This is a standalone novel in the Bluewater Bay series.
Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.
Witt's contribution to Riptide's multiauthor Bluewater Bay contemporary series is sweet without much substance. When Garrett Blaine is widowed in his early 40s, a small town in the Pacific Northwest seems like the perfect place to recover from watching his husband's agonizingly slow death from cancer. He gets a job as a bartender and soon maybe sooner than his bruised heart would like he swoons for 20-something comics shop clerk Jesse Brooks, who's just been rejected by his latest would-be hookup for being HIV-positive. Jesse and Garrett begin to navigate toward each other, sliding sweetly and fairly easily into a tender relationship. Though their patience for each other and lack of conflict are admirable, they make the story fairly bland; whatever misunderstandings the men have are resolved before the stakes can be raised. Those who want a smooth ride and a happy ending will be happy with this May-December love story, but those who want their dark moments harrowing and their happy endings hard-earned should look elsewhere.