Rating: 5 stars out of 5
This story was exactly what I look for in a romance novel. Exactly. And, oh, how rare it is to find such a story! Two men who get to know one another, do little things to make each other happy, date, build a friendship, avoid sex as a lubricant to romance, a little wining and dining, spending time with others, and finally a declaration of love—all before getting to the bedroom. It’s so very rare. And this story was so very good, I can’t express how much I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with Josh and Christian.
Josh is a gardener and handyman in a housing complex where a mystery man resides in the first floor corner apartment. Well, he’s a mystery because no one ever sees him, and they’ve noticed he gets everything delivered—from food to other necessities. When Josh is promoted to the role of remodeling the apartments, his first assignment is that one, and when he arrives to the quiet of an empty apartment, he’s a little disappointed not to have met the mystery man. It doesn’t take him long, however, to figure out that the man is there—he’s just hiding behind the locked bedroom door.
Over time, the two converse through the crack of the door, but when Josh arrives early one day and hears a crash in the bathroom, he rushes in to find Christian on the floor with the shower curtain covering his groin and blood flowing from his forehead. But it’s the scars covering half his face, his right arm, and hand that immediately grabs his attention and he instinctively knows he needs to maintain a neutral expression and look at Christian, not his scars. It’s this instinctive reaction that sets the pace for a friendship to grow between the two.
Ultimately, trust grows as well, and then affection. And then Josh goes out of his way to find a restaurant where he can take Christian to help him make baby steps back into the world. Christian finds the courage to accept this first date, and then the courage to meet Josh’s best buddies, and to go bowling, and finally, to tell Josh he loves him.
I can hardly begin to describe how well the author built these characters, infusing them with life and warmth, sweet personalities, and an obvious need for each other. Christian’s injury and resulting scars was gently handled and clearly portrayed. Josh’s personality, his humor, his circle of friends, and his slowly developing love for Christian were all so very well done. This just hit all my buttons and I devoured it like a starving woman. I’m left with a case of “feel goods” that I hope will last me a while because stories like this don’t come along every day. Don’t miss out on this one!
The cover by Bree Archer shows a very good-looking man with a hoodie pulled half over his face. This perfectly represents the story.
ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleOut of the Shadows