Title: See My Words
Author: Melanie Hansen
Series: Spectrum Nights #2
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 4/24/2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Bisexual
Page Count: 272
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Successful underwear model Scott Ashworth is lucky—his attack at the hands of an unknown assailant will leave no visible scars. His professional goals are still within reach, and best of all, his stepbrother Rylan Mahoney is back in his life, their teenage infatuation at last getting the chance to deepen into something more.
Thrown together by the circumstances of Scott’s injury, Rylan’s long-dormant feelings for him are quickly rekindled, though he’s haunted by the memory of Scott’s disappearance on the night of his eighteenth birthday and the six missing years that followed. Rylan pushes Scott for the truth, a firm believer in the maxim that secrets lose their power once they’re shared—but resurrecting old demons almost always comes with a price.
Before Scott knows it, his life is spiraling out of control, his toxic insecurities welling up to threaten the fragile relationship he’s building with Rylan. Learning to let go of the past and believe in himself will be Scott’s greatest challenge, or else he risks losing Rylan forever this time.
Tags: angst, family drama, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, model (ish), Photographer/photojournalist, reunited, step brothers (less)
Through the wringer
Go ahead and grab a tub of ice cream, you’ll likely need some comfort calories for this one. See My Words picks up right from the major cliffhanger ending of Pieces of Me, then proceeded to put me through the emotional wringer. There is zero to minimal backtracking, so certainly not a standalone.
Whereas the first book provided the men’s history as teenagers, the second details the budding relationship between Rylan and Scott once they reunite in Phoenix. The reader also discovers what happened in the 6 years after Scott left Rylan and Florida, which acted as a driving mysterious plot point in Pieces of Me. There is a lot of character growth that occurs over the course of the story; and, as fans of this author would expect, Miss Hansen doesn’t make it easy on either of them. The first part of the book demonstrates Rylan’s strength and loyalty, often forcing himself through Scott’s walls. The sometimes emotionally destructive cycle the men were caught in weighed on my heart. However, the backstory provided in Pieces of Me and the details gleaned in this book ensures it never feels like manufactured angst. Sometimes these up and down romances make me question if the relationship is really worth all the drama, but I didn’t get to that point with this book. Between the descriptions of the battling emotions both face and Rylan’s interpretations of Scott’s reactions, I never questioned why they fought to make things work. Additionally, the emotionally wringing moments are interspersed with fun interactions between Rylan and Scott which prove their chemistry and promise a bright future. I absolutely loved the major catalyst for Scott’s growth and how that enables the relationship to mature and finally stand on solid ground. It ushers in a brilliant conclusion that left me feeling all sorts of relief and happiness for these two.
Honestly, there was so much good to this book, from the dynamic secondary characters Minh and Chris, to the sex positive tone throughout, to the writing that pulled me in and refused to let me go, and that title and what it represented in this romance. For those who missed some heat in the first book, this one makes up for it…in spades. No doubt I’ll have a bit of a hangover after this one, but I flat-out loved seeing the two men finally achieve their happy because they undoubtedly earned it.