Author Name: Felice Stevens
Publication Date & Length: August 19, 2012 – 212pgs
Ryder Daniels has spent the last year recovering from rejection: his parents couldn’t accept his sexuality and his lover chose drugs over his love. The only bright lights in his life are his younger brother and his rescued pit bull. But now his mother’s punishment for his lifestyle has cut him off from his brother he loves so deeply. Devastated, he throws himself into the work of the Pit Bull Foundation he and his friends started.
Jason Mallory can no longer hide the dissatisfaction of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend. When her marriage ultimatum pushes him to break things off, he’s determined not to jump into the dating scene. But when a group of injured pit bulls are found on his construction site, he can’t forget the guy who shows up to help.
After Jason adopts one of the dogs, he and Ryder become fast friends—until one night, Ryder lets down his guard and Jason recognizes his desire. Soon, they can’t deny the passion between them but will family differences and ugly prejudices keep them apart, or can they fight to prove that love is precious, no matter the flavor?
The two main characters, Ryder and Jason, are the perfect combination of sexy and sensitive in their own ways. They have incredible chemistry, and I love how the author didn’t just rush into an emotional connection between them. They were dealing with their own issues, and I thought that was very nicely done, for the most part.
I also like the juxtaposition of both men having very different families, and I loved reading their interactions with the people in their lives. I did end up feeling like Ryder’s mom was a bit over-the-top. Obviously, there are people like her in real life, but she came across as more of a caricature. But I loved the realism of Ryder being cut off from his family; that happens all too often.
The one thing that really put me off (and made me give this fewer stars than I think it actually should have) was how the author treated Jason’s coming out. She used nearly every tired theme possible to avoid having him be bisexual: The college “experiment”; the nasty ex-girlfriend; the not-gay-til-I-met-you; and the absolutely never, ever noticing any other men except Ryder (and going on and on about his hotness and how everyone else wanted him too). In fact, another character even remarks on it, and Jason completely denies the possibility that he’s bisexual–as though it makes him “better” somehow to be gay. It bothers me at a deep level because having genuinely bisexual men in m/m romance is rare, and writers go to great lengths to avoid it. It may not have been intentional on this author’s part, but I’m saddened that such a fantastic story was spoiled by not allowing a more natural scenario.
That aside, I loved the story, loved the characters, and look forward to reading more from Ms. Stevens.
I give it 4 stars.
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.
But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor
Author’s Website: http://www.felicestevens.com/
Author’s GoodRead Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432880.Felice_Stevens