Title: Saving Sean (Seattle Stories, Book 2)
Author: Con Riley
Published: September 24, 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
When Peter Morse is asked by his friend Theo to track down Theo’s assistant’s brother, Sean, he is hesitant at first. He’s been on the road and just wants to get home and enjoy some downtime. But he ultimately finds himself agreeing, having no idea what’s in store for him when he finally tracks down Sean. While things get off to a rocky start, Peter is quickly smitten with this new man and finds himself going to great lengths to help him get his life back together.
The story here is an interesting one. The layers of issues that Sean has to work through in the aftermath of his father’s death are many and makes for a very fascinating set of circumstances. And it was great to see all of the major players from After Ben return in this installment.
One thing that really bothered me is the narration in relation to Peter. It’s stated at the beginning that he often says what he’s thinking out loud and doesn’t realize he’s doing it. This isn’t clear in the text – his thoughts are presented as thoughts and sometimes the other characters respond as though they were said out loud and sometimes they don’t. I found it very confusing and a bit distracting. But it’s still a great story overall.
Title: After Ben
Author: Con Riley
Publication Date: July 15, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: Cut to Theo Anderson, still working on finding his way after the death of his long-time partner, Ben, just a year ago. Try as he might, Theo hasn’t been able to find a way to move on or even to reconnect to the world. A glimmer of hope shines through when he meets Peter at the gym, but it may not be enough to help him find a way to cope. But when he forms an unexpected friendship with Morgan on an internet discussion forum, he wonders if maybe he has finally found exactly what he needs. But will Morgan live up to his expectations in person? What if they don’t connect the same way offline? Can Theo really move past Ben, the love of his life? And who is Morgan, really?
I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. When it started, I thought it was a bit slow and that it was going to be page after page of reliving Theo’s grief. (Don’t get me wrong, there is a fair share of that – but I think it’s necessary for the reader to truly understand the intensity of his connection, which is something we can’t get from Theo’s present, as Ben is no longer around.) But it turned out to be a story of love and loss, finding your way in the world when you don’t think you can, recognizing that things don’t always go as planned but they still go on, and that as long as we stay hung up on our preconceptions about what we deserve and what life should be – we can never expect more from ourselves. There’s some definite emotional moments in this one (and a few steamy moments, too), but it’s a touching tale and one I certainly recommend. I’m looking forward to the next book and learning more about this group of guys…