By D.J. Jamison
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2lYMN9K
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2mjp99O
Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/bedsidemanner
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.
If you’re not into younger/older romances – this one revolves around 21-year-old Zane and 39-year-old Paul – then this one isn’t for you. I frankly have no issues with it – in fiction as in life, you don’t pick who you fall in love with or why – and Zane is wise beyond his chronological years, even if he still harbors some youthful relationship insecurity. Paul is just learning how to love – really, also learning how to freely live his life as the gay man he is, instead of hiding beyond others’ expectations and misplaced feelings of inferiority. Together, through bumps, dips, vulnerabilities, fear, and simply not knowing what to do, they eventually figure things out. One thing remains constant: their evolving – and genuine – feelings for one another. There are certainly times when Zane takes the initiative – thank goodness – even though Paul remains vigilant about not rushing things because of the hospital’s ongoing investigation into potential misconduct and impropriety.
Zane and Paul complement one another, and once they give in, they’re a comfortable and endearing couple. Zane is brave and strong – not afraid to go after Paul – though he has his understandable insecurities. Paul is his calm, but also the match that lights his fire. Paul, though, is a troubled man – gradually awakening to his true self when he’s handed a shocking and potentially career-ending situation at the hospital. His attraction to Zane – and Zane’s mutual feelings towards him – may not matter if he’s forced to choose between his job and being together. He’ll pick his career, right?
Then there is the secondary character, Zane’s roommate Xavier. Anyone else hoping he gets his story? (My fingers are crossed that he reunites with Trent, his former boyfriend, an older man similar to Paul.)
Bedside Manner was well written, the characters were realistic – as were the issues, emotions, and subsequent soul searching/decision making each had to do. The dialogue and humor were well scripted (random text message from Paul after he decides to adopt a dog from the animal shelter: “So what do you know about dogs?” reply from a confused Zane: “They have four legs, fur, and bark.”). I’m so glad Paul and Zane got the HEA they both deserved.
I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader Copy and provided a review.
Originally posted on Goodreads on March 3, 2017.
DJ Jamison worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which helped tremendously when she began her series centered on The Ashe Sentinel, a fictional small-town newspaper in Kansas. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish.
Facebook Author Page