Patrick Reviews: Shelter by Ashley John

Title: Shelter
Author: Ashley John
Publisher: Ashley John
Pages: 164
Characters: Elias James, Caden Walker Judy James, Ellie James
Genre: gay fiction/HEA
Kisses: 5


Fresh from his fourth stint in rehab, Elias James doesn’t have much to live for. His relationship with his family has never been so strained and with no real life of his own, he has nothing to live for. His overachieving twin sister and his ruthless mother’s political success as Mayor of Havenmoore has left him empty. Getting high started as an act of rebellion but the addiction soon controlled his every waking moment. Aspiring writer, Caden Walker, thought he had the perfect life until he discovered his boyfriend in bed with his best friend. Leaving everything behind in New York, he returns to Havenmoore to re-evaluate his life from his parent’s guest bedroom. When his mom offers him a job working for the charity she runs, helping people struggling with addiction, he’s not in a position to turn it down. Caden never expected to find what he did, but when he is assigned to work with Elias, a reluctant attraction quickly blossoms into something deeper. Can Elias find in Caden the one thing he’s always searched for or will his addiction drag him under once again? Is Caden ready to let go of his New York dream to take a chance on something unexpected? Both men are faced with difficult times of change, but can they make it through the storm to find the shelter?


This is the story of a long hard-fought road to love that begins when a rookie counselor is assigned to closeted male client who has just been released from rehab. What begins as a sincere effort to keep his client Elias on the road to recovery, is met with not only the normal struggles for the client to remain clean, but for the counselor to remain professional.

When Caden falls in love with Elias, suspicion of rebound love is in the air. The mother of the former addict Elias, does everything in her power to destroy both her son, and her son’s newly discovered boyfriend. The twin sister, a doctor, is about as skeptical as one can get having been used before for access to prescription drugs. Add that to the vindictive mother who was never able to show her son love, and you have a very serious challenge to sobriety for the man just released from multiple rehabs. Can a man and a six year old boy be the keys to success?

I found this book to be very believable as far as they way the two men fall in love, but I’m also aware of the strict restrictions governing counselors under these court-ordered circumstances. For this to become the door that Elias goes through that truly puts Elias on the path to permanent recovery, truly is a miracle. I found myself rooting for Elias to resist the evil temptations that are placed in front of him, at times, next to a rather large erection. In reality, all the characters of this story are going through their own rehabilitation in one form or another. The question is, which ones make it?

Reviewed by Patrick St. James


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