Title: There’s This Guy
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 3/17/2017
Genre(s): M/M Coming Out, 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.
This is my first book by this author and it won’t be the last. It’s a story of breaking free, redeeming yourself in your own eyes, and moving on. Finding love when you least expect it. Finding happiness when you’ve resigned yourself to bleakness.
It should come with a number of trigger warnings though which I didn’t see: suicidal tendency (mostly the first chapter where he’s holding a gun in his own mouth), verbal abuse, mentions of physical and emotional abuse (i.e. isolation), murder, and rape (they’re described from the character’s point of view in retrospect, not in detail during the read).
There are books with just angst, and then there’s this book where it’s so heavy it’s actually difficult to breathe. That is why my review will primarily focus on Jake’s character development because that’s what this book was about for me.
He’s bled out in his nightmares, crying for mercy. None came.
This writer captured me with the first page. It starts off with Jake in his apartment and a gun in his mouth. From the first page onwards we’re faced with how far down Jake is. How bleak his life is, and how much he hates himself.
It’s heartbreaking and shocking and I couldn’t not keep reading. Because you see how broken he is, how much he hates himself, and you want to wrap him up in a blanket and give him a cup of hot cocoa.
Jake is going to break your heart because he has been through so much.
Having to grow up in the environment he has. A promise to his mother binding him to a man that acts as the anchor holding him in the water and drowning him with every moment he spends there.
He’s lonely and it isn’t until Dallas walks into his life that he starts living.
He’s been drowning. There’s no doubt in my mind that one of these days he would have pulled the trigger.
All it takes is one moment of ‘fuck it’ and it’s done. He would have died in that apartment and God knows when someone would have found him.
He felt as though he didn’t have anyone in his life he could count on to notice.
Dallas becomes Jake’s life raft, and he’s there for him when Jake needs someone most.
I’ve landed in some kind of Wonderland, and my Mad Hatter is really fucking torn up inside. – Dallas
He’s insecure. Beaten down so many times, dealt so many shit hands in life that it’s a miracle he’s still even there.
It shows how strong he is. To keep going despite everything, even if he has come close to ending his life many times.
Stuck. Unable to face who he is because the one time he did, he lost everything.
Jake changes. He grows. He’s a beautiful person, and not just because of how hot he supposedly is.
It’s the moment Dallas fell for him, that Jake completely won me over.
I promise you this, Jacques Moore; I will be with you every step of the way. Because you’re stuck with me now. No matter what, no matter what we become, I will be here with you. Because I don’t want to live in a world without you in it. Might as well take away the fucking sun and stars, because my life will be that much darker. So fucking dark.
You root for Jake and every step he takes towards moving past the ghosts that haunt and suffocate him. Dallas is a great protagonist, but the focus of this book really was Jake. The development of their relationship goes hand in hand with Jake’s. The life that Dallas brings into his life, the secondary characters such as Celeste and Dallas’ mom just add more to the story.
You peeled away the dark I lived in, and if I cry, it’s because I’m happy… So damned happy, Dal.
Overall this was a book I liked reading. There’s a lot of heavy subject matter in it, though, so I don’t think it’s for everyone and it’s best to consider the triggers I mentioned above. It’s about how Jake grows and learns to love himself and allow himself to love others. I liked this author’s writing style, and although the pacing felt a bit off – considering how much has happened in that span of time I’m willing to overlook it.