Title: Love and the Real Boy
Author Name: J.K. Hogan
Publication Date & Length: October 2014
How much heartache can one man take before he breaks? Rich Langston asks himself that question every day.
A Seattle advertising exec who uses his designer suit and showy car like a suit of armor, Rich refuses to let the world get to him. His traumatic childhood has ruined any faith he had in people, friendship, and love. After a meltdown that led to him alienating everyone in his life, Rich agrees to help with the restoration of an antique sailboat as a form of penance.
Roped into heading up with the boat repair by his mother, marine restorer Patrick O’Dowd finds himself having to babysit a moody, spoiled rich boy with absolutely no carpentry experience. His easy-going nature is sorely tested, but he quickly realizes that things are not always what they seem; sometimes a fancy suit is nothing but an elaborate deflection from what’s real.
Through unavoidable personality clashes and fierce attraction, both Rich and Patrick explore their hidden pain and inner demons, and they end up finding with what really matters—love.
I loved this story. It started out with such a sad feeling. I could feel the terror that the brothers felt, but I could also feel the love that Ricky felt for his younger brother, John-Michael. It must be a hard thing to be mother, father, brother and protector all wrapped in to one person – especially at their age. Regardless, Ricky took those roles on with purpose and was able to save his younger brother, as much as possible. Then, Ricky becomes Rich – a person who is successful, driven and no longer needs to buy his clothes second hand. Nothing can touch him.
Rich meets Rory’s character, who was fun and light. He was a breath of freshness that Rich needed in his life. Rich had become such a workaholic that he neglected the social aspect of his life, terribly. Rory was someone that Rich was able to latch on to and create a tight, meaningful bond. Rich’s first real friendship – something that Rich had been missing since his childhood. Rich’s struggle with the social part of his life is an inner struggle. Rich holds things very close to the chest and doesn’t allow many people close. However, over time, his relationship with Rory allows Rich to unburden himself, somewhat. J.K. Hogan allows the reader to peek in to Rich’s psyche about his growing love for his friend and roommate, Rory. But, nothing in Rich’s life ever lasts. Everything comes to head when Rory announces his engagement. Rich is left lost and floundering. He crosses lines that were never meant to be crossed and in his penance, he finds his salvation in Patrick.
Patrick and Rich’s dynamic is both friendly and intense all wrapped in to one. Even though Rich’s life is in turmoil, Patrick is able to see through the bull to who Rich really is – The Real Boy. It is in Patrick’s eyes that Rich truly discovers what it is to receive friendship, love and family. Rich is also able to give back to Patrick, who has his own traumatic past. Rich is able to help heal Patrick’s heart from a traumatic loss. Rich gives his love to Patrick step by step until Rich realizes that he has learned how to love once again.
I strongly recommend this story. It has love and heartache, hope and a sense of goodness. Despite the turmoil in one’s life, people can learn to be who they were always meant to be.
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading!