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Length: 56,000 words
Dr. Paul Johnston can't get a set of dark, somber eyes out of his head, and the timing couldn't be worse.
The last thing he needs is to fall for a patient. Not now, when he's been put on paid leave pending review of a formal complaint. One that most likely accuses him of sexual harrassment or impropriety of some kind. It's possible he let his newfound freedom as a divorced, out-of-the-closet gay man go to his head, but he's certain -- mostly -- he didn't do anything wrong. Now, he's struggling to handle the reality that his job is in danger and the only guy he wants should be off-limits.
Zane Kavanaugh is floundering, and there's only one man who soothes the storm inside him.
Reeling from an assault that landed him in the hospital and the painful estrangement from his family since coming out, Zane is trying to get his feet under him and find his independence. He moves in with a roommate and searches for a job, all while recovering from a fractured arm and cracked ribs. None of that hurts as much as the emotional damage he's suffered. When he connects with Dr. Paul Johnston outside of the ER, he's drawn to the man's calm, collected manner. It doesn't hurt that Paul's lack of experience with men is sexy as hell, and so are his over-the-top responses when Zane gets his lips on him.
There's no right time to fall in love.
Paul is afraid to start a relationship, and Zane can only handle so much more rejection. Will these two find their perfect moment, or will they realize you can't choose when and how you fall in love? If Paul can't take a risk, he may have to choose: the career he loves or the first man to capture his heart.
Bedside Manner is Book 1 of the Hearts & Health series. This is a spin-off series from the book Heart Trouble and includes characters from that novel, but it can be read as a standalone.
Bedside Manner is the first book in the Hearts & Health series, which spins-off from DJ Jamison's Heart Trouble. I suggest reading that one if possible, seeing as we met both Zane and Paul there and the couple from that book, Ben and Gage feature prominently in Bedside Manner.
I love books with May/December themes, it's one of my favorite tropes, however, I have to admit I wasn't too sure at first if Bedside Manner was going to work for me. Mostly because Paul refers himself as creepy for lusting over a younger man at first, which in turn made me feel a tad icky for reading about them. Thankfully that changed the further I read.
I really liked Zane, he is a go-getter, which I'd already noticed in Heart Trouble. He's also mature for his age, probably because he had to grow up fast when he found himself estranged from his family. My heart broke for him several times because of this and how he felt about it and Paul. I liked Paul, too, although there were some times when I just wanted to slap some sense into him. Zane and Paul had good chemistry and they were hot together, once I got past the 'creep' comments that is. They were a good fit and I hope to see more of them in the next book in the series.
I really liked the plotline dealing with the complaint against Paul and its resolution, I think it was a neat way to make things work for Zane and Paul.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read, which tackled some tricky themes like assault, rejection and its repercussions in a sensitive manner. I loved catching up with Gage and Ben and can't wait to read Trent and Xavier's story.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.***
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