Haven Investigations, #4
If exposing the past will turn everyone against you, but save the man you love, would you risk your sanity to uncover it all?
Kade’s sanity is unraveling. Back home with Ollie, everything should be normal. Except now he knows he might have been betrayed by his best friend.
Digging into Ollie’s past, Kade uncovers history of a war torn country, Ollie’s family running for their lives, and the treachery that held two children hostage.
When someone tries to kill Ollie, Kade has to find a way to expose all the deception, find the truth, and do whatever he must to protect his future with Ollie.
Note: This MM romance features a tattooed ex-Marine, a former model with a passion for manties and sticking his nose into mysteries, PTSD inspired nightmares, and an epic wedding. Second edition.
- 4 To Be Read lists
- 2 Read lists
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Demisexual, Gay, Genderfluid
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Hurt / Comfort, Interracial Relationship
Word Count: 92,124
Setting: San Francisco, USA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Every day for more than half a year, I had watched my lover, Ollie, suffer from depression and anxiety, thinking I understood. I’d been so wrong. Now after two months of constant appointments and several medications, I was still unable to shake the overwhelming feeling of dread. Never mind that I’d told Jolanda, my therapist, every last bit I could remember from my days being held captive by my father. Sometimes my brain just took over for me, shutting down or switching to autopilot. This last time, unlike the many times of my youth, it wasn’t about my sexuality. Instead he’d just tried to convince me Ollie was dead and it was all my fault. I often woke in a cold sweat, terrified, until I found Ollie beside me, alive and safe.
“It’s PTSD, Kade,” Jolanda, reaffirmed. “The depression and anxiety are just symptoms of the larger problem.”READ MORE
“And not going away,” I told her. Or letting up. Sometimes the smallest thing could have me fighting tears or so overwhelmed with sadness I could barely breathe. It was terrifying just how much I worried about stupid things. Like where Ollie was every second of the day, even when I knew he was home or with Britney or Sophie or just in the other room. Or if someone was watching me, waiting to swoop in and abduct me again. “I’m not normal.”
“Is anyone?” Jolanda asked.
“Not normal for me.” It was getting harder to hide it from Ollie.
“You’ve been through a lot, Kade. How about giving yourself some time to heal?”
“Shouldn’t I have gotten this from serving?”
“Did you ever feel as helpless while serving? Have as much to lose?”
I hated the way she volleyed questions back at me when she already knew the answers. “No.” The truth was, while I’d been serving my country, I’d had nothing to return home to. Now I had so much.
“Give it time.”
“Ollie needs me.” He was healing from a major stroke. He had blackouts, memory loss, and sometimes a complete bipolar change of his emotions. He needed me to be solid so he could heal.
“There’s no reason you can’t be there for Ollie while you’re healing. You both need to take it slow,” Jolanda said.
“He needs me to be solid. His rock.”
“And you need him to be yours. Why can’t it be an exchange? Don’t you trust him?”
Of course I trusted him. The only time I could breathe anymore was when he was in the room with me. It was irrational and I knew it was irrational. I just needed to figure out how to set aside this horrible dread. Moving beyond the depression, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion seemed impossible. Like the weight of an elephant on my chest, it never let up.
“Have you told him how you feel? Your fears?”
“No.” Ollie knew I had PTSD, but not how badly I struggled with it.
“Because you’re worried how he’ll react?”
“His brother killed himself because of PTSD. You don’t get how that messed him up.” Only she did, because she treated him too. I sighed. “Sorry. You get it. I know you do.”
“Nathan Petroskovic died from an illness,” she pointed out. “The means are irrelevant.”
I swallowed back bile at the thought. He’d died because he hadn’t been strong enough to keep fighting. What if I couldn’t handle the weight of it anymore? It had only been a few months. What if this continued for years? I wasn’t sure I was strong enough. Fuck.
She let me stew a little longer before saying, “You come to me for help. A cure. An instant fix. You know I can’t give you any of those things.”
I knew I had to work for those, and they were all intangible things, which made it so much harder. “So I’m stuck?”
“I will always be here for you. But maybe it’s not me you need.”
“I can’t talk to Ollie about this.” He’s not strong enough.
Fuck. Where had that thought come from? He was the strongest person I knew. He’d been living with this god-be-damned monster of depression and anxiety on his back his whole life. What did that say for me that I couldn’t handle it for a few months?
“What do you fear he’ll do if you tell him just how bad off you are right now?”
Leave me. Oh God, I’d really fall apart. I was only holding it together because I went home to him every day, curled up on the chaise with him, cuddled on the couch with him and our cat, Newt. Ollie’s smile, the subtle turn of his head, the way he canted his hips when he leaned against the counter to talk to me…
“How about a challenge for this week?”
No. I wasn’t ready. Not yet. Not to tell him.
“Tell him one hard truth each day.” She put her hand up when I began to protest. “Doesn’t have to be about him, or even about you. It could be: Climate change is fucking us up right now. Or you hate the color orange. Just one hard truth. Each one should be easier to say than the last.”
“I need him,” I whispered.
“I know. So start small. Tell him you’re worried. Or that you hate a pair of shoes. Just talk to him. Shutting down is not going to benefit either of you. I think a lot of your anxiety about him leaving is simply because you’re not talking to him.”
“Okay.” It sounded easier than I was sure it was. “I just wish…” That I’d been born to a different family. That my head hadn’t been fucked with by my father and a chemical cocktail. That I could see into the future to know that admitting I was broken to Ollie wasn’t going to tip him over the edge.
“Okay,” I agreed. It was somewhere to start.COLLAPSE
Sammy on The Novel Approach wrote:
After being rescued from his kidnapping and gaining new revelations about his family, Kade is still recovering both physically and emotionally. He is trying to focus on both Ollie and work, but Kade’s depression and anxiety have ratcheted up after all they have recently experienced and he is having trouble functioning. Kade doesn’t want to tell Ollie what is really going on, however. He feels like it is his job to take care of Ollie, who is still recovering himself from his stroke. Plus, Kade always wants to be strong for Ollie and so he is determined to push through, even as he spirals further out of control.
Soon it becomes clear that Kade is not, in fact, all right and that he needs some serious intervention. With Ollie’s help, Kade begins to turn a corner and regain some control and confidence. As Kade gets better, the two begin to explore the issue of what really happened with Ollie’s brother, Nathan. Between Nathan’s suicide, his mysterious wife, and allegations that Nathan was spying on Kade, neither Kade nor Ollie really knows what to think. As Kade and Ollie dig deeper, they begin to learn more about Ollie’s past, uncovering secrets and shaking up everything they thought they knew.
Even as their world gets a little off kilter with all the revelations, Ollie and Kade are still deeply committed to one another. They are determined to learn the truth and move forward to a wedding and a future together.
Model Exposure is the fourth book in the Haven Investigations series and this story really nicely pulls the series together. I am not sure if this is the final book, but Kasey gives us both a happy ending for the men, as well as a resolution to all the various plot elements that have been in play over the series.
The book really divides into two parts for me. The first focuses on Kade and his mental breakdown in the aftermath of the kidnapping and other chaos. Kade is seeing danger at every turn, and his instinct to protect Ollie kinds of starts sending him over the edge. Kade has always been incredibly protective over Ollie. In fact, his sort of alpha need to take care of him, combined with a really paternalistic attitude toward Ollie, is something that has bugged me throughout the series. But here it does tie nicely with Kade’s mental state and we see him pretty much hit rock bottom before pulling things back together. I think this part works well, and is kind of a natural consequence of both what Kade has been through, as well as his intense need to care for Ollie. I liked seeing how the guys deal with things and more forward.
The second part of the story focuses on Ollie’s past, both the bigger picture in terms of his parents and his family life, and then more focused on Nathan and what was really going on with him. We learned at the end of the last book that Nathan was spying for Kade’s dad, so we get more revelations about that connection, as well as others who are involved. On top of that, we finally learn what really happened with Nathan. It is kind of fantastical what was really going on. You have to suspend some disbelief, honestly. But it definitely was an explanation I didn’t see coming at all and it really brings the series full circle to where we started with Nathan’s suicide. That said, things get a little crazy here. The bad guy really felt out of left field to me, and given how nicely the rest of the story ties together with the other books, this felt a little cheap to me in terms of payoff.
As I said, I am not sure if this is the end of the series, but things tie up well and we not only get questions answered, but also get to check in with all the close friends that have become their family. I liked seeing how this group has come together over the course of the books, including Micah, Jacob, Ty, and more. So Kasey does a really nice job here pulling the series together, and I enjoyed this one.
Belen on Gay Book Reviews wrote:
I am so sad to see Lissa Kasey’s Haven Investigations series end. I have enjoyed these novels, from book one to this, the fourth installment, Model Exposure, thoroughly, and have grown to love Ollie and Kade as I am sure most of the fans of this series will have as well. The love story that Ms. Kasey has created for these two is strong and lasting, and it’s had to be, considering everything these two men have been through on their journey together. Having survived yet another kidnapping by his maniacal father, and finally discovered just who has been behind all the vile acts that had been attributed to Kade all these years, one would think that life would begin to normalize for Ollie and Kade. Both are recovering from trauma—Ollie a stroke that leaves him susceptible to life threatening seizures, and Kade, now an amputee struggling with PTSD and a sketchy memory, at best. The two men deserve a rest, but, unfortunately, life is not done with them yet.
Someone is after Ollie, and wants him dead. Apparently his deceased brother, Nathan, had hidden some very important facts about their past from Ollie and Kade, and when the two men find out that someone near to them has betrayed them, they will be devastated by the discovery. Once again they are in a fight for their lives, but this time Kade will not just be haunted by memories he can barely survive; he’ll nearly fall apart completely before he acknowledges that he needs serious help in sorting through all that has happened to him. The race for the truth is on, and this time the journey is no less deadly than the last.
So, so much is revealed in this last novel that my head is still reeling from it all. What an incredibly clever novelist Lissa Kasey has grown to be over the years. Her storytelling is impeccable, as are the mysteries she weaves and the romance she nurtures in her books. Kade and Ollie are amazing together—never perfect, deeply flawed, and yet, they are so right for each other you would be hard-pressed to imagine them with anyone else. Their chemistry remains unscathed and flawless, as does the intrigue that surrounds them at every turn. I hung on to the edge of my seat on this one, mind blown over who ended up being the betrayer in this story, and shaking my head at the intricate web of lies that had been laid in order for the person to succeed. This was just an outstanding mystery, one that really served up an outstanding ending to this wonderful series.
I cannot say more than this: If you have not read the Haven Investigations series by author Lissa Kasey, you are truly missing out. This last book, Model Exposure, is a phenomenal ending to a stellar group of stories, and one I highly recommend to you!
Chris on Goodreads wrote:
I have said this before, and I will say this again, I love this series. Lissa Kasey gets better with each installment.
There is a lot that has gone down with Kade and Ollie, and after the events in Model Investigator Kade is finding it very difficult to open up with Ollie and communicate well. Even though eventually everything is sorted out, this one put me through the ringer on the whole.
There is some great action, a really wonderful hurt/comfort thread throughout, and such palpable love between these characters. Sure, it’s sometimes codependent and possibly bordering on unhealthy, but it works for them both. And it works for me reading it.
I love how well Kasey incorporates the side characters in this series – just enough to help the story along, but not enough to take the focus off Kade and Ollie. The only thing I would have wanted to be different would have been a dual POV from both Kade and Ollie. Because it’s only from Kade’s POV the story sometimes jumped to an explanation of something that happened off screen because Kade wasn’t there to see it.
I also just really would have loved Ollie’s POV.
That aside, can I just, once again, give props on the realistic timeframe for when someone gets hurt? I love that Kasey doesn’t have characters bounce back from bullet wounds, or surgeries, or shock like they were nothing. I love that Kasey gives her characters time to heal.
I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed this. I was totally engrossed and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was so happy because all of my questions were finally answered. All in all I had a terrific time reading this.
Christy Duke on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:
4.5 stars for this book and series. I loved it ❤️ Oliver & Kade were unique MCs. Both guys emotionally damaged and vulnerable trying to be strong for the other, hiding fears and disappearing into their own heads. They overcame a heap of trauma ( too much in my book ) and with the support of awesome friends they made it through to the other side. I would love love love another book just to see them happy - please can they have a happy ???
A really enjoyable series, I’m so glad I found it
It was with a very heavy heart that I began ‘Model Exposure’, the fourth and final book, in Lissa Kasey’s ‘Haven Investigations’ series. It feels as if I’ve been right there with Ollie and Kade through all the upheavals, the joys, the laughter, the tears, the disappointments, the fear, the betrayals, and the revelations. I was ready to get the answers to so many questions but I was equally afraid to hear them. All I’ve ever wanted was for Ollie and Kade to be happy and for life to be peaceful and calm. I could only hope that the book would bring that and more.
“The only time I could breathe anymore was when he was in the room with me. It was irrational and I knew it was irrational. I just needed to figure out how to set aside this horrible dread. Moving beyond the depression, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion seemed impossible. Like the weight of an elephant on my chest, it never let up.”
One of the things I have always liked the best about these books is that each one is written in the point of view of one of the two main characters. Ollie voiced book one, Kade book two, Ollie book three, and Kade book four, this finale. It has given me such a unique perspective on each man’s personality and character traits. And in this book, it gave me insight into Kade’s mental health, his fears, his anxieties, and all of the things that scare him right down to the bone. The largest of these being if he actually lets Ollie know what’s going on in his mind, somehow Ollie will be disgusted, and leave him.
There are so many things that I can’t say about ‘Model Exposure’ without spoiling too much. There are so many revelations that come to light regarding Nathan and Ollie’s parents, their true heritage, subterfuge and betrayal that spans decades, not to mention a betrayal that hits Ollie and Kade the hardest, very close to home. Through it all, however, lies the love between Kade and Ollie. A love that has weathered so many storms, but they’ve battled everything together, loving each other with all that they have. Ollie and Kade may not be perfect, but they’re perfect for each other.
“I stared at the door, almost unable to wait a second longer. I hadn’t seen him all day. We were getting married. Didn’t he understand I couldn’t live without him for a single second? Then he was there, framed in the light of the glowing bulbs and some light behind him. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped.”
A truly magnificent finale to a series I am going to miss. I loved the ending as it was everything I had always imagined it would be. Thank you, Lissa, for giving me these characters to love.