Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.
Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.
Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.
When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.
I truly had to think about the formatting of this story and the author’s expectations for it’s promise when writing this review because I think it was a huge factor in how I ended up feeling about the characters and this novel. You see, in Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish the story opens right as the two men meet, jump immediately into a relationship and then the first chapter proceeds when they are already married. Boom. It’s a done deal. The reader has no time to relate to the men, establish a connection to each one, let alone be able to evaluate any chemistry or depth of relationship.
I believe that was intentional. Because the marriage and relationship as we slowly find out isn’t based on reality. Matt hasn’t been truthful about his background and deep emotional issues with Rhys. Nor has Rhys dug deep beneath the surface with Matty. It’s a marriage based on wishes, dreams, and smoke. And lots of sex and love. But that’s oddly insubstantial here because it has no honest foundation.
There is no honest communication between the lovers and, really the reader and Matty too. We know he is truly a troubled and haunted individual who needs professional help. Which, horrifyingly no one suggests he gets until 84 percent into the story. Abandonment issues and the foster care system have done a number on him mentally, emotionally, and that carries over to physically. We see those results…oh him, his marriage, and his partner who he doesn’t talk to until 80 percent into the story. Which is when we learn enough about them to start connecting with them all as Rhys and Matty haul together the pieces of their lives, marriage and uncover who they are together….honestly.
Up until then? Matty remains something of an enigma to all around him and us. Not a good thing. He has a close friend, Grim, in Florida. We don’t see or really hear him to gain any insight into Matty himself until the end of the story, another element lost.
So I understood that the format was to slowly reveal who Matty truly was to Rhys and even himself as he came to grips with his past. But it came at the loss, at least for this reader, of any connection to their relationship, a sense of questioning why no one got this man the help he so obviously needed earlier on, and just a sense that had we been able to see more of the real Rhys and Matty we see at the end at other parts in the story, this wouldn’t have felt like such cold read than the romance it ended up being.
I did love Theo and Caleb from Riven, the first story. Plus Max. As I said, I think the format kept me from getting to know the characters until too late in the story. I did learn to love them then and their very HEA. That’s a terrific ending
There’s another story in this series on the horizon and I know I will have to see who that’s about. If you are a fan of this series, you no doubt have already picked up and read this story. It works as a standalone too.
Cover art is ok but doesn’t really speak to me considering the bleak storyline and its complexity.
Sales Links: Amazon