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Safe Harbor

Pine Cove, Book 1
By: HJ Welch
Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
Series: Pine Cove Series, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Romance, LGBT
4.5 out of 5 stars (172 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Robin Coal wonders if asking his straight housemate Dair to be his fake boyfriend for his high school reunion will be the worst thing he’s ever done…or the best. But there’s no way he’s going home to face his abusive ex alone, and former Marine Dair is just the protection he needs. So long as he doesn’t find out about Robin’s secret crush, everything will be fine. 

Mechanic Dair Epping never expected to spend a week sharing a bed with his adorkable friend; however, pretending to be bi is easier than he imagined. He knows he’ll do anything to keep Robin safe from his ex-boyfriend, but as the chemistry between them grows, the line between fake and reality begins to blur. 

Could Dair actually be bi? Even if he was, would an ex-Marine really be interested in a computer geek like Robin? When his ex’s intentions turn dangerous, how far will Dair go to protect the man he’s falling for? 

Safe Harbor is a steamy, standalone MM romance novel with a guaranteed HEA and absolutely no cliffhanger.

©2019 HJ Welch (P)2019 HJ Welch

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Narrated well, a bit chick- flicky

Robin and Dair have a fake boyfriend start to their relationship, and I do like that trope a lot.
Here I think the story had some issues, mainly the way Robin sank into his insecurity, and how Mac (his ex) was very manipulative in a telenovella kind of way. it was hard to like Robin, even though he was a fun character, because of how he saw himself and didn't see the obvious way others too advantage of it.
Dair, the protective straight guy falling for the cute twink theme could have been good but in a way he was a bit too into it, it was too easy without buildup OR some elf searching. So in a way I was missing something with how he figured out he was into Robin.

It just seemed like it was a collection of misunderstandings and some cliche's, and it was not set up well enough to pass over the little glitches in the plot.
The side characters were fun, interesting and appealing, The narration was very good and sensual.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

Sweet GFY MM Romance. Enjoyed the characters and the story line. I will be hoping for book 2 soon.
The narration was really good on this audiobook. I have listened to him before and hope to see more of him too!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • BORDENTOWN, NJ, United States
  • 07-22-19

Cliche book, reads like a high school fanfic

this story was okay. but every character was a cliche trope with no actual depth. lines were cheesey. the moment they got together was cute, but then they both fall prey to the "misunderstanding" that was more annoying than believable. who would fall for that? insta love and kinda lame.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Much better than expected

4 Blue Roses
4 Blue Flames

Nick J Russo's deep, sexy voice lends itself perfectly to this audiobook.
I was surprised by the action and angst and found myself emotionally engulfed and almost screaming at the ex-boyfriend as he manipulated and almost killed and drowned Robin.

How stupid of Robin to go into the row boat with his ex-boyfriend. Rocks have more brains!
Robin Coal needed to go home for his 10 year reunion. He asked his housemate Dair to be his fake boyfriend. Dair is retired from the US Marines, dripping with sexyness and totaly oblivious to the attraction between Robin and himself.

I recommend this audiobook for when you are in the mood for some lighthearted romantic comedy dipped in some syrupy sexy times.
Happy Listening

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

beautiful trash

you know what you're getting when you download this book. a cliche story with a mary-sue and a poster boy nerd. but, i still love it. it's a trashy rom-com, and that's what i wanted. every once in a while i would laugh at the ridiculous dialogue, or when a sex term came out of nowhere. so while this is not great literature, it's fun, funny, hot, and full of heart. can't wait to listen to more from this author and narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Painfully un-self-aware main characters...

Ok. So, I just forced myself to finish this book. Yeach.

The MCs were so embarrassingly un-self-aware and shallowly written, it was a struggle to keep listening. The story centers around a 10-year high school reunion, and that was a constant reminder that the characters were supposed to be ‘adults’, but gee-wiz, it felt like a teen melodrama. The character’s self-doubt, plot moving misunderstandings and the MCs inability to communicate would be fine for a story about 15 year olds, but not a book about late twenty-something adults.

The side characters were likable, the plot and settings were well written, the smexy bits were good and the narrator was professional.

I just couldn’t get over how unrealistically adolescent the MCs were. Very off-putting.

I'll be returning this one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Feel good listen

Robin and Dair- fake boyfriends who evolve into much more. I enjoyed Nick J Russo’s narration a lot! He made the characters feel real. Ready for book 2!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cute story

This was a fun story. I liked the idea of Dair pretending to have recently discovered his bisexuality (or pansexuality) because of his feelings for Robin, only to suddenly realize that his real life was going the same direction as his pretense. Dair was really too perfect to be true, with amazing looks combined with a wonderful heart. I loved him as much as everyone else did. Robin was adorable but lacked confidence in himself. He also didn't listen to the people he trusted the way he should, and that caused me a bit of stress. When these two were together, without Robin's doubts, they were great. Add in Dair's scene-stealing dog, and they were perfect.
The cute story was enhanced by a talented narrator I always enjoy. This was a good listen that made my commute almost pleasant!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Narration that brings the story to life!!

Once again, I was drawn into the story of Robin and Dair, but this time, Nick Russo added to the wonderful story and the depth of the characters.

From the moment you meet Robin, he makes you smile. Him and his roommate, Peyton, are looking for a third roommate in Seattle to share the rent and on the last applicant, they hit the jackpot. Dair is an ex-marine who works as a mechanic now that he's out of the service. He's caring, gentle, and grows to care about his roommates fairly quickly, especially Robin. One night, Robin is worried about his upcoming class reunion and while he wants to go and reconnect with his family, he knows his ex will be there. Dair volunteers to go with Robin, to be his bodyguard while pretending to be his boyfriend and Robin agrees.

The characters in this book, especially Robin, is so realistic. He's hung up on the past with his abusive ex-boyfriend and refuses to get emotional or have a relationship, and for the longest time, you can't see why. But then you meet Robin's family, his large, funny, loving family and you realize that Robin would know nothing of abuse and manipulation because he never had to deal with anything like that before. But now he's home, his ex goes about trying to manipulate his relationship with Dair.

Dair is a wonderfully honest character who like Robin, hasn't had a lot of experience past the corp and his work as a mechanic. When he finds himself liking Robin more and more, he gets protective, but he also realizes his growing feelings for Robin have more to do with being his real boyfriend.

The story is a lovely read, angsty at times because of the manipulation and anger from the ex, but in the end, Dair and Robin and their happy ending are all that matters. A lovely read and I highly recommend this book!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cute story

I really enjoyed the first book in the series. Excited to start the next one. I really liked both MC, Dair is the sweetest. Nick did a great job as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Venrab
  • Venrab
  • 09-12-19

Love love love!

This book has everything. I just can't. Serious book hangover right now.
Fake boyfriends, bisexual awakening, an asshole of an ex, a support network and family and cute puppies. A must read

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne Johnson
  • 08-20-19

Restores faith in love

Absolutely couldn’t stop listening to this. The author really pulls you in to the story. It’s so sensual without being overtly corny.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Danielle Allan
  • 08-17-19

meh

your average story, mistakes are made and people dont communicate properly so feelings are left unsaid and misunderstandings lead to conflict. very cliche. Robin is also stupid, what a moron and he does keep going back to mac so he shouldn't have been so surprised

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Profile Image for Donna Hirsch
  • Donna Hirsch
  • 08-12-19

Wonderful

Loved this book HJ Welch has done a great job with GFY. Can't wait to continue this journey. Loved how the kids are all named after birds. Nick's narration topped this off.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Debbie Attenborough
  • Debbie Attenborough
  • 08-06-19

excellent narration of a sneaky little book!

I was gifted my copy of this book direct from the author, that I write a review was NOT required.

This book landed right on my kindle when I was between bigger, heavier, darker books and it proper hit THAT spot, you know? The one that lets you fall into this book, and just read, and wile away a few hours while you recover from minor surgery. It landed, I read.

And I bloody LOVED it!

Robin has immediate attraction to Dair, right from the very first meeting but he doesn’t act on it, at all, cos Dair is straight. When Robin’s high school reunion comes up, he doesn’t really want to go, because it means he will come face to face with his abusive ex. When Robin’s best friend, Peyton, suggest he takes Dair as his plus one, Robin is not convinced it’s a good idea, but Dair does. It means Dair can get to know Robin better. THEN the suggestion is made for Dair to be Robin’s pretend boyfriend and things spiral out of control. Is Dair straight, or could he be bi? When Robin’s ex gets nasty, Dair knows what and WHO it is he wants, he just has to get there in time.

LOVED this, I really did!

It creeps up on you, and it’s sneaky the way it does.

The attraction that Robin has to Dair is powerful, right from the beginning, but Dair’s attraction to Robin sneaks up on him. It creeps and crawls when they go to Pine Cove, and to Robin’s family home. It sneaks up on him when he’s “pretending” and then it becomes a case of NOT pretending. He wants to touch Robin, hold his hand, kiss him. He WANTS more than those fleeting moments.
The thing with Robin’s ex, that sneaks up on you too! I did NOT see that coming out the way it was going, I really didn’t. I really thought he was trying to make amends! I did not think he was going to go as far as he did!
There is a sneaky thing going on with Peyton, Robin’s best friend, and his sister, Ava. Wonder how that will play out! There were lots of hints and clues and maybe I’m totally reading it all wrong but again, it’s a sneaky book!

It’s not overly explicit, but the physical relationship between Dair and Robin grows over time, so it doesn’t need to be. It’s got a bit of drama and angst with the ex, but not too much. Some danger to...well....just some danger in the book but not saying what.

It really was a thoroughly enjoyable, if sneaky, little book. But then again, its not even LITTLE! It’s just short of 300 pages, and I read it in one go.

Thank you, Ms Welch, for my copy. I hope I get to follow up with the people we met here.

Nick J Russo narrates.
I love Mr Russo’s work, and this is no exception!
His voices for Robin and Dair are PERFECT! They fit so well, they really do, to what I heard when I READ this book first. I do that a lot, know you, hear the voices and then when I find the book is being narrated, I hope my voices match the voices the narrator gives the characters and here I was no disappointed!
We get all of Robin’s instant and powerful attraction to Dair. We get Dair’s dawning realisation that he may not be as straight as he thought. We get all of Robin’s conflict with his ex and we get all of Dair’s terror when Robin is in danger.
Some of these come across when reading, but not all, and Russo nails the delivery!
His reading voice is deep and clear, and all the voices, for everyone, were different enough for me to have no trouble keeping up with multi person conversations.
I hope he gets to narrate the next books too. I need to listen to Troubled Waters, which is book two in this series.
5 stars for the narration
5 stars for the book
5 shiny, but sneaky stars overall

**same worded review will appear elsewhere**

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Emma Burbidge
  • Emma Burbidge
  • 07-26-19

Coming home?

Nick J. Russo is an excellent choice for bringing the guys to life. I haven't had an audio narrated by him in quite some time, but this reminded me why he is one of my favourites.
I love this room mates/fake boyfriend trope combined with Robin's high school reunion. I love how he got to go home and be with his family. I enjoyed how Dair just stays close by even when they fight and he could just as easily leave.
I hated Robin's ex as the smarmy piece of work that he is and was glad to see him get a serving of just desserts in the end.
This is a highly recommended Contemporary MM Romance.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for alias11
  • alias11
  • 07-22-19

Sweet roommates to lovers romance

Very sweet, and occasionally a little angsty, roommates to friends to lovers romance. It was so terrible the way Mac made Robin feel and how long it took for him to realize how much more he was worth. I absolutely loved Robin's family and friends and how supportive they were. I hope we get to see Jay find his match, because he sounded like a fantastic person. Dair and Robin were so great for each other and filled in lots of empty spaces in their hearts.

The narration was very good. Excellent differentiation between various character voices, and a great job of matching tone and vocal level to the emotions being expressed.

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from the author and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Trio
  • Trio
  • 07-22-19

Wonderful New Series

My first experience with the writing of H.J. Welch, combined with a fantastic performance by Nick J. Russo, Safe Harbor is adorable. A fake boyfriend/gay for you romance with a hefty side of playful humor and even a touch of drama, it makes a wonderful audiobook.

Fans of this genre know how hard it is to create a plausible foundation, both the story and the characters have to be believable for it to work for me. Both men are in their late 20’s and are relatively inexperienced in the ways of romance. The nerd and the hunky military guy are a great pairing and both of these guys are sweet as heck.

Returning home for his ten year reunion, Robin needs a fake boyfriend to distract his aggressive ex. Drawn to each other from the get-go, it’s no surprise when his (straight) room-mate Dair volunteers for the post. As the two grow even closer, Dair’s realization that he’s pansexual is a natural progression for his character and works well in the story.

Ms. Welch introduces a host of creative and engaging characters who live in Pine Cove and I’m looking forward to finding out whose story is needs. I hope more episodes in this series are on the way!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 07-22-19

There is magic in this book!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars
🔥🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 4
🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 4.5

There is magic in this book!!

There is just something about this book that weaved its way into my heart. The characters are wonderful, the story powerful, and while this is more of an everyday story, with everyday people, these characters are so real and special that they have made their way into my heart and I fell in love with them and their stories.

The story follows Robin as he heads back to his home town for his 10-year high school reunion and must face his (somewhat abusive and manipulative) ex. He and his housemates concocted a plan that Robin and seemingly straight roommate Dair will be fake boyfriends for the week to keep Robin’s ex away and help him feel confident to face his town again. As expected lines are crossed and feelings are confused but this is done so slowly and subtly, in ways that weave magic through the story and will endear you to these characters. Robin must face some harsh truths about his past and his ex that are hard for him but thankfully his friends, family and of course Dair is there for him. The love that blossoms between Robin and Dair is magical, believable and powerful. They come out stronger than before and the story compassionately explains bisexual, pansexual and gay for you wonderfully that you can’t help but get all the feels. I truly loved this story and look forward to more from Helen and more in this series!!!

Thanks for reading!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Meph666
  • Meph666
  • 07-21-19

Adorable couple wonderfully narrated

What a wonderful read! This is a great start to a new series. Two adorable men on a trip necessitating a fake boyfriend. Currently one of my favourite tropes and HJ Welch has given us a charming story with lovable characters.
Robin and Dair have a great connection and you can easily see them as friends. As Dair starts the story off as straight, the romantic in me is hoping as to where the story will take me but there are, as always, stumbling blocks in the way in the form of an ex boyfriend and their own thoughts fighting against them.
We have the chance to get to know both MC's as the story starts off and there are some fun people around them as well as one or two negatives that. It's very well paced and gives us a lot to keep our attention. The town of Pine Cove is written beautifully, sounding like such a lovely place to visit. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in this series.
Highly recommended, great writing from a wonderful author.
Nick J Russo does a fantastic job in narrating the characters in this story. It was really easy to fall into the story as Nick narrated and I enjoyed the way he voiced, giving each character their own personality in the way he spoke. There are several scenes that are tense and fraught with emotion but Nick gives his all and I felt right there with the characters. Definitely loved the sweeter moments the two MC's had together as well. Looking forward to Nick voicing the family and friends again in book 2.