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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.
In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.
It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.
Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone. For more about its previous publication, you can read this blog post.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. I had an idea of how things were going to be played out. I just wasn’t sure how deep it was going to go. The level of intensity of their situation. Growing up in a religious compound. Where your every move is followed.
We had some tense moments in this book. But overall this book was kind of sweet. It really focuses on Josh and Caleb’s journey in getting out and trying to make sense of the outside world. And coming to terms with their sexuality.
I would say Josh had a hard time adjusting to the outside world. He was put down all his life. He had very little self-esteem. And he really thought it was a sin to love his best friend Caleb.
Josh on the other hand wasn’t so afraid of the outside world. He had way more freedom than Josh did. So he knew more about the outside world. He wasn’t so godly either. He knew he would get out of the compound. He just had to wait for Josh.
At times when I was reading this book Caleb seems too worldly. And knew just a little too much for how he was raised. Especially having sex and doing things. Josh was what I expected. He was standoffish with everything. It took him a while to process things around him. Because everything was just so knew for him.
I loved how much Caleb and Josh loved each other. They were a team in everything. And I loved how they explored each other. It was all so knew for them.
It broke my heart when Caleb broke Josh’s trust towards the end of the book! I was so sad. He built Josh’s self esteem up so high…. only to knock it back down back to almost ground level again. But…. I was so proud of how Josh handled the whole situation. He could’ve went back to his old ways. But he didn’t… he stood up for himself. And that alone was a big step for him. He was learning that he was in fact worth something.
I loved all the other characters in this book. I hope we get more from Caleb and Josh to see how their lives turned out years later!!
*ARC provided for an honest review*
Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction. She lives in the wilds of New England.
With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of the RITA award winning HIM, and its sequel, US, as well as the WAGs novels.
Sarina also has a new Vermont contemporary romance series, True North. She’s also unrolled new hockey novels from Penguin Berkley including Rookie Move.
Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
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