Review: The Other Side of Winter (Santuario #2) by G.B. Gordon

March 25, 2015 Review 24

Review: The Other Side of Winter (Santuario #2) by G.B. Gordon

Not all wounds are visible.

Skanian investigator Bengt fell in love with fellow policeman Alex Rukow in a week. But that was a year ago, and they’ve been apart ever since. Then Alex escapes the corrupt and destitute island nation of Santuario and comes to live with Bengt. Happy ever after . . .?

Alex’s lifelong dream of leaving Santuario has come true at last. But he finds himself adrift in a society he doesn’t understand. Worse, past nightmares come back to haunt him, and after so many years of suspicion and self-reliance, it’s harder than he imagined to trust someone else.

Bengt just wants Alex to share his comfortable life. But the more he tries to give, the more Alex pulls away. Their physical connection couldn’t be better, but Bengt can’t seem to get through to his difficult, taciturn lover outside the bedroom. Meanwhile, he has his own demons to confront—not to mention a serial killer on the loose.

Bengt and Alex must dig deep for the courage to face their pasts, but it may be too late to save their relationship or their lives.

Title: The Other Side of Winter
Author: G.B. Gordon
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Santuario, When to Hold Them, Bluewater Blues
Series: Santuario
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Santuario
Published by Riptide Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: March 23, 2015
Genres: Male Male Romance, Sci Fi Romance
Pages: 345
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: three-half-flames
Riptide Publishing

The Other Side of Winter picks up a year after Santuario ends. The promises of the borders falling between the two places has happened. Some Santuarian’s have been granted visas to allow them an escape from the hell they have been living in. Alex is on the first plane out and goes directly into Bengt’s arms. Now both men are left bumbling through the beginnings of a relationship that sparked over the course of a week. This magical and intense week happened a year ago and neither of them have seen each other since.

Both Alex and Bengt has questions about their budding relationship. This is uncharted territory for both of them. Alex has been thrust into a world of unknowns. Everything about his new home is completely different than the life he knew from Santuario. Bengt ponders if Alex is there in his life now because of his desires for him or just a better life away from Santuario. The newness of it all has them tiptoeing around issues that should be easily discussed and simply solved.

I had a couple disappointments. I had really wanted to know some of the specifics of Alex’s life on Santuario after Bengt returned home at the end of their investigation. There were a couple of vague references but no specifics. There is also a lull in the middle where I wondered where this story was going. It happened during a pivotal moment in Alex and Bengt’s relationship. This moment that didn’t keep my focus took readers through some of Alex’s more difficult times and what came out the other side immediately grabbed my interest as the story picked its momentum back up.


Gay Romance

Hi everyone,


I’m thrilled to be here and especially thrilled about the reason I’m here: Bengt and Alex are back with The Other Side of Winter. Some of you wanted to know a bit more about what happens between the two books, so I’m taking the opportunity to give you some glimpses into that year the guys spent apart from each other in a series of intermezzos over the course of this booktour.


SPOILER ALERT! A warning for those of you who’ve NOT yet read Santuario: since these scenes are set after the first book, there will, of course, be spoilers.


Thank you for having me,



Read on at your own discretion.


  1. VI. Esperanza, pt. 1


They kept looking for survivors throughout the day without finding anyone else, then made camp a little ways away from the ruins. No one felt like spending the night at the scene of a massacre.

Alex woke up in the dark, dream fogged, the taste of Bengt’s lips on his tongue, and for one panicked moment he thought he’d called his name out loud. But the woods around him were thick with the soft rustles and animal sounds of uninterrupted night activities. Not sure what had woken him up, he tried to listen into the darkness over the sound of his pounding heart. A loud snore to his left gave him the answer. Right.

The fire had long since burned down, the only light visible under the canopy was the occasional red glow from the cigarette of whoever was sitting watch. Alex rubbed his face and sat up. Fuck those dreams. He checked his watch, almost four. Might as well take his turn. No way was he going back to sleep now.

He roused everyone at daybreak. They quietly broke camp after sharing some coffee and bread, then, without looking back, they were on their way, refilling canteens wherever the opportunity presented itself.

The higher they climbed out of the river valley and into the foothills of the sierra, the more they left the rain forest behind, and the more keenly Alex felt the loss of his hat. They walked single file, didn’t talk, and didn’t take any breaks. It suited Alex just fine. While the climb was tiring, he didn’t want to stop out in the open.

Some of the men passed bags of mezcla down the line, a trail mix of cocoa nibs and nuts roasted with honey and salt that provided a quick energy boost. But it made him thirsty, and he didn’t know how soon he’d be able to refill his canteen. So he only ate a little. Thankfully the climb didn’t become really steep until the sun was low in the sky.

They were approaching the entrance of a sheer canon when the familiar prickle in his neck made Alex look up and scan the rock edge high above. If someone were to place a few judicious charges along the overhang up there, it would come tumbling down right where the walls narrowed to about ten yards across. One could trap an army in this canon. And then leisurely pick them off from the rim a little farther— Glint of sun on metal!

He was about to yell an alarm, when his eyes met Simón’s decidedly smug expression.

“Great minds,” Simón said.

“Your men up there?”

“You better believe it.” He pulled a bright orange bandana from his pocket and waved it above his head. Where Alex had seen the glint, someone stood up and waved an answer.

It was quite cool at the bottom of the canon. Initial relief at having escaped the merciless sun, quickly gave way to shivers running across Alex’s shoulders. But the pace Simón set, and the steady elevation kept his muscles warm enough that he didn’t freeze outright.

They followed the canon for about an hour, the floor steadily rising, until the rim was only about half a dozen yards above them. Here the ground levelled and he walls opened onto a wide plateau with a spectacular and dizzying view of hilly brushland below.

A number of buildings hugged the wall on either side of the entrance, forming a shallow half-circle that ended at the drop. This wasn’t a camp, this was a stronghold. “Whoa.”

Simón gave him a smile that held some pride and opened his arms wide. “Welcome to Esperanza.”


About the Author


G.B.Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing.


Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands. Santuario is G.B. Gordon’s first published work, but many more stories are just waiting to hit the keyboard.


Connect with Gordon:




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Riptide gift card. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March

  1. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!


24 Responses to “Review: The Other Side of Winter (Santuario #2) by G.B. Gordon”

  1. kimbacaffeinate

    Despite the lull in the middle and wanted more details about his life before this sounds pretty engaging. I like the suspense and serial killer threads.

  2. Fictional Candy

    I’m a little confused… does this take place in a made up world/place? The premise sounds pretty interesting. Definitely a new-to-me author. I’ll keep my eye out for this one 🙂

    • G.B.Gordon

      Yes, it does. It’s a ‘centuries after humans leave earth and settle on different planets’ setting. An alternate universe, if you will.

  3. Naomi Hop

    Oooh… This sounds like an intriguing read. I am curious about Alex too, I hope you are able to get those details you want in the next book Vanessa!!

  4. Antonia

    Getting more intrigued about this series with every post! amaquilante(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. H.B.

    Sounds wonderful. Thank you for the review =)

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  6. lupdilup

    Thanks for the introduction, this a new-to-me author, and sounds like I’ve been missing out 🙂

  7. Ree Dee

    Thank you for the introduction to Alex in this post! Thank you I really am enjoying these posts!