Title: On Solid Ground
Author: Melissa Collins
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Page Count: 253
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When Jacob “Dax” Daxton returns home from war, he has to fight a new battle – the one to find his place in the world. The man who normally has a clear path to victory surrounded by brothers in combat is suddenly lost and alone. After meeting Beckett Ridge, a bearded tattoo artist, Dax’s journey begins winding down an unexpected path.
Still reeling from events that shook his foundation, Beck has never been part of anything meaningful. Now faced with responsibilities foreign and daunting, Dax’s broken spirit mends Beck in ways he never even knew he was destroyed.
As both struggle to find balance, they are healed by the comfort they find in one other. On the other side of chaos, they hope to find themselves On Solid Ground.
This is one of those books that took me by surprise. Probably because the author Melissa Collins normally writes hetero romance, so she wasn’t on my radar. The blurb sounded outstanding! But then there were all kinds of fun surprise goodies for my personal taste in the actual book: A chocolate lab PTSD service dog! Named Tonka! An adorable young child MC Beck was caring for, his niece Violet. (I’m a sucker for the warm ‘n fuzzies kids bring to M/M romances.) Ms. Collins even threw in some unexpected peril to get the angst juices flowing. The kind you usually only find in law enforcement related books. I was just a happy camper with every page turn! It was hurt/comfort overload!
Our gorgeous and entirely too-sexy-for-their-own-good Heroes are actually both quite flawed, which just helps to further the story along nicely. MC Jake Daxton has just returned from active duty in the Army and is suffering from PTSD after watching his entire unit killed in a Humvee explosion. Since he is gay and not yet out to his parents and brother, he decides to move to California and live with his best friend from college, Chloe, while he figures out what he wants to do with his life. There he meets MC Beckett Ridge, who barely survived his childhood after his drug addicted mother overdosed when he was in high school. His younger sister, Nikki, is hanging by a thread in rehab and has lost custody of her 4 year old daughter to Beck. Beck loves his job as a tattoo artist and owns his own shop with his friend Ty and is trying to stay afloat raising Violet and make a living. While not officially diagnosed with PTSD, his demons run deep and incredibly painful and his self esteem is on the rocks.
The book follows these boys and their friends, family and canine Tonka through a three month period of their lives that changes both of the boys dramatically. It is heartbreaking at times, but also uplifting and inspirational. The epilogue was glorious and had me dancing in my chair! Love that! I want to give this book 5 stars, but I’m giving it 4 because of how short the Heroes initial courtship was. It was frighteningly close to insta-love. I would have liked to have watched these two fall in love. Also, the miscommunications were a little bit Three’s Company and there were far too many of them. I think that’s enough to drop a star from a great book. And this is a GREAT book!
I can highly recommend this book to M/M romance fans, especially those that love hurt/healing/comfort (yes, we even get an injury!), children and military themes. This is a delightful book, one I won’t soon forget.
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This review was originally posted on January 2, 2015 on GoodReads. With news that a sequel is coming soon, I just had to post it here. Can’t wait!