The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.
Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
274 e-book pages
Middle of Somewhere, book 2
February 29, 2016
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Yo, Colin. I DID NOT WANT TO LIKE YOU! And I was perfectly content to despise you until the end of days.
Okay, fine. I like you now. Mostly. You still have some room to grow. Just sayin’. But good for you, managing to land Rafe.
Dude was pinging the red-zone of the asshole-o-meter HARD in book one…and lots of book two.
Colin has a lifetime of asshole to shed. Lots of amends to make. It can’t happen overnight, or say, in the last 20% of a book. No matter that Rafe is a good influence, has the patience for Colin’s brand of fucked-up, and has a pretty good moral compass of his own. That shit takes time.
I can also cut Colin some slack because MY GOD the cage he built around himself. This isn’t just closet gay…this is some serious denial the likes I’ve never read nor seen. Soul and spirit-crushing, terrified, self-flagellating denial. So much that he can’t see beyond his nose to the way the world works. So much he lacks empathy, compassion, and has no clue how to read people or communicate effectively. Even with his own brothers. He has no clue how to manage or recognize his own emotions, needs, or desires. Nothing.
Except being a grade-A, World Class Ass. He’s good at that.
I don’t think I can think of anyone who needed his momma more. This whole family. Man, what a jacked up group of men. From Pops to all his boys who were left floundering and crippled in grief and despair with zero emotional guidance. This is a family that doesn’t know how to be a family, just drifting almost aimlessly through time with way too much beer in the fridge.
It would take an insanely secure and emotionally strong person to sort through Colin’s host of issues. Rafe was the man for the job. Sweet, humble, mostly self-assured and SUPER-SEXY Rafe. I was drooling on my Kindle over Rafe. Don’t judge me, because come on! The guy works with KIDS! And he’s hot! And he goes and does stuff in the middle of the night to take care of his sisters and their kids.
Roan Parrish is a goddess of writing the fucked-up family dynamic. I swear to the stars this was a redemption I didn’t think remotely possible. Props to her for bringing me around as far as I came because I can certain-sure hold a grudge when I want.
I just finished book one a few days ago and I can see, just between theses two books, some serious author growth. I thought book one was really good–this one is better. Tighter and stronger. I’ll still say that first-person present tense is usually a problem for me. It takes some hella-good writing to pull it off. I also still say that lots of flashbacks often get on my nerves. But here, just as in book one, they were necessary. Some of them probably could have been shared as present-day conversations…but then Colin’s not a great communicator as stuck in his head as he is. So I get the whys…and agree with them.
Overall. I LOVED THIS. Colin isn’t fully redeemed, but he’s on the right path, and that’s good enough for me with the likes of Rafe by his side.
I’m hoping there’s a book three…because there’s just gotta be more. Gotta be. I need more of Ginger, Daniel, and Rex–even if they’re on the sidelines kicking-in on occasion.
This review also posted on GoodReads.