Bombora by Mal Peters

Title: Bombora
Author: Mal Peters
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 376
Characters: Nathanial (Nate) Fessenden, Phelan (Phel) Price, Hugh Fessenden
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 5


After a disastrous relationship with a married man leads to losing his family and his job, Phelan Price ends up in the small surfing town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. It’s the perfect place to recover from a nervous breakdown—he even becomes good friends with a fellow surfer, Hugh, a mystery writer who has plenty of demons of his own. Life isn’t perfect, but Phel is starting to get back on his feet. Then Phel’s estranged lover arrives under the banner of a messy divorce, the circumstances of which he refuses to disclose, and throws their peaceful world into chaos. Phel’s shock is complete when the man he’s been trying to forget introduces himself as Hugh’s brother, Nate.

As far as Hugh is concerned, this is as good as it gets: Nate completes their band of misfits perfectly, and the bond they develop through surfing seems strong. But he is unaware that, beneath the surface, Nate and Phel share a darker history than he could ever guess at—a riptide past that threatens to drag them under and consume them from within.


Nate Fessenden is deeply closeted and married with a 9 year old son when he first encounters Phel Price. Phel is also closeted due mostly to the fact his family is of a staunch religious background and not open to homosexuality in any respect, but he is far more “educated” in the gay culture than is Nate. Hugh Fessenden is a hetero male, the younger brother of Nate, and carries his own hidden demons when forced to recover from a downward spiral upon losing the love of his life a few years back.

Phel and Nate meet and end up spending a year blissfully hooking up behind closed doors when they can force their schedules to accept the rendezvous they both so desperately desire. Thus, falling in love is a foregone conclusion. When Phel eventually discovers that Nate not only has a son but is still married to his son’s mother he tailspins into depression and seclusion landing in a rehab center in the quiet little town of Cardiff, California. Here he meets Hugh and becomes his best friend, not knowing Hugh is Nate’s brother until Nate arrives unannounced informing his brother he’s getting a divorce. Forced back into the life of the man he once loved and also fled from, Phel eventually succumbs to Nate’s begging plea to allow him back into his life, albeit on much different terms than their previous affair. And this time the secret is kept once again from a 3rd party of interest, Nate’s brother Hugh. Will the inevitable wave once again break on reef and rock ridden waters? Or will it become a safe ride to the shore? Life is seldom about the ups and downs as it is rather about how we respond to those ups and downs.

Bom•bo•ra (bom báwre) n. Australian. 1. A wave that forms over a submerged offshore reef or rock, sometimes breaking heavily and producing a dangerous stretch of broken water.

Boy, if there was ever an appropriate title to a story, this is it! Mal Peters gives us a love story full of twists and turns, ups and downs, surprises around every bend. Wonderfully written in the first person from each character’s point of view, it takes us into the realm of consequences from our actions and decisions. She gives us exemplified instructions on how to properly respond to these consequences, or rather how NOT to respond to them, and also how we inevitably ignore the correct procedure until we hurt enough to listen, hoping it’s not to late. A wonderful example of life experiences I highly recommend reading.

Reviewed By: Jymbo


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Reviews are in! « Mal Peters | official website

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