This was more than a love story. It was a story about love, yes; but it was also about family, friends and at the risk of sounding cliché, the ties that bind. The story takes us through the story of two young boys growing up in a very small town in Northern California and shows us that sometimes love and passion just isn't enough. Carrick and Deacon are wonderfully drawn characters imbued with great attributes but also some near-fatal flaws - in other words, they are real, genuine folks. It's their story, yes, but the supporting characters are so damned real as well and it's heart-warming to read of the forming of an honest-to-God family, brought together by emotion, heart-ache, caring and yes, need. I was brought to tears more than once, I have to admit. And it's a romance, yes, there's sex scenes and yes, they're hotter than hot (the one in the barn was especially steamy), but what made them so much better was the way the author was able to infuse every action and reaction with an emotional meaning. And not necessarily a grand, sweeping, romantic meaning either! Carrick and Deacon are allowed to be silly and laugh together even when they're hot, horny and needy. They are real. I loved this book to itty-bitty bits and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone!