Title: Galen’s Redemption (Links in the Chain #2)
Author: Parker Williams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Second Chance
Page Count: 250
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A Links In the Chain Story
A rich man is about to set foot into an unknown world, while a Good Samaritan fears he’ll have to close the charity he’s spent his life building. Poised to lose it all, they might find what they need most in each other.
Son of a wealthy importer, Galen Merriweather lives to broker deals, and he’s damn good at it. But it’s getting harder to ignore the kind of man his father is—a man who would pay Galen’s brother’s lover to leave… a man who’d demand Galen retrieve a quarter-million-dollar check from a struggling homeless shelter.
Robert Kotke knows the money is too good to be true, but it’s a godsend that could help so many people. Still, he hands it over when Galen shows up. But he isn’t done with Galen yet, and he’s going to challenge everything Galen ever believed.
Galen will face an impossible decision: the redemption he’s come to realize he wants, or the life he’d always dreamed of.
FYI – “Galen’s Redemption” is the second in the Links in the Chain series. You really need to read “Lincoln’s Park” (featuring Galen’s brother Lincoln and his boyfriend Noel) first because events that start in the first book carry over to the second book and otherwise you will feel you have been dropped right in the middle of an ongoing story.
We first meet Galen in “Lincoln’s Park” when he shows up at his brother Lincoln’s diner and behaves likes a total jerk to everyone there. Since Lincoln’s defection from the family business, Galen has been his father’s right-hand man, acquiring and closing down businesses, and after his cartoon caricature of an evil father asks Galen to take a check back from the homeless shelter where Noel once lived, Galen meets Robert Kotke and starts to realize the life he is living is not the life he wants.
I’m all in for a story of redemption and second chances, and Galen really travels a tough road here on the way to finding his path. He quits his job and tells his father that he is gay, and as a result, his father effectively freezes all his assets. Galen goes from his penthouse to living in a spare bedroom with his only friend Andy and trying to find a job, any job. Galen’s confidence takes a huge hit, and he really struggles with accepting that people can care for him and have his best interests at heart. His friendship and very slow burn romance with Robert, along with meeting Robert’s extended family, makes him realize that his birth family is toxic and beyond dysfunctional.
The author does a good job of fleshing out various secondary characters we meet along the way, especially Robert’s brother Tom and his husband Brian, and I like the recurring secondary characters like Katy and Meg from “Lincoln’s Park” as well. The relationship between Robert and Galen develops very slowly; Robert is an old-fashioned guy, willing to wait for a relationship instead of a one-night stand. There isn’t a lot of steam in this story, and their chemistry doesn’t exactly leap off the page, but within the context of Galen’s larger evaluation of his life this relationship just feels right.
I liked the ending that pulled everything together and offered what felt like a realistic life together for these two men, but at the same time I did have a few issues that left me on the cusp of feeling this story didn’t work for me. For example,
- Galen is secretive about his sex life, yet in the first pages of the book he gets drunk at a bar and engages in menage a trois on the dance floor. And when Galen’s father basically threatens that he can take everything away from him, Galen acts like the law doesn’t exist and there is absolutely no recourse for this. In the same vein, Galen’s secretary is fired by his father because she refused to sleep with him, and Galen doesn’t seem to realize that his father is engaging in illegal activities punishable by legal action, until much later in the plot. And Robert acts like he has never heard of grants and programs available to help his homeless shelter. Sigh … just a big sigh.