Title: Family Camp
Author: Eli Easton
Release Date: March 28, 2019
Page Count: 219
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.90 stars out of 5
When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.
Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.
Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?
Geo, 32, teacher from Fresno, has been a single foster father for a month. In order to bond with his kids Jayden and Lucy, he decides to drive up to Camp Evermore near the Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains to spend a week at Family Camp with them. But the holidays start badly enough, with five-year old Lucy bawling because she’s lost her beloved toy dog during a restroom stop, and twelve-year old Jayden sulking just because. Of course, that’s when they run out of gas. Luckily, a driver pulls over and helps them out with a can of gas; even better, he has a knack for dealing with whining or sulking kids, and even little Lucy smiles again when she’s allowed to caress the stranger’s dog. That the helpful stranger’s also hellishly handsome and more than well-built is just a supplementary asset in Geo’s eyes, even though he gets treated in an oddly cold manner.
Little does Geo know that said stranger is Travis, one of the camp owners’ foster kids they adopted back when he was just a little boy, and that he misunderstood something Geo said, thus believing the latter was trying to get rid of his kids asap. And little does he know that Travis as a famous major league baseball player is still very much in the closet. But when Geo and his family are settled in and he and Travis get to know each other better, the first misunderstanding is dispelled, chemistry kicks in, their mutual attraction gets the better of them, and…
… and I stop here. Nope, won’t tell you how the story follows its nicely-paced path, won’t tell you where it leads. Why? Because you need to find it out by yourself. Meaning I really advise you to grab a copy and read it. I’m not one for easy romances; hell, I’m not even one to get teary-eyed when kids are involved in a story. But this novel really took me in, from start to end. It was well written and awesomely cute. Geo is basically a down-to-earth guy, with no insincerities, no pretences, but lots a love to share, a nice sense of humour, and a sane grip on reality. Daddy and husband material if I’ve ever seen one. Travis is just as lovable, but with childhood issues he’s still struggling with. Nonetheless, he’s a caring man, gagging for someone to hold him and love him, and he seems to be such a total hunk that even my Kindle-screen felt hot under my fingertips each time he appeared. The secondary characters are all endearing, sometimes outright funny, too.
The novel also highlights a serious issue. Namely how gay sportsmen and -women are forced to hide or lie about who they really are. That doesn’t only concern baseball. Take tennis, take basketball, hockey, soccer, skiing, whatever; hell, even a discipline such as effing figure skating (I’ve heard people say, “Dude, that ain’t sports, that’s dancing on ice for fairies!”)—take any of them, and name just one openly gay pro sportsman or -woman! Fancy a system that puts so much pressure on those who make it exist (those who do the sport) that they even can’t afford to come out! It’s just revolting! OK, rant over, I took my pills and have calmed down. At least, that state of affairs makes for a thrilling peak in this book, but I’m already saying too much here. Go get yourself a copy of this really nicely wrapped-up story, lean back in your pillows, and enjoy.
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