovely to read if you’re looking for something sweet.
While the story tells rather than shows and goes to extremes, there is a sweetness and likability there. It’s easy to read and for those that like soul mate romances you don’t get much more destined and solid than these two. Everything comes easy to them once they just figure out they’re in love and the moments of fear and insecurity add a nice balance to the endless love and perfect sex they’re having. I purposefully waited until I wanted something easy to read and very very light to pick this up and it fulfilled that niche pretty well. It’s not a story I’d read again or take very seriously but you don’t get a much more solid HEA than these two. For the right fan, this should satisfy. Just know it’s incredibly sweet and “perfect.”