Title: Taking in Strays
Publisher: Bon Publishing
Characters: Donny, Peter
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Donny had finally come out to his father, hoping for acceptance. His father, the mayor, had cared more about re-election. Donny suddenly finds himself homeless, and on the street with a few dollars to his name. Face first in a gutter, after drowning his sorrows in cheap booze and cheaper sex, Donny is saved by Officer Peter Parker, a straight laced, by the book man who is everything that Donny wasn’t.
At first, Donny tries to use him, just as he had used everyone else in his life, but he soon discovers that he has feelings for Peter. To win Peter’s love, Donny believes that he can change, that he can learn to be the man that Peter deserves. There are obstacles to his goal, though, life itself trying to trip him up and make him revert back to the selfish man that he used to be and a father who will stop at nothing to remove a son who is still too much of an embarrassment.
Taking in Strays is a story of self-discovery, friendship, redemption and romance.
When we first meet Donny his life has hit rock bottom. Donny’s world came crashing down around him when he does the brave thing by telling his father (who also happens to be the mayor) he is gay. Since his father shows no tolerance for homosexuality, he is immediately thrown out of the house, stripped financially and literally cut off from everything he knows. Where he was once spoiled and a rich kid, Donny is now homeless, drunk and practically selling his body for a hot meal.
When Donny is found drunk, sick and worse by Officer Peter Parker, he is reluctantly taken in by the tender-hearted policeman. Peter gives him a bed to sleep in, warm meals and a true friendship that Donny has never had before in his life. You see, Donny is used to the jet-set life, gorgeous one night stands and being around superficial people who use him as much as he uses them, so Peter’s compassion and friendship leaves Donny humbled and ashamed of the man he was before.
Soon, Donny and Peter have a sizzling attraction between them that is soon undeniable. But, Donny wants to be a better man for Peter. He wants to stand on his own two feet and truly discover the person he is inside. Instinctively he knows he must find and like himself, before he can get into anything serious with Peter.
Taking in Strays is definitely Donny’s story. I admit at first, I didn’t like Donny. He is spoiled and selfish and he can manipulate as good as any con artist…but, as Donny sobers up and as his story is revealed, I began to really feel sorry for him. Soon, I came to like him and began to hope that he’d be able to work through all of his hang-ups and become the man he wanted to be, both for him and for Peter.
Kracken’s in depth characterization of Donny’s character really sold his novel for me. In the end, I really got to know this character and what made him tick. He’s definitely flawed, *which I loved* and very well-written. Ultimately, Donny is a person I would be proud to call a friend.
Because this is Donny’s story, we don’t get to know Peter as well. I WISH I could have known what thoughts were going through his head. I would have loved to have gotten to know him as well as Donny. But, it was easy to see why Donny fell for him. He is a genuinely nice man…I mean who doesn’t love a nice, down to earth, guy?
I also wish there would have been more scenes with Donny and Peter together. As I said, this is Donny’s journey, and because he is working on improving himself and through other issues, they don’t have a lot of time together. BUT, the time they did spend together is truly a sweet discovery of friendship and romance. Peter and Donny were an easy couple to love and I shamelessly admit I totally wanted them to have the happy ending they both deserved.
Taking in Strays is an easy book to recommend. If you are looking for a well-written story about character growth, friendship and romance then this book is definitely for you! I’m looking forward to reading more books by Kracken in the future.
Reviewed By: Gabbi