Title: There’s This Guy
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 3/17/2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 220
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 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.
When I finished reading this book, I wanted to know what other people thought about it. Other opinions don’t affect my review, we all experience these stories differently but I wanted to know if everyone liked it as much as I did. In this case, it would seem that a few people have found it to be overly descriptive and while this would normally be the very thing that drives me nuts, on this occasion, it totally worked and the story wouldn’t have been the same without it. I think the author did an awesome job of creating atmosphere. If a scene is described well enough, I can imagine I’m there but I was blown away by the way RF managed to make me feel it all too.
The opening scene is of one of the MC’s, Jake, as he tries to talk himself into ending his own life. I felt like I was right there in that room and I wanted to make it all better for him. The bleakness of his situation is almost tangible. He’s had such a rough upbringing at the hands of a tyrannical father who wished he’d never been born and a mother who despite loving him, was terrified to go against her husbands commands. Jake’s only hope of ‘freedom’ will come with the death of his now terminally ill father. For as far back as he can remember, all he has ever heard are negative comments and has been convinced of the fact that being gay is wrong on every conceivable level and that all thoughts about other men are unacceptable. Jake has denied this part of himself for so long that he has no idea how to love or to let someone love him.
The building across from his workplace has been bought and it is the arrival of the gorgeous new owner – Dallas – that sparks more than a passing interest in Jake. Sadly, hearing his father’s words circulate his brain is enough to remind him to keep his distance. Working together to get this old building in order, chips away at Jake’s resolve and gradually, Dallas breaks down his defenses and they embark on a friendship because Dallas is willing to take whatever Jake can give him. I loved Dallas’ patience. The relationship between both men was believable because of the slow build and because the difficulties they faced made it more real. Jake wasn’t magically cured by Dallas’ presence.
There’s a great cast of characters including Celeste, a transgender woman who is a real livewire. Having gone through hell to get to where she is today makes her much more intuitive than Dallas when it comes to Jake. She is larger than life with a realistic vulnerability and gives out damn good advice.
If I’m honest, this is not exactly an upbeat story and it’s extra, extra heavy on the angst. It’s pretty intense at times and it covers some subject matter that may not be to everyone’s tastes but it does have some unexpected mystery, a dash of drama and a whole lot of love with a really nice, well deserved HEA. I enjoyed this so much, I’ll be looking into this author’s other books……….