Still Air (Portland ME #4) by Freya Barker


Deprival haunted her…

Regret troubled her…

Silence left her detached...

A life in the service of others is both penance and a blessing. She soothes her personal hell by pulling victims from theirs, helping them on their path to survival; never finding her own.

When a crippling blow finally evaporates her last hope, the temptation to give up is strong. Still, she can’t find it in her to turn her back on those who need her: the innocent, whose rescue is her perpetual goal.

He was blind, but now he sees how his family has sifted through his fingers. The reality hits hard when his son becomes a stranger, slipping deeper into transgression. Concern has him call on the one person he fears will see his own failures all too clearly. A woman he’s kept his distance from for his own protection.

What appeared to be an incompatible pairing, turns out the unyielding bond needed to heal them all.

Pet’s $0.02

I haven’t hidden the fact I’m a huge fan of pretty much anything written by Freya Barker, but if I had to choose a favorite series, Cedar Hill or Portland, ME, I have to give to the Portland, ME series hands down…every time! And finally….finally, we get Dino and Pam’s story!

All the series have them….you know the ones…the couple in the background you keep hoping are going to get together, that keep trading looks or barbs, who maybe try to act indifferent to the others presence…but really can’t, you just know they’re meant to be together?  That’s Dino and Pam!

Dino has been everyone’s shoulder and sage since the beginning of the series…and he has a lot of good advice but that man’s home life is slowly crumbling and nobody sees that he needs some serious help stopping the spiral he’s in except for Pam. And Dino is a proud man….he doesn’t want to admit to anyone that he does NOT have a firm grasp on keeping his family healthy and whole. The fight he puts into just trying to keep a connection with his son and daughter is so sad. I think every parent struggles with that at some point with their kids, but he has so many things stacked against him it seems like he’s never going to win back their love and trust.

I can’t think of a better match for Dino than Pam. She’s also someone who seems to have it all together. She’s strong and compassionate with a backbone of steel when it comes to dealing the myriad issues that the women bring to her shelter.  But that’s the only thing she has a firm grasp on is her ability to help others. Her personal life is a mess….she’s gone through the same shit that Dino is going through  and she can see where his family is headed if he can’t get a grasp on how to turn some things around.

Out of all the men and women of the Portland, ME series Dino and Pam are the ones that hide the most from their friends.  They’re also the ones who are completely transparent to one another, regardless of how they try to hide from each other. Both of them fight their attraction and their need to lean on another person for help when it’s obvious to everyone else that they’re the one person the other needs to be okay. I can’t even call Still Air a sweet love story because it deals with a lot of heavy subjects and neither Pam nor Dino’s lives are pretty right now, but the two of them together fit and their story is a story of friendship, tenacity and survival which is also beautiful in its own right.

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