West Coast Boys 2: King of Rain by Michele Fogal

Title :  King of Rain              Word Count : 75,921

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Being uber-tall and broad made it easy for Logan to hide his sexuality and vulnerability behind armor made of strength, ambition, and emotional detachment. His mask of macho success was shattered when he discovered the friend he’s carried a secret torch for has a boyfriend, and everything he’s always wanted now belongs to someone else. Logan can’t pretend not to care anymore, as his rage erupts in a horrible act of revenge. It’s impossible to hide his demons, now that they’ve broken loose.

Since losing his sweet boyfriend, Jeremy’s loud and proud life of sex parties and clubbing feels empty. When he meets the dark and self-destructive Logan, Jeremy recognizes the demons he sees in Logan’s eyes. After all, he has plenty of his own.

Logan isn’t looking for love, he’s looking for punishment and release, but with Jeremy all three seem momentarily possible… until he learns his victim was Jeremy’s lost love. Logan doesn’t expect forgiveness and knows he doesn’t deserve a real life, but after a taste of intimate closeness, finding salvation alone will mean he has to change, or die trying.

My Review : This was a very interesting read for me. Who would have thought that you could take two hated characters and fuse them together and turn them into something totally beautiful. The two main characters are having their own version of a sexual identity crisis. Jeremy is reevaluating himself after some hard truths are revealed about his personality by his ex Skyler. After cheating on Skyler and breaking his heart, he is now ready to reignite the flame that they once had. Jeremy feels utterly rejected when Skyler tells him that he has moved on and is in love  with his new boyfriend Ryan. Skyler sees through his ploy and accuses Jeremy of being a cold lover who doesn’t let anyone get close to him. It takes Skyler saying all these things to make Jeremy realize that he uses sex as a shield and uses his sexuality so freely with so many guys  that no one guy can become attached.

 Jeremy tests this theory with a quick hook up with a fellow jogger in the park. The experience leaves him feeling so cold and worthless. He finally sees what Skyler saw in him and it is not pretty. Jeremy sees how meaningless his interactions have become and it causes him to feel brittle. His roommate Kodi seems to be the one constant thing in his life and he reiterates some of the same things that Skyler pointed out. Kodi is a big bear of a man who is rather gentle and he cuddles Jeremy whose sense of self has been shattered. He offers him the strength hoping that he will accept the truth and be more of a better person.

When we meet our second main character Logan, it is obvious to see that he is filled with rage and self anger. He deals with this by cutting,  this form of self harm helps him to feel calmer. Logan is also seeing a therapist,  but it is very hard for him to open up.  He is being forced to go to the therapist by his parents who recently found out that  he  almost sexually assaulted a young man. Logan doesn’t identify as being gay , but he’s had jerk off sessions with his best friend Ryan who happens to be Skyler’s boyfriend.  When Ryan rebuffed Logan’s  attention,  he decides that it’s all Skyler’s fault and decides to teach him a lesson. He goes over to Ryan’s house and attempted to force Skyler to give him a blowjob. Ryan is just in time to foil his plans. Needless to say,  their friendship has been irrevocably changed. 

Jeremy goes out clubbing but the environment feels so much colder now that he has gotten in touch with a part of himself he has tried to deny. He is just about to give up trolling,  when he sees him. There is something about the big guy with white blond hair that seems familiar. Soon he realizes that he has seen this guy on either Skyler or Ryan’s Facebook page. He quickly snatches Logan out the door. There is something about Logan that calls to something in him. Logan is a bit hesitant,  but he goes home with this stranger. With his cuffs and his whip, Jeremy demands Logan’s submission. He forces him to accept and let go of some of the wrongs he has done. Logan realizes that he has gained a sense of freedom that he has never known. Jeremy allows him to become in tuned with his body and acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with getting pleasure from the unexplored territories of his body that he associates with being gay. They both exorcize their demons with Jeremy taking care of Logan and Logan accepting himself for who he truly is. Logan recognizes that although it might seem as if Jeremy has the upper hand in their interactions,  they are both being vulnerable and scared together. Jeremy teaches Logan about his body while Logan teaches Jeremy to open up his heart.

After their first night together, they decide to become exclusive  boyfriends.  A little bit soon, but probably just what they both needed. They both have inner demons that feed off each other and seems to make them both stronger as individuals. Logan starts owning his sexual identity and he comes out to his father and he sets the rumour mill aflame when he takes Jeremy to one of his football games. They take baby steps and ease into things gently. They have a prolific need to become immersed in each other’s lives. This is how Logan ended up going clubbing with his boyfriend and meeting Jeremy’s friends/ fuck buddies. While they are there, they run into  Skyler and Ryan and it is definitely not a happy reunion.  It is disastrous and forces Logan to flee when he’s faced with the broken bonds of friendship that he had with Ryan and Skyler’s fear of him.

Logan acknowledges the monster living inside him that has damaged not only his friendship, but which can be blamed for the discord between him and his family. He decides  once and for all to vanquish that part of himself by comitting suicide. He sends off an email apologizing and explaining his actions to his former best friend Ryan and goes to the canyon to do the deed. When he gets there, he decides that he wants to live, he just wants that destructive part of himself gone. He immersed himself in water and he comes up feeling like he has been baptized and his sins washed away.

Logan comes  home to find all the people who have loved or cared for him at some point in his life in his living room. Judging by the state he is in , it is clear to see what happened. They all come to conclusion that there are quite a few bonds that need repairing in this group. Logan’s family and Jeremy decides to go to a therapy session with him. It is very overwhelming and enlightening for Logan who now understands that you can’t look at your ‘self’ as being one dimensional. We all have to embrace all our ‘selves’ and shape them into a cohesive community within our bodies that works for each individual.

It was Skyler who truly helped him to put things in perspective when he sent him a link to a video by Sara Bareilles called Brave. It was very insightful because it allowed Logan to see that even when you think you are a freak, be brave and own it. I’ve always thought that we are all messed up in some way and sometimes we hide our tortured souls under our flesh. We just have to compartmentalize and accept all facets of ourselves; it is what truly makes us unique. I really enjoyed these characters who are flawed and will have to keep on working on their ‘selves’ and their love for each other. I give this my ratings of 5 –  not only because you will want to lose the underwear, but it is such a profound issue that we all struggle with at times,  Our Self Identity . 

West Coast Boys 1:King of Snowflakes by Michele Fogal

Title :  King of Snowflakes             Word Count : 68,474

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Grade twelve is flying by like a pride parade of gay freedom and love until Skyler finds his gorgeous downtown boyfriend cheating on him over Christmas break. The breakup leaves him raw and not up to ignoring the usual gay taunts from soccer star Ryan and his teammates.

When Skyler loses it, he’s surprised to find a straight jock like Ryan knows what it’s like to have your heart broken and what it’s like not to belong. Behind his cocky smile, Ryan is feeling hopeless about his grades, his chances of getting into university, and his lack of real friends.

When Ryan invites him on a family ski trip, Skyler thinks escaping the city will let him lick his very private wounds in peace. He doesn’t count on Ryan’s warmth and affection amid the grandiose snow-covered mountains with their wonderland white trees, or the magical way Ryan’s silky hair fills with perfect six-point snowflakes. He certainly doesn’t expect Ryan to have secrets of his own that could burn them both–or lead to Skyler’s first truly loving relationship.

My Review : Wouldn’t  it be great if we could  all stand up to our bullies? Well Skyler sure did, after one too many jabs about him being gay. Skyler is heartbroken after breaking up with his ex for cheating on him. He already feels like the weight of the world is on  his shoulders  and he is tired of feeling downtrodden. This is probably  why when football jock Ryan starts teasing him, he flipped out and gave him the proper dressing down he deserved. Ryan becomes introspective and he is ashamed at how he has terrorized Skyler.  He gains new respect for Skyler in the way that he stood up to him. He apologized to him, stating that it wasn’t  his intention to be purposely mean or homophobic.   Skyler is very surprised when Ryan acts like they are old chums the next day at school. Ryan is persistent  and it is pretty hard for Skyler to keep on refusing Ryan’s  offer of friendship. Ryan commiserates with Skyler about their teenage  heartbreak. Ryan helps to rebuild Skyler’s self-esteem, because he feels that he was at fault for his ex-boyfriend ‘s cheating ways. Their bond is taken to another level when Ryan  convinces Skyler to go on vacation with him and his family to their ski lodge.Ryan is a sweet , caring, very obtuse individual. It takes him awhile to see that he  is falling for Skyler  and to admit that he might be gay. 

It was a beautiful  journey for both Skyler and Ryan. Ryan taught Skyler how to ski,  but most of all Skyler  gained strength of will and emotional  fortitude.Skyler taught Ryan how to capture the beautiful things all around and live in the moment. Ryan wanted to be a better man for Skyler , but most of all Skyler allowed him to embrace his true self. They were very insulated  at the ski lodge, seeing as how they were separated from the outside world. The sexual chemistry  between them was a slow build and it was intensely  hot. Ryan’s family  was very accepting of Skyler and their relationship. Wish all parents could be so understanding and love their kids so unconditionally. This was a wonderful  love story that deserves my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.    

Favorite Quotes : 1.Their cocks slid together in Ryan’s well-oiled hand and Skyler gasped. It was so slick and so smooth and so hot. He gave in to it then and let his hips go, ramming down again and again. He lifted his face from Ryan’s neck and risked a peek at Ryan’s face. His eyes were closed, his eyebrows up, his lips parted. His face was wide open. Skyler came first this time, onto Ryan’s stomach, and then had a moment to worry that the sticky cum-puddle might gross Ryan out. That was settled quite definitively when Ryan smeared it on himself and came hard. (Very sensual and erotic, it doesn’t  always have to be about penetration.  Although  penetration is right up there on the totem pole 😉.)