REVIEW: Just Like That (Albin Academy #1) by Cole McCade

The Official Description:  Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts.

But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable.

Professor Fox Iseya.

Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal.

Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb…until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life.

Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap.

To find the love they’ve always needed…

Just like that.

In Just Like That, critically acclaimed author Cole McCade introduces us to Albin Academy: a private boys’ school where some of the world’s richest families send their problem children to learn discipline and maturity, out of the public eye.

This book is approximately 65,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Just the facts: Male/male partnership, grief, anxiety, HFN, beginning of a series

This is the kind of lyrical, beautiful writing that makes me fall in love with love stories all over again. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: When Summer Hemlock was a young man, he had. Crush on Professor Fox Iseya. When he returns to the school as an adult to TA in the professor’s classes, he’s surprised to discover that the feelings are still there.

Summer may be ready to be a TA… but he lives with a panic/anxiety disorder that has really had an effect on his life. What he has done though, is learn to try and just be himself. He finds strengths at strange times… like when he with the professor.

These two men end up in an oddly bizarre, yet endearing push and pull with one another. Fox agrees to a kiss a day… each time that Summer does something brave, like lead the class. But there’s a fine line between bravery and strength and pushing yourself too hard or too fast. As Summer struggles to push through his anxiety to work with students in a real and rewarding way, Fox begins to question the wisdom of opening himself up to someone like Summer.

I can’t describe this book in a way that will do it justice. The writing is graceful, fluid – almost poetic at times. There are moments of pure sensuality in the midst of tumultuous emotions. It was definitely the writing that first engaged me with this book. The flow of this story is flawless. The two main characters are drawn together quickly and you might think it would be too quick to be believable but it’s not. The way the characters are written, I felt as though I knew them in a few short pages and I was willing to suspend my disbelief as I watched them come together quickly.

There is a lot of depth in this book. The emotions are real and raw and I felt some of them along with the characters. There are a lot of very heavy emotions and events int his book and the author handles them with great care and finesse. I would encourage you to read the warnings that are included in this book as there are some events that may be triggering for some people. I do believe that issues in this story are relevant to many people and there’s so much value in reading about darkness through the filter of a tender relationship.

I wouldn’t hesitate to read anything by this author in the future. In spite of the great challenges faced by these characters, I found this to be a very hopeful story.

Things You May Want To Know: 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: (SPOILERS) suicidal ideation, power imbalance ins equal relationship, bullying at school, crossing a dangerous river, descriptions of drowning, panic, anxiety, death of a spouse in the past, intense grief character has dead parent, nightmares, descriptions of neglectful parents.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Just Like That by Cole McCade from Carina via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.


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