Red+Blue was quite the engaging read! I actually read the second of this series first, not that it matters. They appear to be stand alones. However, the second one is kinky so *shrug* of course I read that one first. Shocker. I digress.
I was surprised by how quickly I was sucked into this one. As a matter of fact, I had a hard time putting it down. It’s cleverly formatted into three sections the first being, Red (Ben’s POV); he’s called “Red” by Jason because he’s a ginger aaannnndddd he hates it. Blue (Adrian’s POV) which, I believe, is labeled “Blue” because Adrian is depressed. Finally, Red+Blue which is both of their POVs. I think this served the purpose of allowing the reader to get a true sense of who these two men are. What makes them tick. How they think. Plus, a little back story on them.
Ben is 24, a transplanted Minnesotan now living in San Francisco, sowing his oats in the Castro and studying to become an actuary at Adrian’s insurance company. Adrian has been forced back into the closet at 35 by his father in order to effectively run the west coast office of his family’s company. Adrian is also a talented amateur actor. He’s got everyone fooled into believing that he’s straight. He even has a beard (Laurel – The Bitch Extraordinaire) whom everyone thinks he’s going to marry any second now. Little do they know, he’s got no intention of even entering into another relationship after the love of his life met a tragic end for which he feels partially responsible. Until he meets Ben.
Ben. Full of life. Full of love. Full of laughter. He’s the personification of joie de vivre. He’s also one of many in Jason’s coterie which, actually, doesn’t bother him. Although, I’m not sure he realizes how large the coterie actually is. He sees Jason for what and who he is and doesn’t have any delusions about their relationship. However, what Ben doesn’t know is Jason uses Ben to goad Adrian, who happens to be his roommate. Jason… naughty, naughty boy that he is yet, I’m still fascinated by him and what motivated him to set his course on self-destruct.
A.B. Gayle is exceptionally talented at writing the slow burn. The character and relationship development were gripping, even the secondary characters were irresistible. Like I said, I’d love to know more about Jason (He’s into kink and apparently found a leather daddy. WIN!) as well as Chris (Ben’s brother), or Mick (Ben’s friend) or even Pop and Nonna (Adrian’s Italian grandparents)! I’m not holding my breath though since Ms. Gayle did this to me in Leather+Lace. Nevertheless, I’m going on record with my interest in future reads.
Aside from the characters, the plot was engaging with deft handling of some serious topics. I felt badly for Adrian on so many levels. Some may say his issues were self-created. I disagree. I believe this happens all too often in the real world, that people are coerced into leading a false life and made miserable by it. What made Adrian’s story so compelling for me was how heartbreaking it was for him AND Ben: one path chosen by neither party ruins both their lives.
“Sometimes the path you need to take gets overgrown, especially in the flat section, so you have to get away from the problem area to see it clearly.”
Adrian has to make some gutsy decisions that required quite a bit of faith. Ben, too, had to make some life-altering decisions and it seems as though this is just the beginning of their journey. At least, that’s the way it read to me.
Not to end on too dour a note, there’s lots of sexy times! WIN! Sexy times in the woods. Sexy times up against a tree. Some quasi kinky sexy times. *eyebrow wiggle* All good times.
Good times + good characters + good plot = 4 Slow Burning Stars.
A copy of this book was provided as part of the DBML program in the M/M Romance group on GoodReads in exchange for an honest review.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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