Bedside Manner by DJ Jamison

Bedside Manner (Hearts and Health Book 1) by DJ Jamison - 4 stars

Zane Kavanaugh is a young college student who falls foul of his step-father following his announcement that he is gay. His mother’s husband beats him to a pulp and Zane ends up in hospital bloodied and battered. He is already estranged from his father for the same reason and so Zane turns to his friends Ben and Gage for support.

Dr Paul Johnston attended to Zane in the ER and is immediately captivated by him. He sees past the swellings and bruises and deep into Zane’s troubled eyes and is drawn to him. Paul has recently started divorce proceedings with his wife as he has finally come out of the closet in his late 30’s and isn’t willing to waste any more time denying his true feelings for men.

Zane moves in with his friend Xander and through a series of events ends up crossing paths with Paul on a number of occasions. The attraction between them grows but when Paul is suspended from working at the hospital due to an allegation of sexual harassment it puts a huge strain on any possibility of a future together. What with the 18 year age gap and negative attitudes from Ben and Zane’s Dad, it looks unlikely that Paul and Zane will ever get the chance to explore the mutual desire they have for one another. But can true love ever really be restrained? That’s the essence of the story – seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the face of passion and determination and how and if they can be overcome.

I haven’t read the other books in the series but it didn’t make too much difference to how I enjoyed this one and I really liked that the author didn’t keep making references to the other books these characters have appeared in. The story touched on some very sensitive issues and I thought the author handled them well, especially Zane’s relationship with his father. The inappropriate behaviour that Paul was accused of in his professional life was awkward and angsty and I really felt his turmoil. As a character, Paul questions himself a lot and even though he is a really great doctor, he is still learning to be a good man.

There was nothing jaw dropping or exhilarating about this book, but it was quite sexy and emotional and I enjoyed the lack of drama while the author concentrated on real life dilemmas with insight and sensitivity. A nice, satisfying read and I look forward to reading more books in this series.