Alec (Single Dads of Gaynor Beach) by Kaje Harper

You'll need a box of tissues nearby while reading Alec.

From the blurb:

Coming back from loss, one heartbeat at a time.

Alec ran from his grief over the death of his son, throwing a few things in his car and driving west. In the town of Gaynor Beach, CA, he hit the shore and stopped. The next step would be off a broken pier into the ocean and although he stands daily watching the waves, he's not quite ready for that. Especially when a young voice like his son's, behind him, says, "Hey, Mister, you wanna see a picture of an albatross?"

Joe brought his preteen son to Gaynor Beach, looking for a better place to raise his kid. Kevin loves California— the beaches, the marine life, the weather, and the freedom. But when Joe finds out Kevin's "ghost down by the pier" is a living, grieving, and much too appealing man, this simple new life is about to change, for all of them.

* hurt-comfort, single dad, grief and recovery, sweet rescue dog, bright preteen, HEA

The books in the Single Dads of Gaynor Beach series stand alone, but why not discover them all, and meet the wide range of complicated, wonderful men raising kids in this fictional California town.

Angel's Review:

Kaje tears out your heart with this book, from sweet Alec who's had a horrible tragedy to Joe and Kevin not being accepted for who they are. Not only that but she'll also get those tears out of you with how she writes them healing each other. 

My favorite character by far was Kevin, I loved his open curiosity and his excitement to learn. And not just to learn but to also share with others what he learned, he's incredibly intuitive for being so young but he knew Alec needed help, that he could use a friend. 

'Mr Alec, or ghost of the pier" is struggling. He can't decide if it's worth trying to survive without his son, day after day he returns to the pier and ponders that question until one day Kevin and his dad pull him out of his thoughts and shows him that he can be happy and still live even while he's grieving. A certain puppy also helped open himself up to love. 

Joe and Kevin was so supportive and caring of Alec and what he was going through, they never once pushed or got mad at Alec for shutting them out at times. They were just brilliant together! I love the family that they created!! 

This was really well written and fleshed out, the topic matter was handled beautifully. I don't know what it feels like to lose a child but I do know what it feels like to lose someone. I've lost people close to me, I know what grief feels like, and it was depicted really well here. Grief isn't something you just get over or stop doing, you just learn to live with that pain and grief. But you can also still enjoy what life could bring you, the good and the bad. 

Overall a really great book with amazing characters and a excellent storyline. I thought this was paced out really well, nothing felt too rushed or hurried. They took their time getting to know each other and learn all the little details. 

I know Kevin is only what 11? In this book but I would love it if he could eventu6 have his own story someday, he is such a great character and I would love to read more about him.

Rating: 5 Stars

Lori C's Review:

Alec is my first book by Kaje Harper and my first book in the Single Dads of Gaynor Beach series. Alec is the walking wounded, in fact, Kevin, Joe’s son, first describes him as a ghost to his father. Alec, you see, has faced a parent’s worst nightmare, the death of his child, and maybe worse secretly feels as if he caused it. 

I knew this book would contain grief and it did contain a warning child loss.  As a parent, this part of the book was an emotional read. I felt the emotions  that Ms. Harper wrote about Alec’s loss and I could feel that fog of depression and the need for sleep through her writing. The best part of story to me was the joy in the relationships being built between Alec and Joe and Alec and Kevin. The radical acceptance of Kevin’s transition from Alec. The care of Zellie from Alec that helped bring him joy again as well and brought such love to Kevin. 

I think if someone asked me why I read romance I would say it was this happiness. Everyone gets to find happiness after a bad time, everyone finds joy after hardship, and in romance everyone finds acceptance especially in Gaynor Beach. 

Rating: 4 Stars