Mason Alexander thought all he wanted in life was something to call his own - something without the family name attached. He got that when he bought his bar in Blackcreek...but then a hard truth opens his eyes that he's been lied to his whole life, and he's tangled amid the family that loves him, a truth that haunts him, and torn between the life he wants for himself and the obligation he feels for his family.
Gavin Davis knows a thing or two about living a double life. Being a gay man with strict Christian parents who believe he's going to Hell, has never been easy. Instead of dealing, Gavin lost himself in his career. Teaching music gives him solace. So when he loses his job at a private school for helping out a gay kid, he feels like he lost more than a job. He lost his identity. Blackcreek is a new start for both of them, two men, loyal to a fault, who both feel obligated to people in their lives. What Mason and Gavin don't expect to find in each other is the place where they can be real. They know they want each other, it's the rest of it they can't figure out. Caught between loyalty, obligation, fear, tragedy and family, Mason and Gavin's lives threaten to pull them away from each other if they don't get real, and stop playing pretend, for good.
©2014 Riley Hart (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
(Some spoilers – not totally ruiners – but spoilers included)
I’m going to start off by saying that I couldn’t get into this book before (as an e-book). I’d start it and stop over and over but when it came out on audio I knew I wanted to listen to it. I was really glad I did!
I am a huge Riley Hart fan and I’ve enjoyed every book she’s ever written (some more than others – of course) but I don’t think she has a “bad book” in her.
However, this was not my favorite book – especially in this series of great books. One of the things that I found disconcerting about this book was how utterly dependent on the opinion of others both of these men are. Gavin is absolutely wrecked – even as an adult – by the asinine opinions of his family and doesn’t begin to move on with his life until he has that special “moment” with his father that somehow allows him to finally just be who he’s always been. Mason, too, is so friggin’ worried about what his parents think and even his biological mother that he can’t make a path for himself.
While I actually agreed with them when they decided to take a “break” – they really did need to figure some shit out and they were acting ridiculous about it so something had to change – I was totally annoyed that – again – as adults – they couldn’t do this within the confines of their relationship and that it was still their parents and their BS driving a wedge between them. They never came across as needy 17 year-olds EXCEPT in how they dealt with their families and I didn’t ever understand it.
On the other hand, they absolutely dealt with their own relationship (for the most part) in a very adult and mature way. Moving gradually from friends to lovers and keeping the other honest in all things. They did what needed to be done when the chips were done and persevered when things got rough. Until they broke up. Then I was like – really? Really?! You’re STILL letting your parents do this to you? Why can’t you lean on each other and push through?
I loved their relationship, though. It was hot, and comfortable, and challenging, and ooooo the dirty talk! Mason is an awesome “power bottom” and he and Gavin had some wicked hot chemistry together.
Had I read this I think I would have skimmed some of the parental BS to get to the good stuff – their relationship. I ADORED the parts where these guys were just WITH one another. And the smexy times. GAH! So good! When Mason tells Gaving “Now’s the time you’re gonna want to kiss me” I practically swooned! Their time connecting physically absolutely made up a lot of ground for me. That worked and worked really well.
It was also great seeing the other guys again. I especially like Wes and Braden’s happy moment!
I think that I enjoyed this more as an audiobook than I would have as an e-book because I really loved listening to Luke Itzvik’s narration. He really added to the scene and made it seem more real and less OTT dramatic.
All in all it wasn’t a bad book and if I didn’t have the other AMAZING books in this series to compare it to I think I’d have really liked it more (?). But, compared to Collide which just totally did it for me, I have to say this wasn’t nearly as good. It was enjoyable and definitely had it’s high points, but I kept wondering how these MEN could keep acting like helpless children at times.
3.5 of 5 stars for the book, 5 of 5 for the narration and overall 4.25 for the audiobook
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