Author: Roan Parrish
Narrator: Spencer Goss
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Audible
Received from Publisher
Blurb: The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.
Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.
Review: IF you like a hot mess of an MC you should love this book because the one in this book is a disaster. Colin likes men. It’s a truth about himself he’s spent his entire life hiding. He’s not just in the closet. Just the thought of anyone finding out sends him into panic attacks or fits of rage. Colin always gives into his need though and seeks out a quick meaningless hook up with some guy in the back ally of a gay bar. One night he makes the mistake of going out there with the wrong guys. A stranger name Rafe comes to his rescue. When Rafe appears a few days later Colin thinks he’s there to out him to his family. When he keeps coming around Rafe can’t help but wonder why. Rafe is an addict and an ex con that runs a gay outreach program. The program and his many volunteer efforts are in his mind an atonement for all the bad things he’s done in his life. Rafe finally has his life together and then he meets Colin who so obviously needs help. Rafe wants to help him. He’s also attracted to him but ultimately Rafe wants more than just sex. Colin has no idea how to actually be with another person in a relationship. He’s sort of emotionally stunted from years of avoiding them.
This book was very good but it is draining. Colin has so many issues to work through. They all stem from his father’s reactions to things that have happened in their lives. It’s a tragic story that could easily happen to anyone. This father however failed all of his sons with his behavior and actions. Hopefully if you’re reading this book you’ve read In the Middle of Somewhere. That book is about Colin’s brother Daniel who did come out to his family and it wasn’t pretty. This triggered something in Colin. He turned into someone he doesn’t like. Which makes him more angry and sad. He drinks too much. Fights to suppress his desire for men and keep that dirty secret hidden deep inside him. Rafe offers him more. They take it slow. Feelings escalate quickly however and the secret utopia they’ve created for themselves inside the house doesn’t last. Colin can’t even think about coming out without having a meltdown. Rafe doesn’t want to push but he also knows he wants a real relationship. Not a secret one. And not one with a man who drowns out all the anguish with alcohol.
We do get our HEA so it’s all worth it in the end. Colin is beyond frustrating but you can’t help but feel awful for him. His father may have started the problem but Colin does an amazing job of tearing himself and those around him down. Rafe’s past is also a bad one and he does have his own demons but nothing as extreme as Colin’s. Rafe as a character would be the more obvious of the two to be a mess so it was interesting he was the more stable guy in the relationship. This book is one of healing. It’s an emotional journey for not just the characters but also the reader. I listened to this book. I think the narrator did an excellent job with Colin. He showed his anger and vulnerability. There are moments in this book where you don’t like Colin very much but the narrator brings so much of Colin’s pain to it it’s gut wrenching, I felt his panic and his fear. It’s so easy to say just come out already but when I heard the words being spoken my heart broke for all those men and women out there who live with the fear of coming out. The fear they won’t be loved by their families or treated differently because of who they love. It touched me in a way I don’t know if reading the words would have. This is a hard but compelling journey of a broken man. Not just finding love but finding himself. Something he’s hidden away so well his entire life he doesn’t even know himself.