Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Ashley John
Heroes: Ricky Thompson/Chase Brody
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 316 Pages
Publisher: Ashley John
Release Date: October 23, 2016
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: On the surface, Ricky Thompson’s life is one long party. His razor sharp wit and unwavering sexual confidence masks his true pain and suffering, and that’s how he wants to keep things. Ten years after the death of his fiancé, Ricky has completely given up on the illusion of love. Wild nights in the bar and even wilder casual sex have become his coping mechanism, and he wants to keep the party going at whatever cost. When he is attacked in a dark alley and left for dead, Ricky’s life takes an unexpected turn and the party suddenly comes to an end.
Chase Brody doesn’t know where life is taking him. Between running his gym and raising his son, Dylan, the only time he puts himself first is his once a week trip to the gay bars. His family has convinced him he needs to find a mother for Dylan, so he keeps his sexual desires secret. He always believed women were for love and men were for sex, but he is forced to reevaluate everything he thought he knew when he stumbles across a helpless man in need of his help.
After Chase takes Ricky to the hospital, he offers him free self-defence classes, but it soon grows into something more complicated and both men are forced to listen to their hearts once again. Chase doesn’t know how Ricky will fit into his difficult life, and Ricky can’t seem to let go of his past heartache. With so much at stake, will these men admit they were wrong about love and surrender their hearts to each other, or is the risk too great?
Review: This is not normally my kind of story, but having enjoyed Mr. John in the past, I decided to give it a go. It is always a pleasant surprise to end up really enjoying things that would normally send me running. I love when an author has the ability to do that for me, and this one was a success.
Ricky is a bit of a hot mess. After suffering the loss of his fiance quite a few years ago, he has adhered to a set of rules that have enabled him to live happily, or so he believes. Or, that prevent him from even remotely getting an opportunity to put him in that heartbreaking place again. Whenever anything starts getting to him, he puts it all away as he takes on the persona of Miss Kitty Litter, the drag queen DJ. But things change a bit after he is attacked and left for dead on the sidewalk.
Enter Chase, the totally tattooed up hottie who, with his brother, co-owns the local gym in town. Chase is a bit on the fence about his sexuality, due mostly to his family’s intrusion and bigotry. He believes he needs to end up with a woman to be a mother to his child but isn’t able to deny himself completely of his male encounters. On his way with one of those encounters, they come across Ricky and Chase can’t just leave him alone in that state. They begin a friendship after Chase offers to train Ricky in self defense, but their attraction is quickly apparent.
It doesn’t take long before Chase has managed to get Ricky to break his rules, without either really realizing it. It isn’t easy for these guys though. They both keep secrets from each other and neither really believes they can have anything long-term, even if they want it. Chase has his family to deal with and is worried about doing what’s right for his son while Ricky is still set on not caring for someone enough for him to get hurt again. But neither can deny their feelings for very long. It is more a matter of them believing they could be more and actually making that happen. There is a lot more to all of these aspects giving the characters much more depth than it seems here.
I loved these guys! Ricky, even though he was a mess at times, broke my heart every time he took what people threw at him. He was unapologetic about who he was – if you don’t like the Ricky he’s showing you, move on down the road, sweetheart. 🙂 But it was easy to see the real him behind his walls and makeup and how everything affected his feelings and actions. And Chase was just a big ole hunk of caring and compassion rolled up in a sexy tatted package. He didn’t care what others thought, as was clear by his full-body tattoos, unless it affected his son – then everything mattered. I loved that he decided he had to listen to his heart and not his homophobic father and brother while doing what was best for Dylan at the same time.
Ricky was angsty, but never felt overly deeply. There was plenty of it, but it never really gave me the gut wrenching feels that might have made it too much. There was just the right amount, in my opinion, and enough of the good parts and rest of the story that kept me interested in seeing these guys succeed and turning pages until it happened. I’m glad I gave this story a chance, because Mr. John came through, solidifying my feelings about his writing which is just as good as I remembered. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*