Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
When Matt leaves with Rhys, the hot guy he meets at a bar one night, little does he know his life was going to change—drastically.
Readers should know that this story can stand alone from the previous book, Riven. And though characters from Riven appear fairly often, the content and context of their interactions is not to the extent that one has to have read their story to understand their role here. They offer emotional support and friendship to the MCs—Rhys has a long-term friendship with Caleb, and Theo, his life partner, befriends Matt in this story.
Much of this story is a psychological study of Matt’s reactions to being with someone who apparently really wants him and doesn’t plan to abandon him in the future. Matt spent most of his life, after his mother failed to come home one day, living with people who weren’t invested in him. First, his aunt, who turned out to be unrelated, and then a series of foster families. His sexual history has been a series of one-night stands so how can he trust in Rhys, a man he meets at a bar, falls in love with, and ends up marrying him two months later?
Rhys, on the other hand, is blithely unaware of Matt’s emotional struggles. Granted, Matt has hidden his insecurities well, but Rhys comes from a totally different world—one of loving parents and family members, and a long-term friendship and on again off again friends-with-benefits standing with his best friend, Caleb. It’s not that he doesn’t want to understand Matt; it’s that Matt’s issues aren’t even on Rhys’s radar.
All is well until Rhys goes on his first tour as a solo artist. After spending years as a backup musician and songwriter, Rhys is finally in the spotlight and eagerly looking forward to the trip. Matt chooses to stay behind because his work at a nonprofit that helps foster kids transition into society after high school graduation is important and fulfilling. And that’s when Matt falls apart. Knowing he’s not really abandoned and yet emotionally crippled from his upbringing, he can’t cope. It’s during this time that Theo provides friendship and support and shows Matt the meaning of having a best friend.
What happens next is the core of the story and the author managed both characters’ emotional reactions, the highs and the lows, beautifully. There were times I wanted to smack each of them—for very different reasons. And there were times I wanted to hug Matt and show him his worth. Getting involved in a character’s life is one of the best things about reading a great story. There’s no way to stand back and watch the action. Roan Parrish sucks us in and we participate in the angst, sorrow, joy, love, and more. This is that kind of story.
By the end, I was hoping for another hundred pages. I can very definitely highly recommend this to all lovers of MM romance.
Cover by Makeready Designs is similar to the cover of Riven with the design mostly white space and the character seen through the large cutout title.
Sales Links: Amazon