The First Step Book Cover The First Step
Coastal Carolina Book 1
Shira Anthony
Gay Romance
Dreamspinner Press
September 17, 2019

The first step is the hardest. After a scandal, New York political reporter Reed Barfield is lying low at the North Carolina coast, writing a story about the seafood industry. But it’s the harbor pilots on the Cape Fear River who capture his interest—men who jump across ten feet of open ocean to grab a rope ladder and guide huge container ships into port. Men like sexy but prickly Justin Vance.

After surviving an abusive childhood and a tour in the Navy, Justin isn’t fazed by his dangerous job—it’s certainly easier to face than Reed’s annoying questions. Justin isn’t out at work, and he doesn’t need Reed digging into his personal life or his past.

But Reed’s no stranger to using his considerable charm to get what he wants, and as he wears Justin down, they realize they have a lot in common—and that they like spending time together. Moving beyond that, though, will mean Justin confessing his sexuality and learning to trust Reed with his secrets—if Reed even decides to stay. Both men want a future together, but can they find the courage to take the first step?

Reviewed by Ilse Marijke

Reviewer for the Paranormal Romance Guild

This novel is about two men who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. You would think that it is a rather cut and dry plot, right? Not in this case, because the author takes the reader on a journey through the lives of these two men.

One is a news reporter in a fast-paced city like New York, who is temporarily exiled to a sleepy city on the North Carolina coast, due to a scandal caused by his hot temper. The other is a harbor pilot, who risks his life almost on a daily basis to guide container ships into port.  The men have both had a rough youth, making them emotionally closed adults. The author describes brilliantly how, with sheer determination and integrity, the news reporter gets the pilot to open up to him and how in turn the pilot gets the reporter to take it easy on the work-related risk-taking.

This book was my first read from this author and I loved it.The main characters came to live in a coastal environment; it made me want to take a vacation there, of course outside of the hurricane season, to experience its beauty first-hand.

The relationship was not born from a sexual encounter between the two men, but one based on work and mutual understanding that slowly developed emotionally and deepened.I envision their life together as intimate and sweet, accompanied by their faithful dog. It was fun to read and there was more than enough action to keep me engaged.

I give it a solid five stars.