Monday, April 10, 2017

Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed Audiobook Review

When their plane crashed, their desire took flight.

CEO Maine Braxton and his invaluable assistant, Colby, don’t realize they share a deep secret: they’re in love—with each other. That secret may have never come to light but for a terrifying plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that changes everything.

In a struggle for survival, the two men brave bears, storms, and a life-threatening flood to make it out of the wilderness alive. The proximity to death makes them realize the importance of love over propriety. Confessions emerge. Passions ignite. They escape the wilds renewed and openly in love.

When they return to civilization, though, forces are already plotting to snuff out their short-lived romance and ruin everything both have worked so hard to achieve.

Length: 4 hrs, 54 mins
Narrator: Johnny Mack

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Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Amazon Audiobook  ~  Audible  ~  Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Stranded with Desire has a bit more of an edge to it than the previous Dreamspun Desires books I’ve either read or listened to. Then again, when the main characters nearly die in a plane crash and then have to survive the wilderness, even if only for a day or two, it shouldn’t have surprised me. What did surprise me was that the authors didn’t go straight to the happily ever after once Colby and Maine were rescued. Nor did they make Maine’s decision as to whether or not it was time for him to come out of the closet, an easy one. As much as I enjoy the sweet fairytale style storyline I often encounter in Dreamspun Desires books, I thoroughly enjoyed the heightened level of anticipation and suspense as Maine has to figure out what he wants his future to look like, all while thwarting an unexpected hostile takeover of his position as CEO.

Airplane crashes. Bears. Mudslides. Near drownings. Corporate coups. Romance. Stranded with Desire has it all and despite what looks like an overwhelming list of plot points, Dean and Reed kept the story from feeling contrived or forced. Within only a few pages, a history is established between Colby and Maine, through how well they work together, that makes their inevitable romance feel right – even if Colby had no idea that his boss was gay. Colby might have been a professional actor, but Maine was a consummate actor in that no one in his life – not his parents, not his brother, not his fiancée, not even his personal assistant – suspected he was gay, let alone knew it. Because of that, Colby’s confusion and hesitation when Maine reveals his secret is palpable. While traipsing through the wilderness didn’t allow for much exploration of their feelings (which helped add to the realism of the story), the men did have their moments of concern and affection for one another break through. Even though the survival portion of Stranded with Desire was tense, the true action didn’t take place until after the rescue, once they returned to Braxton Enterprises and discovered that games were afoot that threatened both Maine and Colby’s future.

I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook edition of Stranded with Desire. For me, the authors hit just the right balance of conflicts, with each being believable in the situation in which they unfolded. I loved the work relationship that Colby and Maine had and how Colby didn’t come off as the love-struck secretary, but instead as the extremely competent personal assistant who channeled his personal feelings for his boss to make him an even better assistant who could anticipate what Maine would need in any given situation. This made the surge of chemistry between them believable, and Johnny Mack does an excellent job in conveying it and the tension between the two. This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Mack’s narration and hope to have to chance to listen to more of his work as I found his ability to increase the tension in a scene – in varying degrees – to be very impressive. The distinction between character voices was wonderful and I had no problem discerning who was speaking at the time or whose thoughts were being conveyed. The combination of Dean and Reed’s writing with Mack’s narrative performance made Stranded with Desire an audiobook I will enjoy repeatedly.

Vivien Dean

VIVIEN DEAN is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food. Vivien is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.

Connect with Vivien

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Rick R. Reed

RICK R. REED is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation, and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Connect with Rick

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed, Narrated by Johnny Mack to listen to and review.

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