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Safe Harbor

(Pine Cove #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  444 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Robin Coal wonders if asking his straight housemate Dair to be his fake boyfriend for his high school reunion will be the worst thing he’s ever done…or the best. But there’s no way he’s going home to face his abusive ex alone, and former Marine Dair is just the protection he needs. So long as he doesn’t find out about Robin’s secret crush, everything will be fine.

Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published May 17th 2019
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  444 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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78% dnf because here comes the misunderstanding, the no communication, and the OTT drama from a psycho ex. Before that everything was moving along just fine. I’m out of patience and I’m moving on…
Hey y'all!
H.J. Welch has a Halloween short about Robin and Dair on Prolific Works right now.

My first experience with the writing of H.J. Welch, combined with a fantastic performance by Nick J. Russo, Safe Harbor is adorable. A fake boyfriend/gay for you romance with a hefty side of playful humor and even a touch of drama, it makes a wonderful audiobook.

Fans of this genre know how hard it is to create a plausible foundation for this trope, both the story and the characters have to be be
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Robin and Dair's fake love story is so sweet (with a bit of angst). I loved watching them fumbling around and falling in love. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next in the series!
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it

I don’t know, folks.

So many parts of Safe Harbour were good. Some...not so much.

I LOVED Dair. Loved him. And Smudge. He was cool too.

But. Robin?! I was annoyed. He kept calling himself an idiot, and well, id have to agree with him.

I loved the town, Robins family, especially his brothers and sisters. MAC was a total effing asswipe and I’m sort of ticked off that Robin was too dumb to notice.

I feel like sometimes, HJ Welch created conflicts where ones really shouldn’t have happened,
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
Soooo this was pretty terrible. The author should have made these characters teenagers because their behavior was not what I expect from men close to 30. And the dialog, omg. “Are we, um, boyfriends?” “Your cock is a work of art.” “The thought of being inside’s pretty all-consuming, hon.” Is this supposed to be sexy? And the sex itself was as boring as dry toast.

And then there’s the miscommunication/misunderstanding bullshit where these two grown men who are supposed to be intelligent
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

Safe Harbor is the first book in the new series, Pine Cove, by HJ Welch. I was instantly hooked to this story from the synopsis alone and it was just as adorable as I expected it to be.

Geeky Robin has been crushing on his hot ex- Marine roommate since he walked in the door. This crush has made him keep his distance from Dair but that hasn't stopped Dair from trying to be his friend. When he decides he needs a date to bring home for his high school/>Safe
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it

A story of a very insecure Robin, who does not believe in his self worth. He's been afraid to date and now afraid to return home for his high school reunion. This is all because of his ex - who was extremely abusive mentally and emotionally. His roommate Dair volunteers to be his fake boyfriend for the reunion festivities. The story was cute and supporting cast was funny and supportive as these two learned new things about themselves and each other.
Holden Luu
May 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very sweet story, from the beginning to around 75% was great. But then that thing happened which made our MCs misunderstand each other, the typical stuff that makes the reader reeling.

But I was really reeling really really reeling because of how unnecessary and dumb it was and honestly that ruined the book for me. I am sure most people can live without that part.

And Robin, holy shit get a grip and make up your damn mind for once. Listen to everyone that truly cares about
Lillian Francis
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fake boyfriend trope done well.
K.R. Phoenix
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars
🔥🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 4
🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 4.5

There is magic in this book!!

There is just something about this book that weaved its way into my heart. The characters are wonderful, the story powerful, and while this is more of an everyday story, with everyday people, these characters are so real and special that they have made their way into my heart and I fell in love with them and their stories.

The story follows Robin as he heads back to his h
Arc provided courtesy of LesCourt
All reviews are voluntary and my honest opinion.

This one is a lot of standard fake boyfriend trope. Robin hasn't been home in several years, because he's terrified of his ex boyfriend who was an abusive jerk. The school reunions is coming up, and his family really misses him, especially his twin brother, Jay. When his super hot roommate, Dair -- who is totally straight --volunteers to be his boyfriend for the week, it's enough to make him
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Housemates Robin and Dair agree to be fake boyfriends for Robin's 10 year high school reunion.
I really enjoyed this friends to lovers/fake boyfriend book. Both Robin and Dair were great guys. I really liked Robin's family and friends.
It was great watching grow closer as the reunion week carries on, as Dair begins to realise his feelings for Robin are growing.
A bit of angst and misunderstanding follows...
Will they both believe the lies Robins ex is telling?
Do they tr
Mel Bradley
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
For the love of everything... edit your dang book! During one of the first encounters, Dair ended up "thinking about Dair." Way too many bumbles to read through especially with such a trite story/trope.
Happily Ever Chapter
Third Person POV

When retired, STRAIGHT Marine, Dair, applied to live with Robin and his bff, Peyton, Robin developed a bit of an insta-crush!
Robin's faced with returning home for his high school reunion, something he dreads and has avoided for 10 years due to an abusive ex-boyfriend.
There's no way Dair is going to let some a-hole from Robin's past make him miss the reunion and seeing his family, who he clearly misses.
Peyton and Dair hatch a plan. A fake-boyfriend plan.
As ti
I was gifted my copy of this book direct from the author, that I write a review was NOT required.

This book landed right on my kindle when I was between bigger, heavier, darker books and it proper hit THAT spot, you know? The one that lets you fall into this book, and just read, and wile away a few hours while you recover from minor surgery. It landed, I read.

And I bloody LOVED it!

Robin has immediate attraction to Dair, right from the very first meeting but he doesn’t act on it, at
Rae Percy
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Frustrating at 70%

I really enjoyed reading until about 70% through. The manipulation the Bad Guy was doing didn't bother me but I can't stand it when two main characters don't resolve some thing because they're both making assumptions.

The reactions Dair and Robin have to the manipulation of Mac do not speak of two people confident in their feelings for each other. Every time Robin justified spending time with Mac had me rolling my eyes. If I was in Dair's shoes I would have lef
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: bb-review
I’m a huge fan of the fake boyfriend trope. There’s something about it that just does it for me. This was a decent read in my opinion. Robin and Dair were both likeable characters. There were aspects of Robin’s personality that were unexpected, but I surprisingly liked. I’m not usually a fan of dirty talk but it worked for Robin one hundred percent. Dair was sweet, caring, and kind from start to finish. I was startled by his insight and the steps he took for Robin. What I wish there was more of ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I found this to be a very disappointing read. Everything about the story felt trite and clichéd—from the premise to the characters to the conflict to the ending, it was all predictable and, frankly, boring. It was also extremely slow-paced and, even when it did pick up, seemed to drag right back down to an excruciating snail's pace in the very next second, mostly because of Robin's crippling insecurities and Dair's nonsensical confusion over his own feelings, both of which were hammered out and ...more
Gabbi Grey
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sweet friends to lovers story (an audio review)

I love friends-to-lovers stories and this one was wonderful. Robin has a problem. Well, he has several. First he and his roommate Peyton have to find a third person to share their rental house. Not an easy task as even though they’ve advertised as a queer-friendly home, they’ve had some interesting applicants. Then arrives Dair and he’s perfect. The ex-military auto mechanic is easy-going, cleans up after himself and, best of all, cooks.
Malini Menon
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dani Elle Maas
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very sweet contemporary novel with a little angst woven into it. I liked the slow burn in the beginning as well as the friendship between Robin and Peyton and the addition of Dair.
The process of Dair figuring out what he was feeling about Robin and more was a wonderful, interesting read. As well, I enjoyed Dair trying to find out if he could be bi or pan and what to think about that.
The fake boyfriend, opposites attract tropes are worked out to their full potential with how
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the moment you meet Robin, he makes you smile. Him and his roommate, Peyton, are looking for a third roommate in Seattle to share the rent and on the last applicant, they hit the jackpot. Dair is an ex-marine who works as a mechanic now that he's out of the service. He's caring, gentle, and grows to care about his roommates fairly quickly, especially Robin. One night, Robin is worried about his upcoming class reunion and while he wants to go and reconnect with his family, he knows his ex wi ...more
David Pantaleoni
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Actual rating is 2.5 stars.

What worked for me: Dair, he was a sweetheart. His journey to discovering his interest and love in Robin was slightly cliche, but the cliches worked (for the most part). I also enjoyed the fact that the novel didn't discount Pan or Bi identities and the more inclusion the better. Robin's family was also thoroughly enjoyable. As I listened to the audio-version, the narrator did a very decent job of giving each of the characters a distinct voice, and I though
Amy Dufera
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I immediately fell in love with HJ Welch's new series, Pine Cove. This first book, Safe Harbor completely holds up to being as good as I was hoping.

Robin returns home for a school reunion, but he's scared and still damaged by his abusive ex. Robin's a geeky man who instantly won over my heart. He's full of annoying insecurities, but that's just part of who he is. In comes his new roommates, Dair, and his life's about to change for the better.

Dair's the tough ex-marine who offers to act as Robi
Emily  Muddle
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with HJ Welch's other books, Safe Harbor was well-written and pulled you into the story immediately with likeable and unique characters. We start the story with a couple of goofy roommates, Robin and his best-friend Peyton, as they search for a third person to share their apartment. Dair, an adorably kind and fiercely protective ex-marine, fits the bill perfectly and quickly worms his way into Robin's heart.

From the beginning, Dair longs to get to know the shy and geeky Robin better and is d
La Ri Hie
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
One of my all time fav tropes is fake boyfriend, so I'm thrilled I got an ARC to review.
Thing is, this time it was a bit hard to get into this story.
I liked Robin and Dair, but the beginning was a bit slow and here and there it was not that easy to stay invested and to keep reading, but I'm glad I did.

Both MCs are easy to like and their family and friends are just lovely and awesome.
From the start you kind of know what's coming, but I liked the slightly tweaked trop
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i originally read this book and then when i saw it on audible i was excited. The narration really brings this book to life. The narrator really added depth of character to these guys and this will be a re-listen for me for sure!

Delightful journey of friendship to love and more. Just all the feels in this one for me. I so enjoyed the main and supporting characters in this story. There are really several characters that i would like to know more about. In an introduction book to a series for it t
Sarita Chapdelaine
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
What an excellent start to a new series! I love everything about this book and I could not put it down. It is beautifully written, hilarious, full of emotions, sweet, has a great storyline, a wonderful family dynamic, a nasty ex, cute rescued pets and the characters are amazing. Robin is such a sweetheart but he has never really gotten over the way his ex mistreated him and he can't see what a wonderful person he is. Dair is a strong, caring and supportive man who has been drifting emotionally s ...more
Patricia Hoffstaetter
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
This is the first time I have read a book written by this author & I will admit that I found it to be really enjoyable & very sweet, heartwarming MM romance that starts with an undertone of a fake relationship. It is the first book in a new series “Pine Cove” The characters are well-developed with definite individual personalities and react with believable & realistic emotional feelings to the situations they find themselves in. The story-line and plot is well-thought out and writte ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an adorable story about flatmates turning to friends, doing the whole fake boyfriends thing and falling madly in love.
I love how Dair is fiercely protective of Robin, even at the beginning when they’re just flatmates, even before really becoming friends. Robin’s crush for “straight” Dair and his consequent adorable ramblings are so cute, and the whole development of their relationship into friendship and then more is a pleasure to read.
HJ Welch's writing is fresh and engrossing as
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HJ Welch is a contemporary MM romance author living in London with her husband and two balls of fluff that occasionally pretend to be cats. She began writing at an early age, later honing her craft online in the world of fanfiction on sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she sought out original MM novels to read. She never thought she would be any good at romance, but ...more

Other books in the series

Pine Cove (4 books)
  • Troubled Waters (Pine Cove #2)
  • Homeward Bound (Pine Cove #3)
  • Bright Horizon (Pine Cove #4)