Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels


 Reeling from the recent death of his wife, police officer Evan Cerelli looks at his four children and can only see how he fails them. His loving wife was the caretaker and nurturer, and now the single father feels himself being crushed by the pain of loss and the heavy responsibility of raising his kids.At the urging of his partner, Evan celebrates a coworker’s retirement and meets disgraced former cop turned security consultant Matt Haight. A friendship born out of loneliness and the solace of the bottle turns out to be exactly what they both need.

The past year has been a slow death for Matt Haight. Ostracized from his beloved police force, facing middle age and perpetual loneliness, Matt sees only a black hole where his future should be. When he discovers another lost soul in Evan, some of the pieces he thought he lost start to fall back in place. Their friendship turns into something deeper, but love is the last thing either man expected, and both of them struggle to reconcile their new and overwhelming feelings for one another.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23148988-faith-fidelity
I originally asked to review the audiobook version of Faith & Fidelity. For one thing, I truly love audiobooks. When done right, they fold you into the story and you suddenly ‘know’ and ‘hear’ the voices of characters you intimately fall in love with. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen here.
I downloaded F&F and started listening. Within fifteen minutes, I was ready to pull my hair out by the roots. Let me explain that the first scene in the book is a sad one. Evan was dealing with the funeral of his beloved wife. Her death came as a shock and he still didn’t quite believe it happened. Unfortunately, when the narrator read it, he elected to put – to my reasoning – too much emotion into the scene. It sounded like the man was ready to cry at any moment and that kind of aural angst is something I deplore.
Given that the storyline had so much promise, I had two choices: force myself to slave through the audio which would risk me hating the book just because of the over-emoting of the narrator, or buy the ebook and read it first before going back to listen. I chose the latter.
And let me say it was a good choice. Evan and Matt are both cops in NY – well Matt was actually busted down to security guard in Staten Island due to blowing the whistle on a well-liked bad cop. Both of them are depressed and when they meet, they find an immediate camaraderie. Which turns into attraction and in a short amount of time, lust. The author did an amazing job of describing their steps toward a relationship that is so new and so unexpected for them both. I found their erotic scenes believable and both sweet and hot.
Enter Evan’s issues. He has four children, a good job, and a great reputation. His fears when others find out he is seeing another man become too much and he ends things abruptly, upsetting his kids – who don’t realize that Matt isn’t just Dad’s friend, Matt, and most of all himself. His life goes in a downward spiral and he can’t pull himself out.
In the meantime, Matt misses him like crazy but decides to go forward in his life. A chance one-night stand helps set things straight.
Another chance meeting with Evan’s eldest daughter sets the final part of the book in motion. (And no, I’m not going to tell you what happens as you really should read it for yourself.)
Some books end too late, some too soon. This is one of the latter. I wish the author would have given us an epilogue of Evan, Matt, and the kids down the road. I feel like we’re missing part of the story.
After finishing the book, I went back to the audio. I’ve come to the conclusion that JP Handler’s, the narrator, voice – even when he wasn’t trying to sound maudlin – just hitches that way. As such, while I gave the book 4 stars, I can only give the audio 2 stars. Do yourself a favor – pick up the ebook first. Then, if you feel like it, grab the audio.
Audio Book Rating: 2 stars
Book Rating: 4 stars
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