Title: One Day at a Time
Author: Dawn Doulas
Length: 62 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
DEA agent Pete Olivera has lived some hard times, so when a local cop is forced to shoot a teenage boy in the Indiana city Pete’s temporarily assigned to, he’s uniquely qualified to understand what Officer Joseph West is going through. Joseph’s actions were justified and saved lives—his own and those of the people around him—but knowing he did the right thing doesn’t ease his guilt.
Pete knows Joe needs to come to terms with the shooting. But neither man realized that the friendship and love growing between them would be the most important step on the journey to peace—for them both.
This story begins with Pete, who is temporarily assigned to the Indiana City Police force as a vice consultant. When he hears of an officer who was forced to shoot dead a teenage boy, it triggers in Pete a whole load of memories from when he was serving in Iraq. Pete decides to visit Joe and persuade him to come away Pete for a few days to get away from the accusations and the grief. Joe isn’t happy to go, but after a while realises that Pete has the experience to help him recover from the guilt that he feels.
This turned out to be a bit of a mixed story for me, but one which I enjoyed overall. The initial set up was a little forced because Pete is a complete stranger to Joe and it seemed odd that he would go out of his way to help him. In the end I decided to to roll with it because the shared experience link became clearer as the story continued and also they are both cops and I could see that being a reason why Pete wanted to help.
Once the pair arrive at the cabin, the story starts to take off. I liked the way that the isolation, at first confining for Joe, provides a safe place for him to let go of his worries and just be for a few days. It’s inevitable that the pair should act on their mutual attraction, but again, this is used as a way for Joe to heal. Pete fits well into the ‘comfort’ side of the hurt/comfort set up. He’s had enough experience to guide Joe through those tricky first hours without seeming condescending. I liked Pete because he’s a decent bloke who’s willing to step out for another. Joe is a little needy, which is to be expected given the circumstances, but I admired the way that he took the opportunity that Pete gives him for sober and serious reflection. The story ends of a HFN, but it’s also a realistic ending which acknowledges that things will not be easy for the pair. As such, I would like to see these characters again, five yeras down the road, maybe, to see how well they have weathered the storms ahead.
Overall, this was a well written story with a good mix of angst and romance. The theme isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, as it deals frankly with the aftermath of a justified shooting of a teenager and is therefore quite an emotional read. This is the second story I’ve read and liked by this author now and I shall be sure to look out for more of her books in future.