In too Deep by Kate Sherwood

Title : In Too Deep                    Word Count : 80,665

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : At first glance, Cade and Aiden hardly seem like a match made in heaven. Their worlds couldn’t be further apart. Cade is quiet, serious, and determined to succeed; Aiden’s a party-loving frat boy. Cade comes from a rough home and worked hard to get the scholarships that make it possible for him to attend college; Aiden’s had it all thrown in his lap by supportive, kind, and wealthy parents. Cade wants nothing to do with Aiden, but from the moment they meet, Aiden is determined to find a way to bring their different worlds together.

Aiden manages to persuade Cade he’s a decent guy, and a tentative friendship becomes much more. But a trip to Aiden’s family cottage puts Cade in the path of a ghost from his past, and a dark secret he never expected to face again. Cade did what he had to do to escape his dead-end life, but now he sees he didn’t leave it as far behind him as he thought.

My Review :  Cade has one goal in his mind as a college student,  to do exceptionally well in school so that he can get a good job. He works hard,  studies every chance he gets and then some. He comes off as a bit stand-offish and antisocial to people around him, but he could care less.  Circumstances in his life has made him this way, and he is just trying to make a headway in life where he won’t have to sell his body anymore. His parents are both alcoholics whose only care is where they can find their next bottle.

  Aiden is very rich, very handsome, very sociable and very priveleged. He is very interested in getting to know Cade better, but Cade refuses to give him the time of day. Aiden pursues him every chance he has, by going to the cafeteria where Cade works.  Aiden was persistent to the point of being desperate. It was a little bit sweet , but it was disturbing as hell. How many times can you be rebuffed by a crush before you finally take the hint? Aiden seemed like a bit of a spoiled brat for not taking no for an answer while Cade seemed a bit mean for not giving the poor guy a chance. It was clear that he liked Aiden and I just believed that he was way too rigid in his resolve at not even trying to be friends with Aiden.  No man is an island and no matter how proud we try to be , we all need friends at some point in our lives. I definitely take off a point here for Cade’s attitude.

Personally,  I think the book went downhill from here. Reason being, after being told no for the  umpteenth time, I guess Aiden finally got the picture and left Cade alone. He moved on with his life , moping around his frat until Cade came to a party seeking Aiden out. In true Cade fashion he told Aiden quite sullen that he messed up on his exam by getting a B, because he couldn’t get Aiden off his mind. Aiden being the desperate one, falls in his arms and their relationship as boyfriends starts slowly. The sex between them was great , but for some reason I just couldn’t feel the chemistry between the two. I really couldn’t gain any respect for any of these two main characters. I am usually the one to champion the underdog ,but I must say I really didn’t feel as if Cade deserved this. 

It all comes out that Cade was a former prostitute and that’s what he did to pay for his first year’s tuition. I have tons of empathy for flawed characters and I usually end up crying with them and rejoicing with them when they find their true love. That was not the case here. I hated  Cade’s pious attitude and how he constantly pushed Aiden away acting as if he had done something wrong just because he was rich. I really don’t think he was justified in treating Aiden that way. On the other hand Aiden was a little too perfect and understanding,  almost groveling for any affection that Cade decided to give him. His character came off as being too fake. This whole relationship  left a bad taste in my mouth of being unequal in every way, financially and especially emotionally. In the end their problems were resolved so easily and superficially in my opinion. This one was truly a hit and miss for me, there was just something missing. I give this my ratings of 3 – give it a try. It was ok, I guess I just expected a little more out of these characters.  The premise was there for a great story, it just fell short in my opinion. 

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Chasing the Dragon by Kate Sherwood

Title : Chasing the Dragon                                 Word Count :78,272

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb :When mercenary Jack Hunter stumbles upon Christian Manning servicing a client in a back alley, it stirs feelings he’s kept deeply buried. Hunter becomes Christian’s knight in shining armor when he rescues him from an attack and takes him to his secluded cabin to heal.

Being stuck in the cabin over the winter gives both men a chance to get their lives in order. Christian is struggling to break his heroin addiction, and Hunter needs to get away from the organization he helped start years before—a group of people who don’t appreciate being told no. It’s a toss-up which goal is more difficult. Their new starts spark a relationship between them, but nothing good comes cheap. Despite the complications, Hunter wants more, but Christian is resistant to making that commitment. When Hunter’s private security company threatens them, only nurturing the fragile trust they formed at the beginning of their love affair will save them. But for two men with very dark pasts, relying on each other might be easier said than done.

My Review : The first night Hunter meets Christian Manning,  he is on his knees sucking off a john. Something about the sight of Christian’s mouth being pummeled by the stranger tugs at him. Hunter doesn’t think it’s arousal because he is straight,  or so he thinks. The john stiffs Christian the money that was agreed upon and tries to get rough with him. Although Hunter tries to stay out of it, he doesn’t want to see Christian get hurt, so he scares away the guy. After Christian offers his sexual services to Hunter which he denies, they go their separate ways.

Hunter  can’t stop thinking about Christian so he goes to the bar across from the hotel where the kid works. After a few hours of waiting he sees Christian being pulled into a car and he drives up to rescue him.Hunter whisks Christian away to his remote cabin by offering him a job renovating. While on the way Hunter realizes not only is Christian a prostitute, he is also a heroin junkie. He devises a plan with a doctor to help Christian detox and kick the habit. Hunter helps Christian through puking, cold sweat and irritability. After a few weeks he prods Christian to start exercising and walking with him. 

Slowly but surely Christian gets stronger and start helping out around the cabin by cooking and renovating.  Eventually, the physical side of their workouts brings life to another form of workout and the attraction between these two men gets really intense. They can’t keep their hands off each other and Hunter really likes exploring and learning about sex with another man. Hunter finds himself falling really hard for Christian but Christian is quite adamant that they are fuck buddies. Christian tries hard to push Hunter away and commits the ultimate sin which tears Hunter’s world apart. Hunter is left totally devastated and broken hearted. My heart broke in two for the hurt and betrayal that Hunter had to go through because of Christian. He committed a despicable , unforgivable act.

After three years of being apart,  we are reintroduced to Christian who has a job interview with the mercenary company that Hunter belonged to. He goes through the rigmarole of training and boot camp successfully,  but what he doesn’t realize is that the board of directors are just using him as a way to get Hunter to comply with their demands. Christian and Hunter’s first meeting is heartbreaking,  so much time wasted because of stupid mistakes and lack of trust in a love that was real. Hunter is grumpy and sullen to Christian at first but they both have to put their differences aside and band together so that they can work against the company to stay alive. It doesn’t take Hunter very long to know that he is still in love with Christian,  and for Christian after being three years clean, he finally believes that he deserves something pure and good in his life. That would have been all well and good if they didn’t keep dancing around each other scared of their feelings for each other or lack thereof. 

This book was an uphill battle in the romance department right until the end. It wasn’t the typical happily ever after where there is conflict, resolution and then undying love. It was more of: conflict, we meet again, talk through our problems,  we love each other but we are still insecure in our love. I kinda liked it though and I guess it works because really who has that perfect happily ever after in real life? I know I sure as hell don’t.  Relationships take lots of work and I guess this is what Kate Sherwood brought out in these two characters. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok, give it a try.