Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows that I am hesitant to read anything based in the south, especially Alabama as it is the state I live in (born and raised). Very rarely does an author get the dialogue right. One of my biggest pet peeves is southern speak. As I have said many MANY times, it's fine to hear it but not to see it in a book because it comes across as making the characters look stupid. Thankfully that is not the case in this book. The author may have based the story in a small Alabama town but in no way did she make us seem slow or backwards.
With that being said, I will say that I seriously enjoyed this book. Michael is back in his small Alabama hometown after recently being discharged from the military after experiencing a tragic experience in Iraq. The experience left him with PTSD that leaves him terrified of open spaces and with some hearing loss. His sister picks him up from the airport and takes her back to her place where he meets Jay as well as a host of other characters. There is instant attraction between Michael and Jay though no one knows that Michael is gay. He has only recently admitted it to himself. It was a pleasure watching Michael and Jay find their way together. Jay is the ultimate character. Michael suffers panic attacks as a result of his PTSD and Jay is calm and supportive and helps him through them. It doesn't take long for the two of them to get together and the relationship happens rather quickly but it did not seem rushed to me at all.
The secondary characters were also good though the sister got rather annoying at times because she treated Michael more like a child than the adult that he is. I loved their mother. I was expecting some homophobia especially considering the setting of the book. There was some (mainly by one individual) but the book wasn't completely saturated with it. There are a few scenes that got me a little teary as was expected considering the subject.
Overall a really good story. Thanks to the author for offering this free. I look forward to reading the second one.