Loose Id, Z.A. Maxfield

Physical Therapy (St. Nacho’s #2) by Z.A. Maxfield

“When I stand before thee at the day’s end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Jordan Jensen is responsible for the death of a three-year-old child. It took some time to reconcile himself to the role he played in that tragic and life altering event, and to accept responsibility for his part in that death, which was fueled by a fatal combination of drugs, alcohol, and utter arrogance. Prison, rehab, and leaving River Falls, Wisconsin were all part of the healing process in Jordan’s self-destruction. But that doesn’t mean Jordan is at all well. He fully understands that the key to redemption is not in forgetting the past, but in remembering it, wearing it like a scar on his soul so that he will never succumb to the temptation of his own weaknesses again. Jordan has worked hard to recreate himself, is now the sort of man who works to heal others, but he’s also a man who will never look for absolution from anyone because, at the end of the day, there’s no way he could ever forgive himself for his insolence.

Jordan lands himself in Santo Ignacio, California—a place that until then had been nothing more than a point on the map where Jordan’s best friend, Cooper Wyatt, had found his peace with his lover, Shawn Fielding. St. Nacho’s is the sort of place that seems to welcome the lost and broken, even when the lost and broken are not sure they’re welcome anywhere. All it takes is finding the right someplace and the right someone for Jordan to understand it’s the somewhere he could maybe call home.

Jordan is a massage therapist who specializes in athletic rehabilitation, and it’s those skills that land him a job at Day-Use Ex Machina, the local fitness center where a whole lot of divine intervention and a compassionate owner, Isabelle Atherton, could go a long way to helping him find his place in the world. What he never expected was for the hands of fate and the whims of irony to intervene so completely in the form of injured athlete, Ken Ashton, a man whose life, dreams, and hopes for a future in professional baseball were destroyed by a drunk driver.

The choice to get behind the wheel of Cooper’s truck and the aftermath of that choice is one that Jordan has relived a thousand times over in his memories. The horror of the accident that killed his best friend and left him both physically and emotionally crippled is one that Ken is still living as a waking nightmare. Both men serve as little more than a reminder to the other of the horror and destruction that can happen in a matter of moments; the past and the present are tangled up in a tumult of anger and resentment, pain and perdition, but it will take something as simple as the power of touch to open them both to the headlong fall into want and need and the agony of permission be together and to make each other whole again.

It takes no small amount of strength and courage for Ken to finally admit he isn’t the man everyone believed him to be. It also takes more than a few missteps on his part to finally get right with his feelings for Jordan and to claim him in the way Jordan needs to be claimed, and to convince Jordan that a future together is worth fighting the past for. Both men learn that healing doesn’t mean a return to the way things were before, but is a process of re-becoming the someone who is more than worthy of love.

I have to confess that I was a little nervous about moving straight on to Physical Therapy because I was afraid it wouldn’t be able to live up to my love of St. Nacho’s, but once again, Z.A. Maxfield made me fall truly, madly, and deeply in love with her broken heroes. This was an un-put-downable read, and I think I fell a little more in love with St. Nacho’s too, a town that’s every bit as important a character in this series as the people who inhabit it.

Buy Physical Therapy HERE.

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