“Love comes to those who least expect it, who still believe in love after they have been betrayed and who still love after they've been hurt.” ~ Rashida Rowe
Grant, of 'Rustic Moment' by Nic Starr, takes a trip back to see his best friend, Ty. He's had a rough time lately and needs the comfort and support only Ty can offer; Ty doesn't let him down, welcoming him with a huge hug and lots of compassion. While he's there, he meets Dave, a “large—six foot two inches of Aussie country boy, tanned and muscled and a little bit wild.” Grant usually steers clear of large men, but there's no mistaking the attraction between him and Dave.
Even though Grant is heartbroken and cynical, he has still not entirely given up on love. Seeing Ty and Mac together only enforces his ache inside wanting a loving relationship. Grant is not expecting to meet someone like Dave. His infectious smile, openness and honesty warm Grant's heart. While there, they become friends, with Grant's interest growing all the time. Grant realizes that they have more in common than he thought. When they go to Dave's house, Grant sees all the work Dave has done by himself. Grant is astounded not only by the quality of workmanship, but with Dave's grasp on innovative design and great sense of style. During the conversation, Grant learns that Dave intends to sell the house and move out of the small town and to Melbourne, where Dave lives. Dave has already got some jobs lined up in the city. As a courtesy, Grant offers Dave a place to stay until he gets settled, not necessarily expecting anything to come of it.
Grant goes back home to pick up the pieces, not only of his business, but of his heart as well. Because of the damage done by his partner and his ex, his business is almost in ruins. When Dave turns up at his door, taking up Grant's offer to stay with him, Grant is happy, but is so emotionally tied up, he can't follow through on his feelings for Dave, even though he does seem perfect for him. Grant has never had anyone to depend upon but himself. Even with Dave there to at least listen, Grant keeps his issues to himself, leaving Dave in the dark. When Grant puts the house up for sale without even mentioning it, Dave is furious. Grant has lied to him and Dave doesn't know if he can forgive him.
This is my favorite of all the ‘Rustic’ stories. Nic did a wonderful job of getting down to the heart of the matter with each character and I was in deep with the emotions. I loved Dave and knew he was exactly what Grant needed to get over his insecurities and believe in himself. I was frustrated, but could identify with Grant's feelings, hearing his father's voice in his head telling him he'd never amount to anything. Although Grant had accomplished so much, it would never be enough to silence that hateful declaration in his head. It's hard to watch someone suffer when the solution is right in front of them, but that's how I felt about Grant. I also knew that even though those around him told him otherwise, until he believed it, nothing would change. If you're a fan of the series, you will appreciate Grant's story. If you are new to the series, you may enjoy this book on its own, but the experience will be much more enjoyable if you start with the first book and read all the way through. Thanks, Nic, for a great read!