A Lila Release Day Review:Innocence & Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Innocence is his only currency.

The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.

The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.

But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.

Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.

Innocence and Carnality is a work of fiction. It’s the perfect combination of drama, intrigue, rawness, sensuality, sexuality, and so much more. Nathan is the embodiment of all of these, and we get to see how he evolves from a pampered aristocrat to a man of his own. He’s a great narrator for the story. It’s easy to get lost in his thoughts, his sadness, happiness, and hopes.

This book is hard to put down. The more you read, the more you want to know. It’s hard to see all the changes coming or to try to anticipate the next twist and turn the author envisioned. The amount of detail and foreshadowing is incredible, as well as the world-build. Everything in the story was necessary.

The mixed of characters, backgrounds, and locations show the author’s knowledge of where he wanted to take the story. In every step of the way, we have Nathan. His life becomes the reader’s guide. The supporting cast is as impressive as Nathan. They all have a part to play, even when isn’t positive for Nathan, I had my doubts about Rother but had to accept that I felt for him just like Nathan. I wanted him to have an opportunity for redemption but in reality, he didn’t deserve it.

This may not be a true romance but it has enough elements to satisfy the readers need for more. Personally, I could have seen the ending go either way. I think Nathan was strong enough to rule his world on his own. This story is perfect for everyone looking for more than a cute story.

The cover by Tiferet Design goes great with the author’s depiction of Nathan. It has all his arrogance on display, as well as the aesthetics.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | DSP

Book Details:
ebook, 348 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64405-193-1
Published: April 23, 2019, by DSP Publications
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: The Blacksmith Prince by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

17th century Perigord is a county of sun-drenched villages and dark forests, languid rivers and moonlit lakes. It is a corner of France teeming with spirits, dryads and nymphs, and like everywhere else, witches are burned at the stake.

Born with the second sight, young fisherman Jehan wants nothing but to keep his head down, work hard, and stay out of trouble. Which works well enough until a suspicious string of bad luck befalls the village smith and his wife. Their adoptive son Giraud is everybody’s dashing darling, who behind his sooty smile and swashbuckling manners has buried a painful connection to the supernatural himself. Fearing that some evil is afoot, Giraud turns to the only other man in town who knows about the hidden world around them – Jehan.

Before long, they are embroiled in a quest involving brigands, witches and noble fey, while their friendship and attraction gradually shifts into something deeper. If they manage to survive ancient feuds and everyday prejudice, they might even have a chance to forge a Happily Ever After all of their own.

The Blacksmith Prince is a lovely fairytale that takes the reader on an adventure from the very beginning. One of the authors’ strong suits is their capability to create magnificent worlds, filled with peculiar characters, and this story is not the exception. The 17th century Perigord they described only enhances the story, grounding the characters, and allowing them to grow as they explore it.

Giraud’s and Jehan’s love is simple and chaste, but strong enough to have them taking risks for each other. Their friendship is the base of their relationship and the importance of family is strong in both cases. They were willing to do everything for each other and for those they love.

Jehan is my favorite in the couple. The way he interacts with the mythical creatures is funny and keeps the reader wanting to know more. His powers were perfect for the story and only added to it. Giraud didn’t stay behind. His talent complemented Jehan’s and made their adventure work.

The only reason it’s not a perfect five for me is that some parts were a bit slow and I wanted more information in some plot’s aspects. Other than that, this story is a perfect combination of magic, love, and an engaging plot. Definitely, worth reading.

The cover by Lady Tiferet follows the authors’ style and shows Giraud in one of the story scenes. It goes with the descriptions and the fantasy genre, but it has a comedic feel that takes a bit away from it.

Sale Links: SmashwordsAmazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 290 pages
Published: July 14, 2017, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus
ISBN: 9781542456104
Edition Language: English

A Lila Release Day Review: The Perils of Intimacy by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.

But between them, a dark secret lurks, one with the power to destroy.

See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.

Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, long bleached dreadlocks, and facial hair. He was painfully skinny—and a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.

Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twentysomething… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.

The Perils of Intimacy is a story about the power of love in all its degrees. It centers around Marc and Jimmy, but it goes beyond their connection to all of those who interact with them–directly or indirectly–on a daily basis. And those who played an important part of their formative years and past.

I’m not going to get into detail on the reasons why this story is more than an MM Romance because isn’t a traditional one. There’s no knight in shining armor, or grand gesture to bring the main characters together. They find their chance at love by loving themselves, and that love serves as the bonding element that brings them together in the end. It’s definitely an excellent piece of gay fiction.

It took me a minute to get used to the dual first-person present POV. I’m not a fan of characters breaking the fourth wall in writing or acting for that matter, but the author did a great job intertwining Marc’s and Jimmy’s life threats. Making them seem like a friend telling the reader their life story.

As told by the title, intimacy is the centerpiece of this novel. How it plays a role in every interaction we have and in what we want for our futures. It shows its levels and how deep and meaningful it can be for those touch by it.

There’s a lot of background information for all the characters in the story. Everyone has a reason to cross paths. There’s a lot of drama, but not angst. Even when I spend one part of the story thinking, “please don’t do it.” Don’t get me wrong, there are some sad moments in the story, but the hope that comes from every conversation in this book is enough to keep the reader entail.

After the thirty-five percent mark, I was completely engrossed in the story. I normally take a couple of days off to think about the stories before writing my reviews, but I didn’t want to miss a point so I’m writing it only an hour or two after finishing it.

If you’re looking for an angst-filled, overly dark and sad book, I don’t think this is it. This book is about love, hope, second chances, and the reality of many gay men. It lets the reader into a very real world, with detailed descriptions of drug usages and recovery–of pain, wishes, mistakes, and transformations.  It might not be everyone’s perfect love story, but it is perfect for Marc and Jimmy. It’s their journey for us to learn and for them to tell.

The cover by Reese Dante is perfect for the story. It doesn’t only portraits Jimmy during his addiction, but the thoughtfulness of the book.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published: May 1, 2017, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1635336384 (ISBN13: 9781635336382)
Edition Language: English

 

A Lila Review: Interlude: First Noel (The Executive Office #1.5) by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

interlude-first-noelBefore Ethan returns to DC…

Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together. Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight. Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.

In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.

As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.

Interlude: First Noel is more than a Christmas short; it’s three stories in one. We get Ethan’s story in Des Moines. How his life as a Secret Service agent changed and the case he’s taking part of, even when no one wants him around. Then, we have Jack’s first Christmas in the White House. The impact of his job and the coalition he’s trying to form. And lastly, we see how those two stories intertwined with Ethan’s and Jack’s romance. Plus, how they deal with their long distance relationship.

More than a novella, this is a full length story. Just like the previous books in this series, the author gives the reader every detail necessary to experience this holiday short as much. We get a lot of characters back, and how they related to book one and book two. And we see important friendships starting to form for Ethan and Jack.

The way both main characters are treated by those they work with is similar even when they are in two different places and have two different job descriptions. How they managed to deal with this, plays an important part in the story. The book is as much about self-discovery as solving Ethan’s case, and Jack’s political issues. As bonus, we get to see Sergey in all his glory.

If you haven’t read Enemy of my Enemy, yet, I’d recommend you read this novella first. Not because it would make a difference in your enjoyment, but it would help you follow the timeline when the book mentions events from when Ethan was in Iowa. As always, my only complaint is the amount of details and additional information we get with each book, but that’s just me. And the best part, everything is wrapped on Christmas spirit.

At first glance, the cover by Natasha Snow seems gloomy. But, it fits the longing atmosphere of the story and the roughness of Ethan’s and Jack’s separation.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | NOOK

Book Details: 

ebook, 125 pages
Published: December 19, 2016, by
NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781945952302
Edition Language: English

Series: The Executive Office
Book #1: 
Enemies of the State
Book #1.5: Interlude: First Noel
Book #2: Enemy of My Enemy

 

A Lila Review: The Pirate of Fathom’s Deep by Megan Derr

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

The Pirates of Fathoms DeepHigh Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who’d gotten what he wanted.

Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he’s respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they’ve kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn’t forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.

The Pirate of Fathoms Deep is a marvelous tale of friendship and love between two strong men. There’s a small mention of the incident that brought Lesto and Shemal together in the first book in the series, but not enough to realized more had happened or would happen between the two of them.

Lesto is Harken’s High Commander, but more importantly, he’s High King Sarrica’s right hand and best friend. Their friendship kept them alive in the battlefield and now, helped them run the Empire. Their bromance stays strong in this book and extends to Allen and Shemal, too. Lesto is also the Duke of Fathoms Deep and Nyle’s and Rene’s older brother. He runs his troops and his family/friends like a well-oiled machine.

Shemal is trying to put his pirate ways behind him, but trouble met him at his door. The last thing he expected in his remote parcel were two of his mates bringing him, without warning, the very man he had wanted for the last eighteen months. The man he was trying to be better for. But after all, a pirate can’t resist a treasure.

Since that first encounter, they have been jonesing for the other without a way to get in contact. They both wanted normal lives with a family and a partner. They keep a strong veneer for everyone else, but when together, they were able to relax and be vulnerable. The way the first met, didn’t allow the other to share their wants, but in the end, destiny brought them together. The chain of events they were involved in helped to bring them closer and closer until they surrendered to each other.

In comparison to The King’s Golden Tongue, this second book in the series is more up to point. The reader is familiar with the Harken Empire and has a better understanding of all the little details that make this world work. All the characters we loved are back, and we get to know more about Sarrica & Allen and Rene & Lord Tara.

Even with only 54K words, this story has enough twists and turns to keep us reading the next page, and the next page, and… The author did an outstanding job keeping this story simple and not allowing the kingdom troubles to interfere with the romance. The main plot is Lesto’s and Shemal’s relationship; everything else is well-written but secondary. We get enough information to follow what’s happening with the Empire and to set the next book in the series without losing perspective.

Another great cover by John Coulthart. The colors of the duchy make it appealing, and the images from the settings are beautiful. Plus, it matches the cover of the first installment.

Sale Links: LT3 | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published: July 13, 2015, by Less Than Three Press
ISBN: 9781620047934
Edition Language: English

Series: Tales of the High Court
Book #1: The High King’s Golden Tongue
Book #2: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep
Book #3: The Heart of the Lost Star (2017)

A Lila Review: Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Enemies of the StateThe prologue sets the suspense arc in the story and brings the reader into the heart of Washington DC.

We first meet Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach on Christmas Eve as he guards President-Elect Jack Spiers. They’re at the President’s Austin, TX apartment getting ready to travel for the presidential inauguration. This night marks the starts of a friendship frown upon the Secret Service, but that would change their lives.

Life as President of the United States isn’t what Jack expected. He had not problems dealing with his political counterparts or advisors, but the lack of a personal life is keeping him off balance. As a widower with no children, he has no family living with him at the White House residence, and he spends most of his spare time with Secret Service agents that wouldn’t engage him in a simple conversation. It’s up to Ethan, his detail supervisor, to find a way to help the president adjust to his new reality.

This new friendship would keep them sane as they deal with the realities of their jobs. As time passes, they found themselves at the mercy of external forces trying to change the world’s political balance. Their relationship turns into an exploration of something more, and simple decisions would affect, not only their partnership but world peace.

Enemies of the State is a political thriller that happens to have two male main characters. There are three sets of narrators in this book. One brings the chaos into the MCs’ lives, as well as, into the world of politics. The second tries to stop the plans from the first group before they can accomplish their goals. And lastly, we have Ethan and Jack dealing with world threats as their friendship morphs into a loving relationship.

There’s no easy way to review this story without spoiling the outcome. Each chapter starts with a briefing of the political events taking place between chapters. Some of them are short and to the points, but others introduce too much political information for a leisure reader. In order to truly enjoy this story, you need a basic knowledge of global politics and current threats. That’s the only reason I took away from the stories rating.

The amount of characters involved can be overwhelming, and sometimes you have to read a passage twice to keep them all straight, but the further you read, the easier it’s to follow all the events developing concurrently. There’s never an idle moment. Something is happening at all times even when the main characters are relaxing and spending a comfortable afternoon together.

The location descriptions are accurate, and even simple things like weather patterns and smells play an important part in the story. The amount of detail is impressive and well distributed. We get to see exactly what the characters saw and what they experienced. The reader is always on the narrator’s side, being part of the events.

Yes, this story has a good dose of romance and sexual exploration, but it’s more than that. The political events are as important as the main characters’ relationship and without them, it would be another bodyguard/protectee cliché. The author did an excellent job creating a world, realistic enough, to set the love story. Their relationship goes beyond lust, and it’s based on everyday interaction and complete trust– a slow build with a fulfilling HEA ending.

The images in the cover matched the main characters descriptions very well, and the rest of the composition shows the main ideas of the story perfectly.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | ARe

Book Details: 

ebook, 324 pages
Published: February 15, 2016, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781911153337
Edition Language: English

Series: The Executive Office
Book #1: Enemies of the State

 

A Lila Review: Pride Weekend (Buchanan House #2) by Charley Descoteaux

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Pride WeekendIn this free short story, we meet Adam Byron and Silas Grant. They’re looking to enjoy a good time during Pride weekend at the Oregon Coast, but they couldn’t afford to stay at the Buchanan House individually. They agreed, online, to share the expenses of one room, no strings attached.

Adam and Silas had the opportunity to exchange text messages before their trip and get to know a little bit more about each other. Even when they agreed before hand to keep it platonic between them, as soon as they see each other their attraction is quick and mutual.

We get to be part of their weekend. Plus, we see their interactions with some of the characters from the previous book. By the end of the story, the reader understands the magic of the Buchanan House.

Pride Weekend is a lovely story. It has the romance and the magic that was missing in the first book of the series. Perhaps because it concentrates in just one weekend in the life of the main characters and we get to experience the new found lust they have for each other.

This short story is a simple, but a sweet snippet in the life of two guests at the Buchanan House. They spent most of their time in their room, but even so, we learned about their past and what they want for their future.

There are a lot of smexy scenes, but the reader gets a sense of place and the opportunity to see a new relationship develop. What starts as lust, changes rapidly into great chemistry, and unexpected possibilities.

Overall, a great, sexy short– filled with an easy friendship and the start of an amazing relationship. The pacing works well. The characters are memorable, and their HFN is strong enough to be considered the start of a HEA.

The cover by L.C. Chase is beautiful. The colors, the couple, and the atmosphere are the perfect setting for this short story. Really inviting.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published: April 22, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634768757
Edition Language: English

Series: Buchanan House
Book #1: Buchanan House
Book #2: Pride Weekend
Book #3: Tiny House

A Lila Review: Balls Up (Blowing It #2) by Kate Aaron

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5        ★★★★★
Handsome man holding a briefcase in a vintage interior

Handsome man holding a briefcase in a vintage interior

Owen Barnes’s life is finally going the way he wants. He’s making a living as an author, and his relationship with building surveyor Magnus Cassidy is going from strength to strength.

When Owen finds a lump, he buries his head in the sand. He’s too busy for doctor appointments and besides, it’s probably nothing. He pushes concern away and is soon swept up in a whirlwind of distractions. His best friend’s husband is falling apart and Owen needs to be strong for them, not burdening them with his fears.

He says he’ll deal with it when the new book is released, when Ryan and Sameer are more stable, when he’s done writing. Owen has a hundred excuses to hide one simple fact: he’s scared.

Eventually, Magnus drags him to the doctor, and the news isn’t good. Can Owen cope with the unexpected turn events have taken, or is his perfect life about to go balls up?

Eventually, Magnus drags him to the doctor, and the news isn’t good. Can Owen cope with the unexpected turn events have taken, or is his perfect life about to go balls up?

Balls Up is more than a romance, it’s the diary of a cancer patient and his caretaker. Yes, they are a couple, but as the disease progresses, we get to understand the challenges their love faced and how they managed to make it flourish during their darkest time together.

I read this story as a stand-alone but in reality, it is book #2 in the Bring It series. This is not the type of story I usually read, but I’m glad I did. Unless you want to know how Owen and Magnus got together and read more about the secondary characters, there’s no need to read the previous book to enjoy this installment.

Owen’s cancer is the central plot of the story, everything else is secondary. It is a hard book to read. It feels real, and it takes the reader, step by step, through the complete process– from diagnosis to resolution. We live the ups and downs with Owen and take part of his fears, hopes, and treatment.

There are happy moments mixed within the story. Great secondary characters, and perfect scenarios for the events to take place. The pacing flows well, getting us through the hard moments with a little hope to look forward. Owen’s and Magnus’s relationship is the perfect example of a caring love.

The author not only wrote a beautiful story about a real couple with believable problems, but she also gave us a story that everyone can relate to. Like the characters in the story, we all know someone with cancer or had experienced it. Writing about a topic many men are not comfortable to talk about, open the door for their partners to reach to them. It gives us an opening to get more information about a serious issue. And we get to see how the complete medical process works.

Another thing I enjoyed was the characterization. We get outstanding characters, settings, and events from a British perspective. What I liked the most it’s that the author didn’t feel the need to Americanized the story as other do even when they take place outside the United States. The terms, the experiences, and everything surrounding the characters and their stories was believable and perfectly crafted.

The title and the cover go hand in hand with the topics and several scenes in the story. Plus, it matches the cover of the previous book in the series.

Sale Links: Croft House | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 310 pages
Published: June 6, 2016, by Croft House
ISBN: 9781310202261
Edition Language: English

Series:  Blowing It
Book #1: Blowing It
Book #2: Balls Up
Book #3: Dom on the Side

A Lila Review: Ghosts (The Power of Zero, #2) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

GhostsThree months after the ending of book #1, we are back at Gareth’s house days before Christmas. Nancarrow Mining is out for the holidays, and the MCs are getting ready for the festivities. Jack and Gareth enjoyed some quiet time before family and friends filled the house.

As the days passed, we experienced the challenges of making a relationship work. They celebrated Boxing Day, New Years, and Valentine’s by the end of the story. All these celebrations framed the evolution of the relationships, not only between the MC but the rest of the characters as well.

Together, they worked to have all their ghosts put to rest.

Ghosts is a novella that zooms into the lives of Daniel and Nico and how it affects Jack and Gareth. This installment is more of an extension than a story on its own, especially after reading Job Hunt’s epilogue. We get to see and hear from most of the characters, again. Plus, we found out about Goran’s trial and sentencing.

 But the majority of the book revolves around Jack and the boys trying to deal with their “Ghosts” and how to move forward with their lives. It’s a limited view into building a family for the four of them and all the obstacles they had to tackle to get there. There’s no extra drama or cases, just a small side plot about finding Daniel’s parents and its repercussions.

The author summarized it well in this quote, “Love is something enduring that lets you deal with your past, live in the present, and look towards a future.”

I do need to say that the first chapter in this story made me crave a good beef pie and mash potatoes. The recipes and meals were important before, but now, they have center stage. Everything from the preparation to the consumption had a purpose and translated well into writing. The author continues to have a great way to integrate all the senses in her prose.

The reader has the opportunity to peek into the characters’ future and dig further into their pasts. If you want to know more about Daniel and Nico, this is the perfect addition for it. But I don’t think is necessary to read it before moving to the next book in the series.

I didn’t like the cover for book #1, Job Hunt, but Maria Fanning did an excellent job with the cover for this novella. It fits the previous book, and it has an important element of this installment.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 112 pages
Published: February 10, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1634768590 (ISBN13: 9781634768597)
Edition Language: English

Series:  The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt

A Lila Review: Out of Nowhere (Middle of Somewhere #2) by Roan Parrish

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5               ★★★★★

Out of NowhereThe only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

 Colin Mulligan’s story runs concurrently with book one in the series. As we know, he’s an ace when cars are involved, but everything else in his life is a puzzle. When the story starts, we get immediately immersed into Colin’s rage and self-hate. We get to experience, first hand, how he deals with it and the extremes he gets into in order to find some peace. In that first scene, we get exactly who Colin is and what he things about himself.

After spending some time with his best friend, Colin finds himself in a local club looking for a hook-up. He first crossed paths with Rafe at the club, but goes with a different man instead. Even so, Rafe is there when Colin needed him even if he didn’t appreciate the help. The following day, Rafe founds a way to see Colin again and from that moment on, the road to their future starts.

From this point on, the reader gets to experience the ups and downs of Colin’s and Rafe’s relationship, the daily troubles, and how they deal with everything changing around them. They get to interact with a multitude of characters that would shape their path and change how they see their life worth.

This is a complicated story with complex characters, but in the end, we get a resolution that fits their growth. The MCs have a lovely relationship with a strong HFN and a positive outlook for their future. Yes, it’s filled with angst, hurt, pain, and many other dark aspects, but the MCs’ journey compensate for all their suffering.

 Out of Nowhere has everything I like about a book. Dark and damaged characters, trials and tribulations, amazing chemistry and sex scenes, and the opportunity to see how hard the MCs work for their happiness. Plus, mentorship and charity programs. What else is to ask for? Older characters! Colin is thirty-six.

 Disclaimer thought, I may, or may not have cried a little reading this book.

 Well? Okay, going back to the beginning. I’m glad I survived book #1, In the Middle of Somewhere, which I rated 3.5 stars after considering a DNF. In that book, we met Colin through his younger brother’s eyes. And we get a little peek at Rafe. Neither is to say that Colin’s and Daniel’s relationship was not an easy one, but we learned from both books, that Colin was Daniel’s hero when they were younger.

 The majority of Colin’s darkness comes from hating his brother, not for being gay, as Daniel see it, but of envy at Daniel’s courage. Colin’s self-hate absorbs all his time and thoughts, and it only gets worse when he acts on his desires. He pushes his physical boundaries with demanding exercise sessions, lack of sleep, and alcohol to numb his feelings.

 His hopelessness makes him vulnerable to others, and he hates himself even more because of it.  He welcomes pain as a relief from life, no matter where it comes from. Until Rafe, literally, saves him. From their first encounter, we get to see Rafe’s need to help and Colin’s uneasiness. They recognized each other’s potential and want to do better for the other. Slowly, they started a relationship that tested them many times and only the tentative strings of their relationship kept them from falling apart.

I loved how Colin integrated himself into Rafe’s life and social work, even when his constant panic attacks threaten him at every turn. We see the internal and physical changes in Colin as the story progresses and have a chance to understand the man he had become over the years. The events told by Daniel during the first book, make a difference when told by Colin and we get to experience how this affected them and their family.

 With love and understanding, Rafe gives Colin the strength he needs to come back to life. He’s forceful when he needs to, but he is the reason Colin take the first steps to recovery. He has his own problems, and we get to see them almost destroy him, but having Colin on his side and depending on him allowed Rafe to let go and be rescued in return.

 Between all this pain, hurt, and angst, there’s a group of great supporting characters that would steal your heart if you let them. They are the perfect antidote to all the moodiness in this story. And for those who loved book #1, there’s a lot more Daniel and Rex to fill your greedy hearts.

Great cover by AngstyG. It shows an important moment in the story. Plus, the darkness represents Colin’s inner troubles and Rafe’s past perfectly.

 Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

 Book Details:

 ebook, 274 pages
Published: February 29, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634769037
Edition Language: English

 Series:  Middle of Somewhere
Book #1: In the Middle of Somewhere
Book #2: Out of Nowhere