Stranded by Andrew Grey

Title : Stranded       Word Count : 66,022         Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb :Kendall Monroe is handcuffed to a car in the desert.

Is this life imitating art or art imitating life? The only thing he’s sure of is that the situation he finds himself in is a copy of a scene he filmed earlier, only this time, there is no director yelling “cut” and no crew to rescue him. Terrified for his life, Kendall takes comfort remembering happier times with his longtime lover, Johnny. He hasn’t seen Johnny in weeks since Johnny stayed behind to finish his latest best-selling novel.

As he attempts to survive scorching-hot days and freezing nights, Kendall tries to figure out who did this to him. Could it be Johnny, or the research assistant he suspects Johnny is having an affair with? Both options fill him with bitterness. Or is it a more likely suspect? Kendall has a stalker who sends him flowers and always seems to know where he is. But what does this stranger have to gain by leaving Kendall stranded in the middle of nowhere?

My Review : I really liked the now and then premise that the author had going on throughout this book. It gave us the back story about Johnny and Kendall’s relationship without losing the current train of thought. It really worked and it was very well written by Andrew Grey. There was enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. I was so eager to find out if Johnny was really cheating on Kendall with his research assistant.  

It pained my heart for Kendall as his whole life unfolded through his memories. He thought  of the great times in his relationship and compared it to the funk that his love life seems to be in currently. All relationships go through the passage of time and I think many people at some time or another get stuck into a rut.They will try to reevaluate  their lives to see where they got lost along the way and oftentimes they come up empty-handed.

Kendall realizes that the blame is not solely left on Johnny for the decline in their relationship.  He sees that he has not been as supportive of Johnny’s writing career as he could have been. They have drifted apart and he is not so sure if they will find their way back to each other, especially with them being away from each other for the filming of his debut movie. He tries to mend the rift by constantly asking Johnny to come visit him on set and Johnny adamantly refuses with excuses about his deadlines for his books. We see two men who have forgotten what is important in life and are so career driven that the love that you used to see as precious is withering and dying slowly.

  I can just picture their lives in my mind, Johnny is an up and coming author trying to find his way in the world and Kendall is an up and coming Broadway star trying to cut out a place for himself in Hollywood. Underneath all of that  they are just two beautiful souls trying to keep a dying relationship afloat while making a niche in their respective careers. 

We see Johnny’s vulnerability coming through a bit each time he talks to Kendall. He worries that if he visits, Kendall will not have time to spend with him. It is obvious that it has been a recurring theme in the story of their lives. We can see how he could probably feel left out and  feel like Kendall doesn’t have time for him because he is too busy with his acting career. We can see through his loneliness how he could fall in the welcoming arms of a research assistant who willingly gives him their time and undivided attention. 

 My heart goes out to Kendall because we see how lonely he is. He is trying desperately to reclaim the passion and the tender feelings that lives on in his memories that he believes he’s lost. He has suspicions that Johnny might be cheating but he is trying to keep the faith in the man that he fell in love with. The story comes alive through his reminiscing and I find myself keeping my fingers crossed for the rejuvenation of their relationship. 

To top that all off, Kendall has a stalker who is forever getting bolder. He gets bold enough to kidnap Kendall and leave him stranded and handcuffed in his car in a desert. After being in the desert for more than two days, Kendall becomes really desperate trying to figure out who could have done this to him. His desperate, fragile mind pinpoints Johnny as the stalker.Even though he doesn’t want to believe it’s Johnny , he is so angry at Johnny for not protecting him. He believes that if Johnny had just come for a visit he could have stopped it all.

Alas, Kendall realizes how wrong he is to believe that Johnny could hurt him. This incident actually pulled them closer together  because Johnny sees how close he came to losing Kendall. They both lay everything on the table while Kendall is recovering and that’s where Johnny let’s him know he is not having an affair but that he was propositioned and declined the offer. This relationship stood the test of time and I was so happy to see that they made it through. The sex was hot, but the plot was filled with so much drama and suspense that I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I give this my ratings of 5- for all the great long lasting relationships out there and to all the great people in them that realize that it takes hard work, dedication and communication. 

The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clarke

Title: The Truth About Riley     Word Count: 790000   Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance Blurb :Riley Aylworth’s life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call. Except that the number is not a phone sex service—it’s the revenge Cameron Kirkwood’s ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital. Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller. What he doesn’t expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back. The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues, and when they’ve calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again. From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance—all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person. Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right? Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can’t change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person. Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can’t get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind. It’s a shock to both men to realise that the guy they’re falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it’s one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul. If Riley can’t break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they’ve even had a chance to kiss. Review:

This was a truly awesome story about love and conquering our fears and our insecurities about our self worth and our outward appearances.There were certain moments when I thought Riley was being far too pessimistic about his looks, but I had to dig deep and understand that it is realistic to feel that way after having to undergo such a tragic event that has left a person so scarred whether it is emotional or physical. Cameron is the most beautiful, patient lead that I have come across in a long time. This story was simply breathtaking. It reminded me of how I met my husband on the internet and how we had these ‘blind’ interactions over the phone and through webcam without actually seeing the other person’s face. It is the most wonderful way of getting to know someone without relying on superficial cues of facial features.Can’t wait to hear more about Riley and Cameron.Bellisimo!!!
 
My Rating: 4- Lose the underwear