My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved this one!
What a beautiful story about finding love after a horrible tragedy. The two main characters, Damon Blackwell and Enzo Moretti, both have lost so much and the guilt and emptiness that surrounds them every day of their life is enormous.
Fate steps in and places these two beautiful men in the same place, at the same time, and what they learn from one another is life-changing. Not only do they have each other to lean on, these two “straight” men fall hard. The author handles that with patience and trust and awe, but the outcome is still incredibly hot!
Riley Hart does an outstanding job showing what happens to family in the aftermath and how it’s possible to find clarity and get to a better place when the right person is there to guide you.
Enzo and Damon’s story, individually, is equally heartbreaking. These two are simply perfect for one another. Five stars for me!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Gino and Benny’s story is heart wrenching—some of the most beautiful ones are though. If I had to pick certain sections or quotes throughout their story, I’d be highlighting the whole book. It’s just THAT good.
After being bounced around the foster system as a kid, Gino does whatever he needs to make his way in life. Gino is stunningly gorgeous but constantly makes the wrong choices when it comes to trusting the right people. Gino has love and sex completely confused. This poor guy thinks by screwing around with so many guys, hopefully one of them will like him and want to stick around. He acts like he’s the happiest guy on earth when inside he’s dying.
~ I ended the call, Benny pleading with me to talk to him. With the pillow rolled under my head, I closed my eyes, hoping I wouldn’t wake up. ~ Gino
My heart completely shattered and it was torture to watch Gino’s path of self-destruction.
Benny is the sweetest and kindest man, but life has also been cruel to him. He takes care of his sister to make sure she’s safe from their wretched stepfather while Benny’s at work. His lack of confidence and self-esteem casts shadows over him every day, but after being bullied, abused, and knocked down his whole life, how could it not?
Benny loves Gino. It physically hurt my heart to feel his love for Gino and how he simply couldn’t express himself. The two of them are so beat up and damaged by their past that they still carry it on their shoulders every day. No one should have to take on such despair.
Felice Stevens is the queen of angst and hopelessness and the power of love. Her readers can’t help but to fall madly in love with her characters as we watch them through voyeur’s eyes suffer, flounder, or are completely at sea when it comes to helping
themselves. The best part, though, every single time, is not only how they navigate their way to a better life, one they truly deserve, but who helps them get there.
Fortunately for Benny and Gino, some of Felice’s intelligent and caring and persuasive characters have thrown them their life preservers to save them and help them find their way.
Jeremy Strauss (Perfect) is the owner of Hard Core Fitness and their boss. He is the most vital influence and support system for Benny and Gino. Jeremy is selfless in his daily attempts to mentor and make the two believe that they matter and they’re so much more if they’d just believe in themselves. He’s also smart enough to know when professional help is needed and suggests they seek out his brother’s help.
Noah Strauss (One Call Away) is Jeremy’s brother, a former model, and a psychologist with his own radio talk show who understands first hand what Gino is going through having been a victim while in the modeling business himself. He’s kind, approachable, and never fails the two with the words of advice he offers. When Benny needs legal counsel, Noah offers the law practice of his husband, Oren.
Oren Leavitt (One Call Away) and Ash Davis (A Walk Through Fire) omg … yes, Ash people—take on Benny’s custody case involving his sister. When Ash opens up about his brutal past in the foster care system, it knocks the wind out of Gino.
My point here is that these men and their experiences throughout each of their lives have several common denominators in some way with Gino or Benny. They have helped Gino and Benny find their happily ever after because they all know themselves the hell they went through to get to heaven. This is magnificent world building within Felice Stevens’ books.
I swear that every new release is better than the last, but in reality, that’s just not true. All of them are equal treasures. Grab a box of tissues and a bottle of wine, then treat yourself to another Felice Stevens’ masterpiece. Five stars aren’t enough.
Both reviewed by Lisa Cullinan Bourbon, Bikes, and Books Book Blog