Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
This is a beautiful love story—a slow burn, awakening of sexuality for Ryan, who has only ever loved one person previously, his former wife Danielle. Now, in the midst of an unexpected attraction to Caleb White, a man who returned to the small town of Last Chance after having been both in prison and a porn star, he’s shocked when he learns that he’s demisexual. No wonder he’s never really felt a sexual urge with any of the other women who have come on to him in the past. And no wonder his feelings for Caleb include a sexual attraction. After he avidly devours every definition of demisexual from the Internet, he feels changed—like it’s okay to inhabit his body and mind. He’s not an oddity after all.
Ryan works as a mechanic for Shane, from Depth of Field (Last Chance #1), and meets Caleb at an all-night diner one sleepless night. Caleb has returned to the town he left when he was sixteen and his family packed up and moved him away quickly after he and Shane were discovered kissing. Later, in his late teens and early twenties he got into trouble and ended up serving a prison term. By the time he got out, he felt Shane wouldn’t understand, so he never contacted him. And then while spending years working in the porn industry, he wasn’t willing to simply call Shane to renew what might have only been a passing teenage crush for the man.
But Caleb never forgot him, and he returned to Last Chance where he was welcomed with open arms by Shane and his new boyfriend, Van, another young man they went to school with. Caleb bought a house but hasn’t secured a job yet. Over coffee at the diner late one night, Ryan discloses that he needs to find a new apartment, so Caleb offers him a roommate situation. Though reluctant to take it, Ryan eventually agrees.
So the setting is there for two men to become friends, and then become attracted, and then act on that attraction, but this story is, as I said, a slow burn and it was beautifully done. Ryan had always wondered why he never felt the sexual appeal of anyone other than his former wife. And then he felt awkward when he found himself drawn to Caleb, but after he learned what it meant to be demisexual, he began to accept himself, and with Caleb’s help, the two started the slow exploration of their mutual attraction.
The love story is, of course, primarily between these two men. But it’s also the story of a young man who lost his wife after their baby died and she pushed him away. There’s grieving and healing and the love of two people who were friends as well as spouses. Now, Danielle is back in his life when Ryan has to rush to his father’s hospital bedside and it’s evident that they still love each other—though as friends now. And Ryan’s father? A man who loves his child but has never expressed it properly. The two have a chance to make amends and verbalize the love they have for one another. So, as I said, there’s love in this story—multiple facets of love in the same way we humans have so many facets to our personalities.
I really enjoyed the way the author allowed Ryan to fall in love with Caleb slowly. And Caleb was a dream man—one who had matured through the School of Hard Knocks and was both kind and understanding. He was also sexy as hell and totally devoted to Ryan, and Caleb knew he had all the time in the world to wait for this man. It’s very difficult to put the emotions of this story into words. Suffice it to say that it’s much more than a GFY or a bi-curious story, and yet it hits on some of the notes from those sorts of stories, which I happen to enjoy.
Those who enjoyed Crossroads should definitely enjoy this one and if that one was a bit too far out of the realm of believability with two formerly straight men being attracted to one another, this one should hit the spot as an out-and-proud gay man helps a previously thought-to-be-straight man navigate the waters of man-on-man loving. That love and the love Ryan holds for his family make this a must read for 2018. Highly recommended.
COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs
COVER IMAGE: Stone Creek City
Cover art is a photo depicting two apparently naked men, one embracing the other from behind. It’s the perfect depiction of the MCs in this story, with Caleb simply holding Ryan close.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published January 28th 2018 by Riley Hart
Original TitleColor Me In
SeriesLast Chance #2