The descriptive bit: It’s Reuben Graham’s birthday and he’s being dragged out to the wilderness for a retreat. When his friends bail at the last-minute, he decides to head on the trip by himself. His guide is local, Toby Kooly. Reuben notices quickly that Toby is attractive, fun, interesting … and way too young for him.
On a flight at the beginning of the trip, a dangerous storm blows in and the plane crashes. Toby manages to get Reuben out of the wreck before going back for some emergency equipment ends up with him being seriously injured.
The two men are rescued quickly, but Reuben finds out that things are complicated in Toby’s family. His injuries mean that he can no longer take care of his ailing father or his younger sisters. It becomes clear quickly that Toby can’t even go back to his home because he can’t afford extra care nor can he get up the stairs.
Reuben is rethinking his life after the near-death experience. He’s considering a buyout at his legal firm, missing time with his rapidly maturing daughter (Amelia) and wondering what his life is about. Already feeling a connection with Toby, Reuben offers to rent a place that Toby can share with him and his daughter.
Toby is feeling overwhelmed by everything and finally agrees. But moving in with Reuben becomes a bit more complicated than he had imagined because he’s beginning to develop feelings for Reuben.
My thoughts bit: This was a great story and a fun read. The trip into the wilderness and the crash happen quite early on in the book, and it’s fast-paced throughout.
There isn’t anything too unpredictable in this book, the tropes work well and the story is a good one. Reuben is a lot older than Toby and the two of them struggle a bit with finding common ground. Toby is free-spirited and prefers casual encounters, Reuben is a workaholic who prefers long-term relationships. Of course, the two of them will find their way to romance because Carina Press always has a HEA!
Reuben is adoring and sweet while taking care of Toby during his recovery. I really enjoyed the way his character unfolded. As he discovered that he’d been far too caught up in his work life, he found his path to being a better father. His growth was subtle but moving.
Amelia was a delight to read! At the beginning of the story, she was a miserable teenager who was disconnected and unpleasant. As her father and Toby’s relationship blossomed, so did Amelia. She thrived in the company of Toby and Reuben as their relationship grew. I really loved that Albert took the time to develop Amelia’s character to the point where I found myself really caring about what happened to her.
The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: some bigotry potential regarding race & age, plane crash, living with mobility issues, mentions of surgery and hospital stay.
I received an ARC of Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert from HARLEQUIN – Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.