A Lucy Review: Blush (Uncorked #3) by Shea Balik

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Fifteen years ago, Kadyn Bellamy and Valor Lee had blown any chance of building a future together. Valor had joined the CIA to hunt down terrorists and Kadyn abhorred violence. At the time, their differences had seemed insurmountable. 

When Valor shows up in Dahlonia looking as hot as ever, Kadyn needs to decide if he can reconcile their divergent viewpoints. The choice wasn’t as easy as it might seem. If only the love he’d felt for Valor had diminished, he could easily walk away. It didn’t seem fair that he might have to give up the love of his life, twice. 

All Valor wanted was the future he and Kadyn had dreamed. For fifteen years, his love for Kadyn had only grown. He’d known when he’d walked away from Kadyn all those years ago, it would be a challenge to convince Kadyn they could still make their dreams come true. 

It was only when tragedy struck, that Kadyn was forced to come to grips with the past. With eyes wide open, he was ready to take a step into the future. He just needed to decide if Valor would be a part of it or not 

We got to know Kadyn in Nolan’s book, Full Bodied, and I loved him there.  Blush is Kadyn’s book and actually begins with a scene from Full Bodied, this time from Kadyn’s point of view.  This was incredibly interesting to me because it was such a great example of how much you can fool people into believing you are doing great.  Even your best friend. 

Kadyn owns Sugar Daddys, a popular bakery in Dahlonia.  He is best friends with Nolan and has a great group of other friends there but he goes through men like popcorn.  No one ever lasts long and in his words, “…he used men to try and fill a void he wasn’t sure would ever be complete again.”  To others, it appears he is always happy and cheerful and just likes to date.  Fifteen years ago the man he loved beyond measure left him to take a job with the CIA, hunting terrorists after his father died in a plane on 9/11.  Kadyn, very anti-violence, couldn’t be with someone who was willing and able to do that. Valor walked away without a backwards glance.  “Desperately wanting to make those responsible pay for killing his father, Valor had left Kadyn behind, determined to never look back.”  Those were Valor’s thoughts.

Now, however, he’s in Dahlonia and looking to win Kadyn back.  He’s been back for a while but just now runs into Kadyn at the grocery story. When Valor goes for a kiss, I was ready to quit reading if Kadyn just melted and magically everything was roses.  Luckily, that didn’t happen.  Kadyn is rightfully angry and shows it.   While Valor claims to have loved Kadyn all this time, I had a hard time believing that for fifteen years he didn’t contact Kadyn at all and it wasn’t until he was dissatisfied with the CIA that he made any effort to contact Kadyn, who may be anti-violence but was shattered by the thought Valor might die. But I digress.

“Valor had chosen hate over Kadyn’s love.”   This seems to be what happened and Valor himself, “Look, Kadyn, I know I hurt you, but…” has that same attitude. I really appreciated that Kayden had to think it over and weight it out on whether he could do this.  “And you’re right, there are some in this world who probably should be killed.  I just don’t know that I can be with someone who is willing to be with that person.”

As the story progresses, however, it’s like someone else started writing because now it’s Kadyn’s fault they were torn apart.  That somehow the dark side of Valor, the side willing to hurt and kill, was always there and Kadyn just didn’t want to see it and was asking Valor to change who he was.  Which I didn’t understand because by asking Kadyn to accept the violence, which Valor freely admits if he needs to he would go right back to the CIA and do this work, Valor is asking Kadyn to change who he is.  Kadyn is very upfront, “If you are even thinking of rejoining the CIA, or in any way hunting down terrorists, I can’t be a part of your life.  I couldn’t take it.”  The response after fifteen years?  “Then you don’t love me, Kadyn.  Maybe you never did.”   My rating went down because it was so hypocritical for Valor to demand Kadyn change his views and stance, while not honoring that Kadyn do the same.

I may be in the minority on this but I did NOT think Kadyn was the one in the wrong here.  The story sort of heads that way and that was irritating me.  I was really interested in how they were going to work this out, how to come to some sort of compromise that would make this possible and it seems they were slowly trying to.  Then a plot device was thrown in that made things too simplistic for me.  I wanted them to work things out intellectually between them, not because of some outside happening forcing a change.  The conversations surrounding this, however, were powerful and necessary.

I really wanted to know the story of Chet and Leo, who are an established couple here, because they are lovely together.  I’m not sure if their story has been told but I am very happy that the next in the series is Shine because he is such an interesting character and his “Southernisms” were actually some of the ones my own grandfather used to say!

This was another solid addition to the Uncorked series.  My wish right now is to know – what in the world is going on with Andrew and Brogan?

Cover art instantly grabs your attention with the striking models and informs with the blush wine. Great job.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published November 29th 2017 (first published August 2017)
Original Title Blush
ASINB077PVX6MD
Edition Language English
Series Uncorked #3

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