Title: Lost and Found by Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, M/M
Length: 148 pages/Word Count: 37,300
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Lost: one dog and two men in need of each other. Found: love.
RV resort security chief Ringo never believed in love at first sight . . . until he saw Gavin playing his sax on the beach for the tourists. But their on-again, off-again affair—even counting all the great makeup sex—doesn’t come close to the relationship he wants. All he really wants for Christmas is a commitment from Gavin.
Instead he discovers that Gavin has had surgery without telling him, so he lays down a relationship ultimatum while Gavin recuperates. Complicating matters even more, Gavin’s beloved dog Bird runs away, and Gavin blames Ringo for the disappearance.
While Ringo throws every resource he has into finding Bird, he learns deeper truths about Gavin—how hard it is for him to trust and how little faith he has in love. Maybe if Ringo can find Bird, he can salvage Gavin’s faith. Maybe this Christmas, they can all find each other.
Note: 20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit http://www.aliforneycenter.org/.
A brooding hero, an adorable canine and a close-knit, loving family are an irresistible combination in Lost and Found, Z.A. Maxfield’s contribution to the Home for the Holidays anthology. This delightfully charming and heartwarming romance is sizzling hot but it is the emotional aspect of the storyline that I found most compelling.
Ringo and Gavin’s year long relationship is stuck in a vicious cycle with them continually breaking up and passionately reuniting. Currently split up, Ringo seizes the opportunity to lend assistance to Gavin while Gavin is recovering from surgery. Their tentative romance is threatened when Gavin’s beloved dog Bird disappears and Gavin angrily holds Ringo responsible for the Bird’s disappearance.
Ringo is rock solid and crazy in love with Gavin. He fully realizes their relationship is dysfunctional but he can’t quite give up on Gavin just yet. Their current reconciliation begins with the same pattern as always but Ringo soon tires of walking on eggshells around Gavin. He finally recognizes that he deserves more than Gavin has been giving him and although he understands the motives behind Gavin’s reactions, he knows he cannot stay with Gavin without some much needed changes. Ringo quietly changes his tactics with Gavin and their once volatile relationship becomes more even-keeled, but unfortunately, at the first sign of crisis, Gavin reverts to his old behavior.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Gavin, but thankfully, I kept an open mind and he quickly began to grow on me. Gavin is emotionally damaged and he is so afraid of being abandoned by Ringo, that he continually pushes him away. At first, Gavin is defensive, bristly and very reluctant to accept Ringo’s help. But he quickly becomes amenable to Ringo’s overtures but the real turning point in their relationship comes once Ringo makes it clear that he won’t put up with Gavin’s ill-temper.
What made Lost and Found such a unique story is the role that Gavin’s music plays in his relationship with Ringo. It would be easy to assume their relationship is superficial since Gavin does not give up much information about himself or his past, and in turn, neither does Ringo. But the true depth to their relationship becomes clear through their non-verbal communication. Gavin reveals his inner turmoil and emotions through music and Ringo intuitively picks up on these cues.
Lost and Found is a captivating romance but it is the personal growth of the characters that made it such a stand out read for me. It is a journey of self discovery for both Gavin and Ringo and I love how realistically Z.A. Maxfield resolves the conflict between them. An absolutely wonderful addition to the Home for the Holidays collection that beautifully illustrates the meaning of “home”.