Title: Living Out Loud
Author: Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: 9/6/2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Coming Out
Page Count: 250
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the city, Ben isn’t sure how he’ll respond given their thorny history. Ben hopes the familiar connection will help him right some wrongs as well as provide the solace he’s been craving.
Xavier Ramos is who he is, and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Whether it’s eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos or his love of hooking up, he uses his body as a form of self-expression but doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Ben reenters his life, Xavier helps him experience the city and feel comfortable in his own skin. Seeing the world through Ben’s eyes, he begins to wonder if he’s also not living as freely as he thought.
When Xavier challenges Ben’s beliefs about sex, it becomes explosive—for both of them. Xavier breaks apart Ben’s sheltered world and shows him what it’s like to live out loud. The more time they spend together, the more Xavier begins to long for Ben in a different way—one that both surprises and scares him. But real life doesn’t fade into the background, so when Ben’s past comes knocking, old habits are hard to break. Testing the foundation of their deepening connection will take a trust that will either bind them…or tear them apart.
**Riley Hart writing as Nyrae Dawn
**Ben is from PAINT THE STARS and Xavier is from A HUNDRED THOUSAND WORDS, but LIVING OUT LOUD can be read as a complete standalone.
Nyrae and Christina give us a story about second chances plus so much more. They took 2 secondary characters from their other stories and gave them their own. We have Ben from PAINT THE STARS and Xavier from A HUNDRED THOUSAND WORDS.
Ben and Xavier were childhood friends that grew apart when Xavier worked up the courage to kiss Ben and Ben walked away. Then Xavier’s family moved away and they lost touch for years until Ben moved from his hometown to where Xavier lives and they re-connect.
Now to understand why all this happened you have to read this heartbreaking, uplifting and courageous story about 2 men who just want to live out loud and not worry about what is in the past. But as we all know the past can come back to haunt us now and then.
The writing is excellent and both these ladies have a way with words that will draw you in from the first chapter. We get both POV’s which I love because you get what each other is going through.
Ben grew up believing being gay was a sin and his family sent him away to get cured. He has been through so much but still believes he can be happy. Ben finally decides to leave his family and move away so he can be who is he but it is hard to forget what you were ingrained to believe.
Now Xavier is a great character, he lives how he wants and doesn’t care. His childhood was heartbreaking. Xavier’s mom passed away when he was young and he was sent to live with his dad and stepmother. They didn’t really care about him but did provide for him. He never felt the love of family and that has him not wanting to let people in. The only one who ever understood him was Ben and he lost that.
When Ben and Xavier get together old feelings come to the service but they start as friends. Ben tells Xavier a little bit about what he has been through and Xavier just wants to help Ben live his life how he wants. When Ben asks Xavier to show him more about being open and gay. Xavier jumps at the chance to help in anyway he can. Now Xavier is open about his sexuality and how he likes sex so Ben wants to know all about it. Ben and Xavier start a friends with benefits relationship but it quickly turns into more. Ben knows what he gave up years ago to be the perfect son but he doesn’t want to hold back anymore and slowly he does it. Xavier gives him courage to be him. They both bring out the best in each other and Ben shows Xavier that he can feel free to show every part of himself too. Xavier doesn’t have to hide and Ben lets him shine as well. The sex scenes will melt your kindle and I find myself craving Red Vines…
Overall this story will make you smile to see how we all can overcome our pasts and live…..