Title: Never Too Late (Home in the Heartland #1)
Author Name: Sloan Johnson
Publication Date & Length: March 7, 2016 – 238 pgs
Dax: My life ended six years ago. No, really. I was dead on the side of the road following a gruesome motorcycle accident. From what I’ve been told, it’s only because of one stubborn man that I have another chance to make something of my life. I no longer hate him for screwing up what I thought I wanted. I want to thank him. NEED to tell him what his actions mean to me.
Now, I’m headed back to the town I’ve never set foot in even though it’s a huge part of my life. I’m not thrilled about that, but the job offers haven’t exactly been flowing in. They’ll probably think I’m crazy, because there’s no way I won’t be able to look at every guy I walk past, wondering if he’s the one who saved me.
Michael: My entire life, I wanted to save lives. I’d earned a full-ride scholarship and had been accepted to med schools across the country. I was so close to making those dreams a reality until the night held a dying man in my arms. I’ve never been able to get the images of his lifeless body caked in mud out of my head. Even when the paramedics tried to take over trying to save him, I couldn’t let go. I never let go. Eventually, my guilt over not doing more cost me everything but my son. And now, I worry I’ll lose him if I don’t get it together.
I’ve often thought that if I could find him, maybe I could get some closure and finally get my life back on track. Now he’s here and I’m more of a mess than ever. Once the truth comes out, will he keep trying to save me or will he realize that it’s too late?
I have read Sloan Johnson before and enjoyed her stories. I wasn’t disappointed this time either. It didn’t take long for me to be sucked into the book. I love that! When the author hooks me by page two I know it’s going to be an excellent read.
This story hits close to home for me in more ways than one. I am the single parent who has lost her partner. The father to her son. Not because of illness, but because of suicide. I know what Michael feels. I also know what Dax feels because I contemplated suicide in my darkest days. You wonder if you can be the parent your child really needs or if he would be better off with your parents because you’re too young to take care of him. I sympathize with Dax because I wondered if my actions led to the suicide. And the combination of alcohol, bad decisions, and negative thoughts made everything spiral from there. That was 28 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t second guess every decision I make. Good or bad. It’s a struggle.
I am glad Michael got his happy ending. He deserved it so much. I hope there is a book 2 coming with Matt and Justin’s story. That would be awesome.
Yeah for love!
This book had the most adorable child – Jagger was so loving and understanding, nonjudgmental and curious. He was essentially the glue that held this story together.
Michael was kind of a mess. However, those who love him surrounded him and tried their best to help him piece himself back together again, especially for the sake of Jagger. I was saddened by his ability to give up on himself so easily.
Michael’s parents were amazing in this story – they were accepting, if not taken a little off guard and they were amazing with Jagger.
Then you have Dex. I liked him right off the bat. Despite what his initial reaction was to his first encounters with Michael and Jagger, he withheld judgment. I found him to be relaxed and honest, which were nice qualities given the situation he found himself in.
When their lives come together, despite the difficulties they both face, I love how they had such a great friendship. Yes, it was almost an insta-relationship, which I am not a huge fan of, but somehow, Johnson was able to pull that off.
The book was somewhat slow in the beginning, but I think that was to establish the friendship. Then you have the middle section, which is a lot of back and forth about feelings and such. I wish that we were able to have a little more development of the characters and their individual relationships, but it was cohesive enough.
Overall, this was a sweet story that both teaches you to never give up and that everyone is deserving of love.
I really hope that Justin and Matt get their story too.
I should have read the blurb a little bit closer. I was so taken with the whole victim returns to the paramedic who saved him idea that I missed the part about the kindergarten teacher meets the GFY widower dad with a cute kid.
To be fair, I went back to the blurb, looked at the cover and read the description on Goodreads. For me, they all still suggest a dark, angsty, possibly supernatural medical drama – not a heartwarming small town Hallmark Channel story. As I’ve explained before, I tend to read m/m to avoid cute kids and white picket fence plotlines. This was really not a great choice on my part.
If you enjoy sweet, you’ll love Dax’s interactions with his small pupils and Michael’s son Jagger. You’ll enjoy Michael’s struggles as a single dad and the warmth of his family.
For a novel-length book, the paramedic/victim story suggested in the blurb is wrapped up tightly within a few pages and it really isn’t very central to the story. Instead, this is the story of Dax making a new life in a small town after recovering from his injuries. It is the story of Michael moving on after his wife’s death and struggling to manage as a single parent.
If you want a slow, gentle, emotional ride, this story works well. It isn’t the most believable GFY plot I’ve read, but it works well enough. I enjoyed the friendship between the two men and their relationship with their friends is entertaining at times.
Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.
When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.
Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?
Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.