Friday, March 17, 2017

There's This Guy by Rhys Ford

How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued art deco building on WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the sweet, artistic man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This wonderful story is full of contrasts. I want to say that it is pure angst – but the threads of hope and joy woven through it also make this a sweet and gentle romance. The angst is Jake’s. His childhood was a nightmare and, as he waits for his father to die, he finds himself trapped by his father’s vitriol and his own memories. Dallas is as easy going as Jake is conflicted. Dallas finds himself attracted to Jake and determined to get past the barriers Jake has erected around himself.

Surrounding Dallas and Jake is a colourful group of family and friends. Dallas’ people are loud and warm while Jake has the quiet, unwavering support of his father-figure boss. When Dallas and Jake stumble into a murder investigation, their world gets even more complicated.

I loved watching Jake slowly become a whole person. His art is wonderful, he treats everyone with kindness, and as he learns to love himself, he slowly develops into a beautiful partner and friend. This is a gritty story which examines the long-term effects of domestic abuse. I liked the way Dallas makes things easier for Jake – any conflict or angst in the relationship would have made this story too dark.

The connection between Dallas and Jake should feel one sided as Dallas spends so much time caring for Jake. But Jake makes Dallas happy, he never makes any demands of the other man, and he gives what he can to Dallas in return. There isn’t a whole lot of sex in this story – the focus is on Jake’s self-healing and the slow burn relationship between the two men.

I debated between four and five stars for this book. These are unforgettable characters and some of the writing is really beautiful. I decided on four stars because the ending felt too quick. After spending so long creating Dallas and Celeste’s new club, I wanted to see it in action. Several huge things are recounted quickly in the epilogue – but I wanted to see the moments that Dallas and Jake spent their story working towards.

RHYS FORD admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger Cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep of a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of There's This Guy by Rhys Ford to read and review.

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