Title: There’s This Guy
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 3/17/2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Coming Out
Page Count: 220
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?
Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.
It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.
When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.
Memorable, emotional story of character growth
Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the story I got when I first downloaded the book. There’s This Guy is a heavier story brimming with emotion. At the beginning of the novel, the writing occasionally felt weighed down with the intensity, as if the emotions conveyed were too thick to flow freely. However, that descriptive prose was also what made this story so powerful.
Both main characters were well developed. The book is narrated in third person, but includes both men’s views. Dallas and Jake’s different perspectives and ways of seeing their world came through so clearly in the word choices and descriptions that it took on almost a first person, alternating point of view tone. The author reinforces Jake’s artistic way of seeing things in his descriptions of people, movement, and the environment. Similarly, Dallas’s education, compassion, and desire to rescue people and places is undeniable. The romance is slightly slower to develop because of Jake’s circumstances. With so many of their feelings internalized at the beginning, the narration style and vivid descriptions of emotions were essential in developing the characters and chemistry right from the start. There were highs and lows, and the author doesn’t shy away from the troubling scenes. However, there’s an ever present hopeful and healing tone as well. The romance was a steady thrum, built on a spark but with a depth grounded in trust and empathy. The chemistry and evident love between Jake and Dallas made for an absolutely stunning story.
Though the book opens with a shocking scene that rattled me, the journey was beautiful. The characters were memorable- broken, yet strong. I loved that the romance wasn’t the hero of the story, but that love and support buoyed Jake’s personal transformation. If you are a fan of emotional stories, specifically the hurt/comfort trope, There’s This Guy won’t disappoint.