Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great uncle with Alzheimer’s, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He’s got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they’re killing him one responsibility at a time.
Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf’s Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he’s worried he’ll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.
Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal’s fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery “until we can’t”—and the cost of changing that to “until forever” might be too high, however much they both want it.
Getting this out of the way because it niggled at the back of my mind until I figured it out, we first met Cal’s great-uncle Nascha in the Bluewater Bay Valentine’s anthology, Lights, Camera, Cupid. Once I placed where I remembered him from, it made it much easier to understand why the Native American elder was so accepting of his nephew’s homosexuality. It also guaranteed that I shed a few tears again as I watched Nascha deal with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. And while it was good to catch up with Nascha and see how his part of the story played out, his nephew Cal is the focus of The Deep of the Sound and I have found yet another Bluewater Bay resident to love.
As the sole provider for his uncle and brother, Cal works hard to keep a roof over their head, food on the table, and a caregiver who can sit with Nascha and Keir while he’s at work. Between Nascha’s Alzheimer’s and Keir’s Asperger’s Syndrome (and other conditions), Cal is working himself to the bone and barely hanging on – the precariousness of their situation becoming painfully clear when he suffers an injury that puts him out of work for nearly a month. The only light in his life comes in the form of Avery. The “Rescue Puppy” who he and Keir find stranded on the side of the road after Avery’s car breaks down on his way to Bluewater Bay. Avery is Murphy’s Law in the flesh – if it can go wrong, it will and it will do so spectacularly. Yet despite all that befalls Avery when he decides to make his trip to Bluewater Bay a permanent move, he remains upbeat and thankful for what he does in life, including his knight in shining armor. As much as he enjoys spending time with and getting to know Avery, Cal can’t help but worry whether or not he’s good enough for Avery, capable of balancing a relationship with his family obligations, or if he’ll just end up dragging Avery down with him if he fails.
I loved this book. There hasn’t been a Bluewater Bay novel I haven’t enjoyed, but I was so enthralled with Cal and Avery’s stories and how their lives began to intertwine that I couldn’t put it down – I actually didn’t because I fell asleep reading it. How Avery managed to stay as positive as he did simply amazed me. The way his parents and boyfriend treated him in the beginning, belittling him and treating him as though he wasn’t capable of taking care of himself frustrated the mess out of me as he was the one supporting said boyfriend. What happened to him later in the novel with his parents and his ex, had me wanting to crawl inside the novel and kick some butt. Yet Avery soldiers on, not allowing the incident to ruin his plans – Avery is great at regrouping and moving forward. As for Cal, what he endures in his family life was utterly heartbreaking even as it warmed my heart to see his family step in and take care of him. I cried for Cal, Nascha and Kier even as I saw how the changes would be better for them all in the long run. While The Deep of the Sound is a complete story, it is one that I would really love to see the author write a sequel to because this group of Bluewater Bay residents hold a very special place in my heart and I’m not ready to let them go yet.